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Within tourist areas, a wide range of food acceptable to the international palate is freely available, restaurants are usually clean and menus often have English translations. Elsewhere, the variety is far less, dishes and menus are often unrecognisable and preparation and eating areas are a long way from international standards of hygiene. Having said that, few visitors seem suffer food-related illnesses during their stay!
Apart from the most expensive establishments, hotel food is nearly always offered as a buffet with a mixture of Asian and international dishes. Although the quality may be good, the variety is often unimaginative. Haivenu usually leaves you to your own devices in the evening so that you can choose the type of food and level of restaurant that you prefer. We also offer an 'eat street' alternative in Hanoi, whereby you can sample the bewildering array of specialist street 'cafés'. Our staff will be pleased to accompany you to the places where the locals eat - the food will be wholly authentic, delicious and cost a fraction of restaurant prices. Don't expect Western-style 'hygiene' though - however, we've taken plenty of our guests to 'eat street' without a single stomach uset! On tours including meals, we use the best available restaurants. In remote areas without suitable restaurants, picnic meals will be provided.
Vietnamese food is mostly nutritious and healthy. Cooking methods are confined to grilling, frying, boiling and steaming, as ovens are not used. The staple is rice, either as grain or flour. The cuisine varies according to the region. In the north, it is comparatively bland, with a strong Chinese influence. Food in the Hue area is spicier, with some French touches. In the south, dishes with hot spices proliferate. Each area has its own local specialities.