American president Barack Obama is currently in Vietnam, where he lifted a decade long arms embargo, among other things. Obama also dined in Hanoi with chef and author Anthony Bourdain, and Bourdain posted a picture of the two together on Instagram. What did they eat? How did it all come about? Where did they have their chow? Let’s take a closer look.
* Obama and Bourdain dined at the Bun Cha Huong Lien restaurant, in the city’s old quarter. “The President’s chopstick skills are on point,” instagrammed Bourdain about the meal. Bun cha, grilled pork and rice noodles, is a Hanoi thing. A bowl of cold broth also accompanies the meal. Bun cha is street food, almost as popular as pho.
* Bun Cha Huong Lien is not a fancy place, as is evident from the picture, and Hanoi abounds in places like this. The eateries serve wholesome, cheap food, including Banh Cuon, rice noodle rolls with a stuffing of ground pork and mushrooms and Pho Bo, a Vietnamese soup.
* “Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer,” tweeted Bourdain. So, which beer was it? Vietnam has several interesting beers, among them, Saigon Red and the 333. Various websites have trawled through the avalance of comments the photo has generated on Instagram, and the answer is that it was probably, Bia Hanoi, lager that is brewed by Habeco, Vietnam’s third largest beer company.
* So, did Obama just bump into Bourdain and then decide to go out for dinner with the chef? Nope. The president of the United States, says Time magazine, is slated to appear on an upcoming episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN. According to CNN, Bourdain met with Obama discussed his interest in the people, food and culture of Vietnam.
* The meal at Bun Cha Huong Lien, wrote Bourdain, cost $6 (about Rs 396). Bourdain later tweeted that he picked up the check.