Having been good to ourselves the previous night and getting into bed before the wee hours, we were up and at them on time to catch the complimentary breakfast in our hotel. There was a nice selection of fruits, breads, and local dishes (most of which I couldn’t eat) but being crafty and carrying my own soy milk, the coffee and cereal provided hit the spot. Kevin being a flexitarian demolished 2 plates including waffles, dumplings and spring rolls (that will not be featured on this blog).
We were off good and early for our first full day of cruising on our scooters. Without the convenience of the beach front road that was closed for APEC vehicles only, we were relegated to use of the highway. Not as picturesque, nor as peaceful a ride, but it did allow us to make one stop on the way between Da Nang and our destination of Hoi An.
The ‘Marble Mountains’ are a little tourist trap just off the highway. We’d been warned by our local friends that it was an unsafe place for couples to visit unless they were married. Without having exchanged nuptials this location is legend for creating discord in relationships that result in break-ups. We intrepid and fearless travellers paid no heed to the mythos of these storied rock formations.
In hindsight, if anything the Marble Mountains made our relationship stronger. We were charged an elevator fee to go to the top. We saw. We agreed that it was pretty lame. Paid an separate fee for the elevator down, and we split. We had a ways to go, and Banh Mi to eat.
After another blocked attempt to reach the beach road, 20 mins on the highway and a little off roading we reached the sunny seaside town of Hoi An. Our destination was the Anthony Bourdain approved Bánh mì Phượng. Kevin had visited this location a couple years previous when he’d stayed a week in Hoi An, this was my first time there. It had grown in notoriety according to Kevin’s recollection, now sporting a photo of Anthony Bourdain and a lineup out front to match. People in the line were chatty in anticipation of the “World’s best Banh Mi”, one visitor said he was in town for the week and had popped in to pick up sandwiches everyday thus far.
I must admit, the tofu bahn mi was to die for! The tofu had a nice firm outer layer that was rich with flavour from the smoker and it’s marinated middle was moist and delicious. The fresh crusty baguette and all of the pickled veg made for quite an impressive sandwich. The best in the world? Perhaps! It did spark ideas for me to bring back to Seoul. Keep an eye out for a Banh Mi bowl in the near future ^^
We got in a little beach time and a couple piña coladas while in Hoi An, the beach there was much worse for wear, sandbagged and eroded from tumultuous weather. Again, from Kevin’s recollection the beach front there was already in a state a couple years back and now was in need of serious reconstruction. Full and still enjoying the brilliant day, we headed back to Da Nang to enjoy some more beach time.
In the early evening we made our rounds to Minsk and Smokeys to get our appetites up for another no holds barred bout with our next vegan eatery pick Quán chay Thúy.
We began with some Steamed “Pork” Buns. They were unmistakably authentic in flavour and an absolute delight. The fluffy bread was lightly sweet and complemented the savoury centers so well.
The next dish was my most anticipated! The fresh spring rolls in Vietnam are unmatched in variety and in flavours, these were a cut above. Served with a pan fried crispy layer, these were like the “Crunch wrap supreme” of spring rolls! Served with mixed greens, mint leaves, a bean meat, a sweet citrous dipping sauce these rolls were easily the winners.
We wrapped up this session with a spicy dry noodle dish, topped with cilantro leaves. We would have stayed to eat more, but we arrived just before closing and the staff was a bit stand offish with us. No worry, we would be back the following day to re-enjoy the Vegetarian Thúy.
Our last day, was spent mostly poolside after we checked out of our lovely room.
We squeezed in another meal at Quán chay Thúy as mentioned, Kevin scored a roadside Bahn Mi that he said rivaled Mr. Anthony Bourdain’s pick considering it was 1/10th the cost. I enjoyed some street food as well in some deep fried sweet potatoes. Pouring rain and road closures prevented us from making it to a massage appointment that our friend had arranged for us. So we just gathered our things and got to the airport a bit early, fearing that traffic delays could have caused more trouble than we bargained for. We got a couple disappointing Banh Mis on the way out, we should have quit while we were ahead!
All in all, our trip to Vietnam was amazing. We highly recommend Da Nang to traveling vegans and vegetarians as there are plenty Quán chay (Vegetarian) places to eat. Just be careful not to visit during Da Nang APEC in 2027.