Cycle 3 – Item 272
3 (Wed) October 2012
Sky Cafe & Restaurant
(Hanoi International Airport)
Research Trip to Cambodia + Lao PDR: Day 6 of 6
- Day 1 (3.267 Fish)
- Day 2 (3.268 Fried Frog in Khmer Spices)
- Day 3 (3.269 Fried Beef with Red Ants)
- Day 4 (3.270 Fried Water Buffalo with Snow Peas)
- Day 5 (3.271 Larb Gai)
- Day 6 (3.272 Pho Ga)
In transit, departing Vientiane, layover in Hanoi International Airport, final destination Incheon. Completed a series of meetings in Cambodia with the Ministry of Health and the National Assembly, and in Laos with the WHO Country Office, both part of a long-term project sponsored by WHO to assess health legislation in countries across the Western Pacific Region. On my way home.
Gastronomically, the trip had been worth the trouble just for the opportunities to try Cambodian and Lao cuisines at their respective sources, even though my choices in dishes had turned out less than successful in some cases.
The return flight required a 2-hour layover in the evening at Hanoi International Airport, allowing me to have dinner in Vietnam, yet another Mekong, along with Cambodia and Laos. I couldn’t have planned it better.
Sky Cafe & Restaurant is one of the airport’s free-wifi restaurant-cafes.
Pho is a Vietnamese dish. Rice noodles in beef broth, topped with aromatics and herbs. Believed to have originated in North Vietnam around the turn of the 20th century, with influences from China and France. The name of the dish might be derived from the Chinese “yuk fun” or French “pot-au-feu,” though solid evidence is known to exist, either way.
In the most immediate entry ever on GMTD, I ordered a bowl of chicken pho, photographed and ate it, wrote about it on my laptop, and published the post without getting up from the table, minutes before boarding:
I’m rating the pho 4.0, even though it may not stand upon further reflection. Should the plane go down, at least I’ll have perished after eating a perfect meal, even if it only seemed so in the light of impending doom. In actuality, my first pho at the source, if only at an airport transit lounge, was indeed excellent. See you all on the other side.
As I revise the post now (having safely returned to Korea), I’m letting the rating stand, because the pho was among the best that I’ve ever had, especially in recent memory. Unlike pho in Korea, which as been bastardized beyond recognition, the pho here featured a crisp and clear broth, the way it should be. I couldn’t tell for sure, but the delicate flavor made me think that it may have been derived from chicken stock, not beef as it typically is. In addition to sliced chicken, the only toppings were bokchoy and scallions, reflecting the simpler style found in the north. Also true to the northern style, the noodles were wide, which gave each bite a fuller mouthfeel, an interesting textural contrast to the otherwise light character of the dish. Perfection in simplicity.
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN VIETNAM)
(See also IN FLIGHT)