World

Total cost of dinner: $8

TV host Anthony Bourdain meets Obama in Hanoi

US President Barack Obama ate "cheap but delicious noodles" and drank "cold Hanoi beer" while sitting on a "low plastic stool" during his trip to Vietnam, according to TV personality Anthony Bourdain.

The Parts Unknown host shared a meal with Mr Obama at the Bun Cha Huong Lien restaurant in Hanoi, NBC news reported.

Bourdain posted photos of their grilled pork and noodle feast on his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Monday, noting that the "President's chopstick skills are on point".

"Total cost of bun cha dinner with the president: US$6 (S$8)," Mr Bourdain added.

"I picked up the cheque."

The other diners appear to be totally oblivious to the presence of the US President, a celebrity chef and, presumably, a substantial security detail, photographers and film crew, BBC reported.

"Love how the diners were so good at pretending they had no idea who is sitting at the table next to them," tweeted Brazilian journalist Sofia Perpetua.

The discussion on Reddit, a social news networking website, which attracted 3,000 users, spilled over into where any Secret Service agents might be hiding.

On social media, there were even questions about the positioning of the food.

"The perfect alignment of the food disturbs me," said an Instagram user.

"Look at how symmetrical the bowls, chopsticks and plates are."

A more cheerful comment from another user read: "Eating in perfect symmetry, awesome and smart."

There were also discussions about the Vietnamese way of life.

"Ah, our rickety blue plastic stools - that's Vietnam for you," said Instagram user Chi Mai.

"No fancy interior, just simple furniture to let the food and conversation do the talking," said another.

SURPRISED

Ms Nguyen Thi Lien, the 54-year-old restaurant owner, knew that a foreign TV crew was on the way, but she had no idea that there would be a very special guest, AFP reported.

She said yesterday: "His presence in our restaurant was a great surprise for my whole family, who could never have imagined it, even in our dreams.

"Mr Obama was nice, smiling, cheerful and popular with everyone."

But she regretted not posing for a picture with him.

A White House official said that their conversation will be featured in an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown in September on CNN.

VietnamBarack ObamafoodANTHONY BOURDAINBUN CHA HUONG LIENUncategorisedCHOPSTICKSinstagram