For our last full day in Vietnam, we went back to Hanoi. We left Sapa in the morning and got into Hanoi around mid-afternoon. We had a bit of a break before our evening activity – a cooking class! Our chef, Hoai, met our group at the hotel and we walked to the local market to buy all the things we needed for our meal! The market was close to our hotel and it was in a basement of a building. It was a cool place to just walk around – we ended up buying some handmade ceramics there while Hoai was getting our ingredients. We got most of the produce from the market and then needed to get pork. We walked to a butcher who had just a whole pig on a table outside her shop. I stayed across the street while Mike and a couple others went and watched the butcher do her thing! For the meals we were cooking, we needed ground pork and the one thing I did find fascinating was that the butcher cut the meat and ground it right there for Hoai. Talk about fresh meat!
After we had all of our ingredients, we went to a restaurant to prepare and cook our dishes! It was really fun and everything was so delicious! We made fried egg rolls, bun cha, and green mango salad. I loved eating the mango salad almost every day while we were exploring, so it was really neat to learn how to make it! The bun cha was the main dish, and it’s caramelized pork meatballs with noodles and vegetables in a delicious sauce. I don’t know if it was the fresh pork or the fact that we made it, but it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve eaten in my life. A year and a half home from our trip and my mouth still waters when I think about that bun cha!
After the cooking class, we went back to the hotel for the night. However, I had missed out on night pictures when the group did them during our first couple of days, so our fearless leader Mark offered to take Mike and I so we didn’t miss out! We went back to the red bridge and got some neat pictures of that and then we went to the most insane roundabout to take some traffic shots! There was a cute cafe up a few floors in a building that overlooked the “intersection” and it was perfect for getting great pictures! Mike even took a cool time lapse on his phone, which is the perfect way to show just how chaotic traffic is but also how everything just works out. We were there for probably 30-45 minutes and there wasn’t one accident!
It was a great way to end the trip. The next morning, Mike and I spent our 4th wedding anniversary on a plane coming back to the states!