Ha Long Bay Cruise – Delicious Cuisine

Travel Period: 21 Sep – 28 Sep 2014

{PREVIOUS: Our Room Stay in the Au Co Cruise |  Ha Long Bay – The Gorgeous Scenery of Ha Long Bay }

Cruise Cuisine

The moment we boarded the Au Co Cruise and checked into our rooms, there was an announcement for us to go up to the middle deck to enjoy our lunch at the dining room.

Walking in, there was a long table in the middle and side tables suitable for a group of 4 to 6. We were allocated one table on the right side. Behind us, seated at different tables, were people who came separately from the huge group of Australian tourists like us. I heard from a couple that they were also “upgraded” from the original tour package. There was a Japanese couple, an European couple, an Australian couple and a Vietnamese couple with a child younger than Dar.

We had not done Western fine dining before so the menu and all the cutlery layouts were quite an eye-opener.

There was a nice menu listing what we would be eating, specially created according to five elements of the Universe, Fire, Wood, Earth, Water and Metal. 

As each dish was brought to our table, we marvelled at the nice presentation. 

They were as tasty as they looked but frankly, the amount wasn’t enough to fill our stomach after the long bus journey from Hanoi. As I am on a gluten-free diet, I was prepared to just eat sparingly. However, they surprisingly took note of our food allergies beforehand and served food accordingly. Thus, my food was a wheat-free diet. I do not however think it’s seriously gluten free as sauces might still contain gluten. What they did was, when they served food such as pastries or creamy soup, they would change mine to a different one, replacing with fruits or clear soup. Thus, my food and Vin’s look different sometimes.

After lunch, we proceeded to check out the scenery of Ha Long Bay on the top deck. Our itinerary after that was to swim in a private bay and come back for cooking class demonstration (make spring rolls) and dinner. 

DINNER ON FIRST NIGHT

At night, the setting became romantic, with yellow lights and candle lights. Before the dishes were served, the staff performed a Vietnamese dance for us. I was sad that I had a nose block problem and couldn’t smell my food so my taste was discounted. According to Vin, the fresh spring roll was really good.  This time, we felt more full after five dishes. Each was presented so artistically that I took a while to admire before I dug into them. Vin ordered Vietnam Beer to try too.

Dar was interested in the food too and always read the menu before eating. The amount is too much for Dar and he couldn’t finish most of the food before it was cleared away for the next dish coming up. Vin helped him ate some but he also had his to finish. Therefore, I felt it was quite wasteful to give him adult portions. 

The cook did a cooking demonstration for our dessert (fried pineapple), playing with the flying pan and fire. It was innovative to do this so we wouldn’t be bored during dinner while waiting.

BREAKFAST ON 2ND & 3RD DAY

In the morning, we woke up to a hearty buffet breakfast, with Western and Vietnamese food. You could also try the famous Vietnamese cuisine, Pho. Since we had been eating Vietnamese for a few days prior to our Ha Long Bay cruise, we preferred eating the western food such as ham, sausages, scrambled eggs, fried bacon instead. There were lots of fruits available after the meal which looked so deliciously arranged with their pretty colours. Too bad, I didn’t have much appetite so early in the morning for a huge buffet. 

After the breakfast, we headed to the Fishing Village for a tour.

LUNCH ON SECOND DAY

Coming back from Vung Vieng Fishing Village, we were all hungry and thus eagerly waited for the five dishes to be served.

I like all the food but as usual, the amount was not much after we did some physical activities. I guess they assumed you would have eaten a huge breakfast in the morning. (T_T Maybe I should have forced myself to eat Pho too).

We went back to our room to rest and waited for the next activity to Cat Ba Island.

At night, we were treated to a BBQ buffet on the top deck. It’s really amazing how they moved all the furnitures up there and transformed the deck into a dining place! I would elaborate about this night BBQ experience in a separate post.

Overall, we were happy about the food experiences on the Au Co Cruise. If we had taken the original cruise, every meal would have been a buffet. We are not so particular about food but who wouldn’t like good food?

Hope this mouth-watering post didn’t make you hungry! ^_^ Read more about the planned activities for us in the next few posts.

{ NEXT: Ha Long Bay Cruise Day 1 – Swim in Bay }