on 2 February 2012
The guide was very useful for route planning and accomodation.
As far as eating as concerned I found it completely misleading.
Vietnamese food is some of the most amaing food I have eaten in my life. The restaurants here that seem to recieve the most praise are those that have had all the local flavours removed and made bland for what is likely considered by the author to be the taste of the western readers.
In particular ignore the more expensive places recommended in Hanoi. We tried one of those as a treat thinking to find something special. The rice was day old cold rice and the food was completely flavourless. The fish in a clay pot was just dry fish placed in a cold clay pot for serving, not cooked in it as you find in a traditional place. Thjis for about 10 times the cost as a family run place.
I wonder if the text of these reviews is from anyone who actually visited them or are just the marketing from the restaurant themselves.
Look instead for busy places just outside the tourist areas where the locals eat. If you're not brave enough for street food look for small family run restaurant that is busy with locals. Experiment with a hotpot, usually the staff are so stunned to see a westerner they will make an extra effort to help you prepare and show you what dips to use for any dish.