HANOI — What's a trip abroad without some good local cuisine?
President Obama didn't want to miss out Monday night here in Hanoi, so he hit the town with renowned chef-turned-television host Anthony Bourdain. The pair dined together at Huong Lien, a bún chả restaurant that serves the grilled pork and noodle dish thought to originate in Vietnam's capital city.
Obama, who arrived Sunday night for his first presidential visit to Vietnam, shared the meal as part of a "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" episode that will air on CNN in September, White House aides said.
The U.S. reporters in the White House press pool that was accompanying Obama in the presidential motorcade were not allowed to follow the pair inside the restaurant, which was crowded with local patrons. But social media lit up with photos from those who were present for the surprise visit, which was not listed on the president's public schedule.
— Hau Dinh (@haudtt) May 23, 2016
Bourdain made clear that the most powerful man in the free world was eating at an ordinary, local hole-in-the-wall. A photo on his Instagram account showed a fan cooling down the joint as he and the president chatted over beers.
Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer. pic.twitter.com/KgC3VIEPQr
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) May 23, 2016
By the time Obama left the restaurant, a huge crowd had gathered outside, according to a pool report, and cheers erupted at the sight of the president. Obama shook hands before entering his limousine.
Total cost of the meal was $6, according to the TV chef. Bourdain tweeted that he picked up the check.