Fah Thai Magazine July/August 2017

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Right:<br />

Trichaws, or cyclo,<br />

are everywhere on<br />

the streets of<br />

Hoi An, tempting<br />

in its leisurely pace.<br />

Opposite:<br />

My friend takes me<br />

to Bà Duong - she<br />

loves both the<br />

exterior crunch of<br />

the batter and the<br />

bean sprouts tucked<br />

the Vietnamesestyle<br />

crepe.<br />

To first-time visitors, the daily<br />

cacophony of motorbikes might<br />

spell chaos and danger; to locals,<br />

these magical vehicles, along<br />

with the impossible payload or<br />

passenger configuration, carry the<br />

fantastic spirit and energy of a fast<br />

developing city.<br />

First stop, dinner at Bà Duong,<br />

a well-known food joint hidden<br />

deep in a narrow alleyway<br />

[K280/23 Hoang Dieu]. We sat<br />

at the table closest to the open<br />

kitchen, where the shop’s main<br />

attraction, Bánh Xèo, was fried<br />

and stacked. The golden sizzling<br />

rice crepe holds a fold of bean<br />

sprouts, stir-fried shrimp, pork,<br />

fried sausage on a stick, spring<br />

onions and lettuce. Like most local<br />

foods here, condiments and fresh<br />

accompaniments matter as much<br />

as the main ingredient. You lay<br />

open the Bánh Xèo, spread all of<br />

the goodies on top, roll it up and<br />

wrap in a thin rice paper before<br />

dipping into the thick peanut sauce,<br />

Print swimsuit (Top) and skirt from Kloset<br />

One hand around my weekender bag, the other tightly<br />

clutched to the tail fairing, I was clearly not prepared<br />

for this unusual means of transport. “You are going<br />

to love the motorbike,” my friend claimed, reassuring<br />

me that her metal and tin horse will ferry us to all the<br />

best foods and views.<br />

consisting of peanut, hoisin sauce,<br />

chillies and pork liver. My first<br />

mouthful of Vietnam packed so<br />

much flavour that it quite literally<br />

knocked me out of my seat. I leaned<br />

over to fetch an additional order<br />

from the kitchen counter next to<br />

me and lost my balance!<br />

A divine first meal and a good<br />

laugh set my Danang trip on the<br />

right track. Minutes later, joined by<br />

more friends, we rode to the city’s<br />

best-known site, Dragon Bridge.<br />

As far as heavy symbolism goes,<br />

there are few I know as ostentatious<br />

as this dragon-shaped bridge that<br />

breathes fire and spits water. Long<br />

a symbol of prosperity in Asia, the<br />

dragon cannot be a more perfect<br />

image for a once buoyant shipping<br />

port poised for re-awakening.<br />

Standing atop this marvel of<br />

engineering, you could see the lone<br />

skyscraper up north – Danang’s<br />

administrative centre – and other<br />

iconic bridges punctuating a<br />

resurgent city with improving<br />

infrastructure and growing confidence.<br />

After nightfall, we rode along<br />

the strip of bars and restaurants on<br />

the Han River bank and stopped by<br />

Strapless jumpsuit from Soda<br />

62<br />


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