Obama's surprise visit to "bun cha" eatery
SHE has ladled out countless bowls of her pork noodle soup but the owner of a Hanoi streetside restaurant said she was stunned when Barack Obama strolled in, pulled up a plastic stool and slurped down Vietnam's famed "bun cha" delicacy.
The US President slipped away from his hectic Vietnam visit on Monday night to sample the dish with Anthony Bourdain, a chef who fronts a travel show about hidden culinary gems around the world.
While 54-year-old restaurant owner Nguyen Thi Lien knew a foreign television crew was on the way, she had no idea they would be bringing a very special guest.
"His presence in our restaurant was a great surprise for my whole family, who could never have imagined it, even in our dreams," she said yesterday.
The US Secret Service and local police closed the streets surrounding Bun Cha Huong Lien eatery on Monday evening.
A large crowd gathered outside the restaurant, letting out a cheer as Mr Obama exited.
Surrounded by a coterie of bodyguards, he stopped to greet excited locals, many capturing the moment on their phones, before being whisked away in his limousine.
"Obama was nice, smiling, cheerful and popular with everyone," said the shop's owner, adding that she regretted not posing for a picture with him.
Bourdain posted a picture of the dinner on his Instagram feed with the caption "The President's chopstick skills are on point".
"Total cost of bun cha dinner with the President: $6.00. I picked up the check," Bourdain, who is renowned for his love of cheap streetside food, later tweeted.