10 things I miss about Hanoi – and 10 things I love about the Barossa

When one of our friends declared late last year, shortly before leaving Hanoi that “the only thing she would miss about Hanoi was passion fruit juice”, she was set a challenge to come up with a list of 10 things she would miss. I think she actually got to 15 – but the idea of the “Top 10 things I will miss about Hanoi” list was born. I can’t remember if I did an actual list when we left– although I did tag quite a few Instagram posts #thingsiwillmissabouthanoi. So I thought I would put together a list of things I am missing two months after leaving and then add the things I’ve found to love about the Barossa so far.

My top 10 things I miss about Hanoi:

  1. Food – especially street food like Bun cha (pork rissoles and noodles), Pho Bo (Beef noodle soup), banh tom Ho Tay (West Lake prawn cakes), Pho Tieu (cold noodle dish) from Dong Xuan market, Cha Ca (fish in turmeric with noodles)

    Pho Bo - Beef noodle soup
    Pho Bo – Beef noodle soup
  2. Vietnamese Coffee – especially over ice, the yoghurt coffee at Café Duy Tri and Iced egg coffee (like Tiramisu in a drink) from Hidden café

    Iced egg coffee at the Hidden Cafe
    Iced egg coffee at the Hidden Cafe
  3. Lakes around Hanoi especially morning runs around west lake and the Lotus ponds

    Dragon on West Lake, Hanoi
    Dragon on West Lake, Hanoi
  4. Cheap fresh flowers
  5. Cheap fruit and vegetables, especially amazing tropical fruit – pomelo (like grapefruit), mangosteen, limes, pineapples
  6. The kaleidoscope of life in the streets – things stacked on motorbikes, street side cafes, and festivals in the street

    Heavily laden motorbikes in front of Hanoi's mural wall
    Heavily laden motorbikes in front of Hanoi’s mural wall
  7. Living amongst the varied cultures in an expat populations
  8. Opportunities to travel around Vietnam and to neighbouring countries
  9. Shopping – beautiful clothes especially from Chula, gorgeous home wares from Tan My, crazy t-shirts from Gingko and all the other lovely shops especially on Hang Gai and through the old quarter
  10. Amazing friends and colleagues and great support staff

Of course there are also a few things I don’t miss:

– Crappy weather – grey skies, humidity, too hot or too cold

– Pollution

– Rubbish on the streets

– Crazy traffic and trying to cross the road

– Rats – especially those that insisted on sharing our home (and eating favourite pieces of clothing)!

Now, having been in the Barossa 3.5 weeks, here are the things I have found that I love so far:

  1. Barossa Farmer’s Market – buying beautiful seasonal local fresh produce from the people that raised, grew or made it, great coffee, flowers and a fantastic atmosphere
  2. Loads of great food and wine – of course
  3. Great parks for the boys – including one a few minutes walk from home
  4. Being 5-10 minutes to school, gym, shops etc
  5. Having at least two cellar doors walking distance from home – one of which also happens to be Simon’s place of work
  6. Fresh air, (mostly) blue skies and beautiful scenery – especially all the vineyards and beautiful old buildings, Mengler’s Hill Lookout and the sculpture park
  7. Sense of community, history and place
  8. Proximity to everything we need and great roads to drive on plus parking on the main street with no restrictions
  9. Lovely school/childcare for the boys who have been welcomed by teachers and friends alike
  10. Friendly welcoming people who love where they live and are excited about sharing that place with visitors and newcomers
Around Tanunda, Barossa Valley, August 2014
Around Tanunda, Barossa Valley, August 2014

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I started this blog almost 3 years ago when we first arrived in the Barossa Valley. I've always wanted to write and I wanted to share my experience of my career change, our move to this beautiful wine region and discovering my next adventure. After 15 years as a public servant working in Canberra, Beijing, China and Hanoi, Vietnam, I decided it was time for a career change and more importantly, a lifestyle change. In 2014, we left Hanoi and headed to the Barossa Valley in South Australia with a dream of a more fulfilling lifestyle in one of Australia's premier food and wine regions. My husband and I both work in the wine industry - where my job could be described as anything but making the wine. In 2017, I decided to wind-up the consulting business I established in 2015 and focus on learning as much as I could about the wine industry and writing - both on this blog and a memoir of our time in Vietnam. This blog is an opportunity for me to share my writing - about everything from motherhood, to career change, fitness, travel and our vine-change/career change experience.

4 thoughts on “10 things I miss about Hanoi – and 10 things I love about the Barossa”

  1. I really think I will struggle to get to 10 with the things I will miss about Brunei! Take a look back at your new town list in 6 months and see if it has changed.x


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