By Lindsay Dames, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

Vietnam was the third Asian country of five on the spring Semester at Sea voyage and my pallet for Asian foods was beginning to waver. Although I enjoy Asian cuisine, I have never had this much in such a short period of time. As I had hoped, I was able to find some amazing fusion restaurants that revived my love for Asian cooking while giving my tastebuds a break from more of the same.

While in Hanoi, my friend and I came across a lot of french fusion. For lunch the first day, we enjoyed a 15$ 3 courses of small plate lunch. I started with a chicken appetizer. It was delicious yellow curry chicken and vegetable mix wrapped in sautéed spinach. Next, my friend and I split a tuna tartar started. It was amazing fresh tuna with mango and displayed as a pie using noodles rather than a pie crust. They served it was a side of perfectly baked french baguette. Lastly, I had duck and eggplant. Slices of grilled duck breast with a salty-sweet sauce alternated with strips of grilled eggplant in a flower like shape with garlic whipped mashed potatoes at the center. My friend enjoyed the house sea bass dish. Each bite was better than the next. Needless to say, we had a small dinner.

The next day in Hanoi, we went to a restaurant that was highly recommended to us by a friend for another coursed lunch. This restaurant was in a nice area of Hanoi hidden on a side street. It was called La Badiane and had a beautiful atmosphere with bird cage lights and a half open ceiling letting the sunlight and fresh air in. I started with asparagus and cauliflower soup. It was creamy, however still felt light, and had a nice crunch from fresh croutons. My friend started with traditional shrimp spring rolls. For main dishes, we both had beef carpaccio with french fries. The carpaccio was so thin and light with a fresh arugula salad. The french fries were amazing - perfectly cripsy and hot from the fryer.

I have been lucky enough to experience some of the best Asian cuisine throughout my travels, however, sometimes I miss the variety of food offered in the United States. If you had to choose one type of food to eat for the rest of your life, what would you choose?