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Picture of seven plates of food on a table.

So here's the meal. 

Having been rescued from the rain by my good friends (story on the next page), we ended up at one of their neighborhood *restaurants. This restaurant specializes in duck and only serves duck. I happen to **love duck, so it was a fitting end to the “rainy adventure”. 

Every dish in the picture above is duck in some form or other. From left to right: bottom row - the roasted glazed duck from the previous page, then steamed duck, a plate of basil leaves (I know, not duck), duck soup with bamboo and chopped cilantro; top row – sticky rice and onion (I know, not duck), duck salad with bean sprouts and other crunchy things, and duck salad with noodles, carrots, onion, and some kind of greens. Below the rice dish, above the steamed dish, and to the left of the first salad, is a bowl of pickled onion (crunchy, slightly tart, and not hot). The orange colored glazed duck gets dipped in the sauce in the bowl of light colored dipping sauce, and the steamed duck gets dipped in the dark colored sauce. 

I wish you could taste it all. 

Unlike my experience with duck in the US, the duck here is not very greasy - remember, a fat duck is a lazy duck! The soup is beyond amazing. It's served hot, very flavorful, light tasting, and refreshingly cleanses the palate. The bamboo is from a young tree, and is the part that's below the ground, but not the root. It's sliced thin, sweet to the taste, and crunchy, but tender, not woody. Remember how I said previously that food is a variety of textures? 

*Unless I state otherwise, all “restaurants” in my blog are usually quite small, seating probably 10-15 people maximum inside, and another 10-15 or so outside on the sidewalk. Also, I find that it's not unusual for restaurants in Vietnam to specialize and serve only one item (in many forms). So you will find a restaurant that only serves bún chả (grilled pork soup), or phở gà (chicken soup), phở bò (beef soup), lươn (eel), ốc sên (snail), chả cá (grilled fish), etc. (et cetera).  

**I know I say I love every food I talk about, but it's the truth. I've yet to eat anything here in Vietnam that I did not love. I will say, however, I hate liver, Brussels sprouts, and people who don't cover their mouth when they sneeze. By the way, duck, unlike in the US, is very cheap in Hanoi and it is every bit as popular as any other food being served.