We took a couple of day tours outside of Hanoi that included a local lunch, which is a great way to eat simple meals that are traditional to the region. Obviously, you can get wonderful local food in the city, especially street food in Hanoi, but eating in the countryside can give you a completely different experience. The variety of food that we were able to try was almost overwhelming, especially during our tour of Perfume Pagoda where we basically had a banquet meal.
Almost every meal that we had in Vietnam had fruit of some sort, but bananas were often eaten as dessert. Beef, pork, chicken, and fish were all represented, but we also had goat stew and an egg omelette dish as well. It is typical in Vietnam to add peppers or a spicy pepper sauce to any dish so that you can control your own heat level. It was interesting that the meals that we ate in the countryside were different than those that we ate in the city. Since these were part of a tour, they were obviously meant to spotlight the food of the province, which we truly enjoyed.
We always encourage people to get out to smaller towns and villages when visiting a country. Trying the food in those locations is as much a part of the experience as seeing people in an authentic setting. Having the opportunity to try so many various dishes was definitely a highlight of our time exploring the countryside of Vietnam.