Day 10: Shopping and Cooking in Typhoon-Hit Hoi An

Last night, our guide had promised to find us some ‘local food’, which he had slyly implied was going to contain dog. Unsurprisingly, only five of us turned up to sample such delicacies. After the typhoon the night before, our guide couldn’t get a taxi so we hired bikes instead. A couple of people dropped out as we nervously waited for our transport to arrive. When the bikes came, we hopped on and cycled into the scary maze of beeping mopeds, fallen trees and tangled overhead wires. It was actually quite a fun way to see the city, especially once we left the busier parts behind to hunt down our dog. We rocked up to a pretty rough looking place, but thankfully their power was out after the storm. So no dog. Our guide led us to a few other increasingly rough looking places which were also shut, before he agreed that maybe we should head back into the town centre for some more normal food! On the end, we resorted to getting food from the restaurant across the street from the hotel. I had pizza, which was cold and tasteless. That’ll teach me for veering away from rice and noodles!

After lunch, we toddled down to the tailor for my fitting appointment. The shop looked so different from yesterday! They had stripped all the shelves bare of materials and the shop assistants who were so immaculate yesterday were wandering around in jeans and t-shirts. I found Alice and she said that because of the storm, my jacket wasn’t quite ready yet. I asked her why they were stripping the shop the day after the storm, and she said that they were going to open a dam upstream of Hoi An to release the water from the mountains and flood the town. Eek! When we left the tailor’s, we saw a boat on its side in one of the flooded streets with locals desperately trying to bail out the water. Walking around the town, we also saw a coach attempting to traverse the littered streets, with a guy standing on top of the bus clearing the low-hanging wires out the way. As time went on, more and more shops were emptying out ahead of the flood, so we mooched back to the bar opposite the hotel.

As we were sat outside, Alice (my tailor) surprised me by bringing my blazer to try on at the hotel! It was a bit odd, trying something on for the first time in a hotel lobby, but it fit so beautifully. I’ve never had something fit as well as that blazer did. She marked on where the buttons should go and promised to leave it behind reception when she had finished. Sure enough, when I came back from dinner that evening, it was finished and ready to go. So even though a typhoon hit between ordering my jacket and receiving the finished product, it still took less than 36 hours! Pretty impressive.

Here’s a piccy of me posing in the finished article:

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After my hotel fitting we went for a cooking class dinner! We had a very enthusiastic teacher who taught us how to make spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken soup, green papaya salad and fish in banana leaves. It was so much fun! In the first hour we made the rolls and the soup as our starters. The rolls were easiest to make but hardest to cook, seeing as you need a pan of hot oil for frying. The soup was pretty easy, so I’ll definitely give that a go when I get back! Then in the second hour we made the salad and the fish. The trick with the salad was to grate the papaya into long strips so its looked a bit like noodles. She said that cucumber would also work, seeing as papaya is difficult to get hold of in the UK. The fish was yummy, and the lemongrass sauce we cooked it in was super easy to make. Definitely another one to try at home! She gave us a recipe book of the things we’d made, and I bought another one with a wide range of Vietnamese dishes. Now I just need some guinea pigs (to try my food, not to eat!).

After all the yummy food, I was pooped so I headed for bed. We’d been warned that the hotel may flood (though not definite) so we stocked up on Pringles and Oreos (essentials) on the way back so wouldn’t go hungry if we were stuck in the hotel. Our guide said that if the flooding was very bad, we may have to leave by boat! So with that, we’re off to bed with no particular plans for tomorrow, except to eat a bucket load of Oreos.

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2 thoughts on “Day 10: Shopping and Cooking in Typhoon-Hit Hoi An

  1. Beautiful jacket Sonya! Yes, I did foresee your next post, surprisingly. Expect it’s quite good to have some Western food, however good is the local cuisine.

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