After getting a chance to enjoy the view of the surroundings at the start of our cruise in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, we heard the bell for lunch. It’s definitely a welcomed sound, as it’s been a long day for most of us after spending the morning on a drive from Hanoi to Ha Long City, and then followed with boarding the junk boat. Kristi and I went to the dining room, and in a few minutes all of the other passengers made it there as well.
Smiley our tour guide welcomed us again, and informed us that the meals that we would have during the cruise are as important experience as the sightseeing and other activities we would do. He said the crew would like to ensure that we enjoy the food and drinks they serve, so any request or feedback we had were welcomed. The food was included as part of our cruise package, but the drinks were not. So they would keep tab of what we ordered, and at the end of the trip we would settle the bill with them.
For the first meal of our trip, Smiley said we would have several dishes featuring seafood freshly gathered from Ha Long Bay itself. The food was served family style at each table. The menu for this first meal was as follows: red bean and lotus seed soup as as starter, followed by green vegetable salad with carrot juice, Ha Long clam with fragrance smooth fruit, deep fried prawn with garlic and butter, Vong Vieng oyster cake with garlic sauce, steamed fish with soy sauce, fried vegetable with garlic, steamed rice, and closed with fresh tropical fruits. Quite a meal to make a first impression. Most of the dishes were very familiar to me and Kristi, as they were probably closer to traditional Chinese preparation than what we knew as Vietnamese food. But it makes sense since where we were in northern Vietnam was very close to the southern Chinese border, and historically there were a lot of Chinese influence in the Vietnamese culture.
The photo below was the deep-fried prawn with garlic and butter dish. It’s a pretty simple preparation; the highlight was the prawn that clearly was very fresh. I also like this preparation better than the deep-fried shrimp we find in the US; it’s more tasty, and didn’t feel greasy at all.