Travel: Birthday in Ho Chi Minh City
Birthday in Ho Chi Minh City – where I turned one marvellous year older. Since I planned the hotels before hand, I knew where we’d be for my birthday in late April – Vietnam! This restaurant, Noir, has excellent reviews and a top chef. The trick? You eat in the dark! 100% blackness. The lady next to us had to remove her watch because the little hands glowed. You wouldn’t believe what your senses are like when you’re eating in the dark – you should try it.
Okay, before Noir we had lunch at a little local place – a vegetarian restaurant that was a bit off the beaten path, yet looked and smelled so good. This far into our trip I’d gotten a bit smart about being a Celiac and eating. Usually, I ordered what I thought would be best and often ordered a back-up of french fries, since generally they were safe.
At this little place I found a corn salad dish that seemed safe and Bryce ordered pho. When my corn salad came it had all of these little fried bits in it. I had no idea what it was and with the language barrier, no way I could ask! So, I ordered french fries. Now, here’s the thing, the menu had some english on it so I was quite confident I would get fries. Nope, I got these round things below. I think it’s fried tofu.
I’m laughing so much because I’m using chop-sticks to eat one kernel of corn at a time (as to not get the gluten bits) and the regulars who visit for their Friday lunch are staring and laughing at me. It was so funny. Needless to say, I was starving when we got to Noir.
Noir is awesome. They have 3 menu options (meat, fish, vegetarian) – we both got vegetarian and they were able to accommodate me as a Celiac. Total score.
For my birthday I got this little flower bracelet – I love Noir.
Okay, these pictures are bad because you’re not allowed to use a flash in the restaurant, not even in the entry way. Don’t get fooled – you don’t eat with a mask on. This is just the entry room where they walk you through a few exercises to get you used to using your other senses.
So, first you walk in and sit at a little table. They get you a drink and they ask you if you want to play a game. Yes! You put on the mask and you have to solve the puzzle. Easy, right? Ah, no.
Next, they ask if you’re ready to go into the dining room. Keep in mind that you don’t know what you’re going to eat, you just know the theme. They walk you into another room and introduce you to your server. Then, in kongo line fashion, you follow him in (arms straight ahead, on the person’s shoulders). He walks you over to the table and helps you take a seat. The room in pitch black. Also, most servers are visually impaired or completely blind.
Once you take a seat he walks you through where your table items are – fork, water, napkin and so on. Then, the 7 course menu starts. Yes, 7 courses!
Everything tasted so fresh and was so delicious. I found myself eating slower, savouring more, and simply living in the moment. Pure beauty.
After the meal you’re taken into an exiting room – it’s like the entry room, yet bright and just as well decorated. The manager comes over and shows you pictures of everything you ate. You can tell, even in the dark, that attention is given to the food and the pictures prove it.
Don’t we look happy and well fed? We are!
If you ever have the opportunity to eat at Noir in Ho Chi Minh City, take it – you’ll love it. Thanks for visiting and happy travelling.