I have been told repeatedly by my aunt and various nosy motherfuckers that Hoi An, a small city on the coast of the South China Sea, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its main attraction is its ancient Old Quarter, where motor vehicles are outlawed and people sit around and make sweet crafts all day. Almost all of the buildings are a sort of peeling yellow and there are tiny dogs everywhere.
During our survey of the city, we stopped to eat at a local restaurant/cooking school for tourists: The White Lantern, owned by the awesomely named Miss Vy. Apparently, the teeny-tiny Miss Vy is a culinary institution in Hoi An, much like how Tom Colicchio is one in New York City. Except NOT A DOUCHE. (Just kidding, I’m a total fag for Think Like A Chef.)
We downed two plates of “White Rose” shrimp ‘n pork dumplings, which were like delicate little packages of crack. The dish was unmistakably Chinese-influenced, though the presentation was all Vietnamese. I could have just eaten plates of that, but it would have been somewhat unseemly of me.
For my main-ish course, I had soft egg noodles topped with shrimp, chilies and crab. They also gave me a basket of mysterious crackers to crumble into the bowl. I couldn’t really pin down the flavor: it was almost in-between the flavors of sesame and shrimp. The resulting texture from the crunchy chips and the springy noodles was sweet-ass.
After I ate my noodles, I kind of stole a bit of my mom’s dish, which was a barbecued beef deal with vegetables and rice crepes. It was another one of those dishes where you just have to throw everything together on top of lettuce, making a perverse sort of taco. Then, of course, you dip it in fish sauce.
For dessert I cheated and had the waitress bring me a French-inspired mango mousse cake from the bakery across the street. Thanks a bunch, Miss Vy!