The Astronomer and I just got back from the most kick-ass vacation ever! Phu Quoc Island off the coast of Vietnam and Cambodia is paradise on earth. Seriously. Clear turquoise waters, abundant sunshine, sandy beaches, and seafood a plenty. Heavenly.
We arrived last Friday morning and flew home Monday afternoon. In between, we sunned on the beach, snorkeled, read, relaxed, and ate extremely well.
After checking in at our hotel and dropping off our luggage, we walked into town in search of lunch. The Astronomer was starving and impulsively chose Thuy Duong at 25 Nguyen Trai Street. The place was infested with flies, which killed my appetite, but The Astronomer ordered a bowl of hu tieu dai muc (top row, left) anyway. When the bowl arrived, it looked SO good that I had to order myself one. The noodle dish was comprised of a pork-based broth, a transparent and chewy noodle (hu tieu dai), bean sprouts, fresh scallions, and lightly cooked squid (muc). Everything tasted so fresh and the squid blew our minds. I think the squid in Phu Quoc has forever ruined squid elsewhere for me.
After lunch, we headed to the market to look around and score some more eats. I bought lots of fruit, while The Astronomer procured cookies (banh kep) and a barbecued meatball sandwich (banh mi nem nuong – top row, center). The sandwich was good, but his heart remains true to the banh mi thit nuong in District 4.
Dinnertime brought more delicious squid! We stayed close to home and ate at our resort—Kim Nam Phuong. We ordered squid sauteed with garlic and ginger (top row, right) and a plate of pan fried noodles with squid and shrimp (middle row, left). The dishes were stellar all around. I love how seafood is completely satisfying and not too filling.
For breakfast the next morning, I ate fruit and cereal, while The Astronomer ordered a pineapple crepe (middle row, center) from the resort. We ate our selections beach side, ah… The Astronomer thought the crepe was a bit dough-y, but a great way to start the day nevertheless. After breakfast, we decided to upgrade our lodging and moved to the Tropicana Resort.
After we set up our new digs and lounged around in the sun, we headed to the Troicana’s sweet beach front dining deck for lunch. The Astronomer ordered fish with chilies and lemongrass (middle row, right), while I ordered a squid salad (bottom row, left). The fish was a bit spicy for The Astronomer, while I found my salad average. The Tropicana may have nicer bungalows, but the chefs at the Kim Nam Phuong are superior.
The following day, The Astronomer and I went on an all-day snorkeling excursion along the southern islands of Phu Quoc. The sites were postcard perfect and the food on board was expertly prepared. The best dish was the squid sauteed with pineapples and tomatoes (bottom row, center). This was hands down the most wonderful squid I have ever tasted. Who would have thought squid could melt in one’s mouth? I really don’t think I could ever order calamari at an Italian restaurant ever again. Another great dish was the fried fish (bottom row, right), which was covered with red chili flakes.
Now that I’m back in Saigon, I will be dreaming about the fruits of the sea in Phu Quoc until I return.