It will be a big miss if you make tours to Vietnam but not dropping by Hanoi, and it will be even a bigger miss if you make tours to the ancient Hanoi but forget to try the fancy cuisine of this place, which is sold everywhere in Hanoi, from the crowded markets, the sidewalks, the streets to the special quarters where once you remind its name, you will automatically remember its typical foods.
In this kind of quarters, usually, a family starts the business with an innovative idea and the neighbors follow their examples. As time go by, these shops have achieved an almost equal status and gained recognition among street food-lovers. However, one disadvantage they all bear is the absence of English in their menu (sometimes there is no menu at all), even as they all locate right in the heart of the Old Quarter. It may be difficult to communicate since the shops are designed for locals, yet if you desperately want to taste a bit of Hanoi’s life, where food is abundant, tasty and cheap; they are there for you to try.
1. Caramel Pudding (Hang Than)
There are about three or four shops selling homemade caramel pudding and yogurt close to the corner of Hang Than and Hoe Nhai. It’s easier for takeout but if you don’t mind a bit squeezing, of course you are welcome to sit down. They are master at mixing yogurt and caramel pudding with fruits, nep cam (violet glutinous rice) and all kinds of yummy jelly.
Caramel Pudding of Hang Than
2. Hoa qua dam – Fruit salads (To Tich)
Specific types of fruits vary according to the season, but since you are in a tropical country, the beauty of diversity is a wonder. The general idea is medium sized pieces of different taste are topped with condense milk and served with a separate bowl of ice.
Fruit salads of To Tich
3. Nem ran – Fried pork roll (Ngo Tam Thuong)
The whole alley is devoted to this food. Pork roll wrapped in banana leaves are either fried or BBQ at your request. A small portion of hot sauce is served together with a plate of either cu dau (pachyrrhizus) or mango. You can always ask for soya sauce if the sauce is too hot to bear! French fries and sometimes chicken wings are available as well.
Fried pork roll of Ngo Tam Thuong
4. Ngo Hang Chieu
Unlike the other three addresses, Hang Chieu valley is a well-known destination for those who want to try different dishes at once. Little shops here are like heaven for those who want to access local food in an authentic way. It is a bit crowded, especially around lunch time. You will see most of the common noodle soup, banh xeo (Vietnamese pan cake with shrimp and bean sprout inside), che (sweet beans and jelly) and many others.
Banh Xeo in Ngo Hang Chieu
5. BBQ – Ly Van Phuc
Tucked away in the middle of the lengthy Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ly Van Phuc easily stands out for its rising smoke from the many BBQs standing next to each other. Local specialty of the BBQ here is chicken feet, though if the idea of trying one is too intimidating, you can always get chicken drumsticks or ribs, which are equally delicious. These exquisites are often served with a plate of fresh vegetables and chilly-based dipping sauce. In cold nights, what can be better than 2 grilled chicken skewers and 1 cup of rice wine? Try it and love it.
BBQ in Ly Van Phuc
All shops mentioned above open all day, 7 days a week, but don’t try your luck after 10pm.
I bet you don’t want to be late for a date with street-food, right! Let’s spend some time for a short vacation to Hanoi to really know why it’s always called the food-paradise! So what are you still waiting for but not booking a tour with this travel agency immediately to enjoy joyful Vietnam tours!