Vietnam by National Geographic
As mentioned previously, the National Georgrapic series of travel books do a very fine job of giving the flavor of each place without being such an exhausting phone-book-catalog of temporal restaurant and hotel details. The National Geo book on Vietnam gives us lots of pictures and glossy highlights of each town and borough, along with lightweight historical context for why a place is the way it is now.
We used this book to plan our 10th wedding anniversary trip to this wonderful country… And we had a ball. I’ve written more on the subject elsewhere, but here’s a little timbit on one of the things I will most remember:
“And oh God the food. Never have I been to a place with such an obsessive interest in food, and no country I have visited has such a wealth of incredible, diverse dishes. In each of the four cities we visited there was nary a square foot in any ally or sidewalk which wasn't taken up by people cooking or eating. The calendars hawkers tried to sell on the street were not of fast cars or local girls, they were of the monthly specialty soups. From French coffees and baked goods, to the freshest of herbs, to the dozens of kinds of noodle, to high quality delicious grilled meats of every kind, Vietnam wins the gold ribbon for food. If you are a foodie, a chef, or a cook you owe it to yourself to come here…”