Our undercover reporter heads to Café If (Café Neu) to sample the cuisine, but gets caught in the act. Photos by Kyle Phanroy
In a city where it’s completely normal to wander winding alleys in search of a restaurant, Il Faro might win the prize for most difficult to find. The new bistro is located in a forbidding-looking hotel complex — Khach San Cong Doan — at the end of To Ngoc Van that doesn’t look like it houses any kind of eatery, much less an elegant Mediterranean restaurant.
It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m squeezing into a corner seat at the KAfe, marvelling at the number of people packed into the narrow industrial-style room. They all seem to be eating the same things: burgers stacked on wooden boards, fresh juices in Mason jars, pink macaroons. Hip hop is blaring over the speakers. “You see there’s leaders, and there’s followers,” Kanye tells us.
“From healthy food to German to Mexican?” I said to my editor as he explained my latest assignment. “Surely there should be some sort of connection?”
I mean, the only thing I can see linking Germany to Mexico is the production of VW Bugs — VW Beetles to all you Europeans out there. But otherwise it just doesn’t make sense, all this jumping around. In my opinion there should be an ongoing theme, something to link one article to the next.
“The Healing Power is really good. It’s got lots of ginger for the season,” Pete Wilkes says.
You can probably imagine my horror when this month my editor told me that we were going German.
Those craving Middle Eastern food in Hanoi no longer have to settle for a sidewalk doner kebab. At Beirut, an international chain that’s finally found its way to the Vietnamese capital, Lebanese staples like falafel, hummus and moussaka are served in a sophisticated setting. The food is as authentic as it gets in Vietnam, though like everything made with imported ingredients, it doesn’t come cheap.