We've consolidated a list of best eats in Hanoi and are doing our own DIY walking food tour today!
1st stop: best local appetisers
Located at 26B Au Trieu Street, this quaint street side shop is packed with tourists every morning and evening found digging into their fabulous rice rolls and other appetisers.
We went at noon so as to avoid the morning and lunch crowd.
We ordered a few appetisers to share and they were all good! Although many tourists make the trip here for their rice rolls, we felt that their lemongrass roll was the main star with its tangy flavours and perfectly grilled pork.
Be prepared to sit the local way - on really short stools and tables.
Bill: 25k VND (S$1.50)
2nd stop: lunch at 4 Pizzas
Taking my roommate up on her recommendation, we headed over to what was supposedly the best pizzas in Vietnam, so good that it purportedly puts Italy's to shame.
Tip: tell the staff you'll like a seat at the counter top, where you can watch fresh pizzas being moulded and baked in their wood fire oven right in front of your eyes.
We opted for a half-and-half: four cheese on one side, and smoked cheesy spicy seafood on the other.
Verdict: FANTASTIC. Having just gone to Italy earlier this year, we really felt this place served better pizzas than the ones we had in Florence and Rome. The staff service here was also extremely attentive to your every single detail, and we were so blown away by their amazing customer service that we asked for their survey form so we could grade them excellent on all fronts.
If you need some Western food to balance out the Vietnamese palette, this would be a good place to visit and be blown away by their impeccable service (AND pizzas).
The secret is apparently in their homemade cheeses, and I can attest to that, as we found the four-cheese half of our pizza to be more memorable than the seafood half.
Bill: 264k VND (S$16.50)
3rd stop: Bun Cha #1
So we had Bun Cha at this place a few nights ago and it was so good that the husband wanted to go back for a second round.
But as it turned out, this place is an imitation of the REAL deal right across the street!
The real one is much more flavourful and has a lot less oil in the soup.
THIS is the real deal. Don't go to the wrong one like we did!
Bill: $90k VND (S$5.60)
4th stop: coconut coffee
This received rave reviews on Tripadvisor as well as other online blogs for being the best place to get coconut coffee in Hanoi, and it didn't disappoint!
The quaint vintage cafe is a great place to chill and unwind after a few hours of walking. While we were here, we saw a couple snuggling, a man working on his laptop, and another woman reading a book.
There's 2 types of coconut coffee - coffee with coconut milk, or with coconut ice cream (the smoothie version).
It was a pretty hot day out so we chose the latter, and it was refreshing! Shall try to replicate the same when we're back in Singapore.
There's outdoor seating too but the inside was more fun to people-watch.
Bill: $48k VND (S$3)
5th stop: the original egg coffee
Someone said Cafe Giang was the first to introduce egg coffee to Hanoi, which I'm not entirely sure about in terms of accuracy, but since it was only a few doors down from Cong Caphe, we strolled over to sample.
At first glance, the place certainly looks vintage enough to qualify as an "original"!
However, while the drink was certainly yummy and very smooth, the horrendous customer service levels here left a bad taste.
We tried placing our order before heading upstairs (like we do at Lake View Cafe), but were directed upstairs before we could do so.
Waited 5 minutes and no one came to take our order, neither were the leftover cups cleared. So we went up to the server and placed our order with him.
10 minutes later, still nothing came, but he had already served other tables after us.
We then gave up and walked back down, got seated downstairs and both servers were unapologetic about the long wait / forgot our order.
When service is bad, the food (or drink) usually has to be REALLY EXCEPTIONAL in order to make up for it, but this wasn't the case.
The coffee was slightly better here, and much cheaper, but I think we'll rather pay a bit more at Lake View Cafe for the view and better service.
Bill: $25k VND (S$1.50)
(Lake view's version is $40k)
6th stop: Bia Hoi along Ta Hien Street
This is the locally brewed beer so N really wanted to try it out! Unfortunately we visited numerous shops along Beer Street who insisted that no one sold it anymore and it was all bottled beer now.
We found this at a corner.
The beer is quite light, but we could still feel the effects of the alcohol!
A happy man is one who gets his beer.
Bill: $5k VND per cup (yes you read that right, it was only S$0.30 each!)
7th stop: Eel porridge and vermicelli
This family business sits at the corner and is pretty hard to miss.
Guys, this is the BEST porridge I've ever tasted in my life (I kid you not!!)
The rice grains were super small and soft, almost as though the congee had been left to simmer for hours and hours on the stove. The herbs add a slight tangy taste to the broth. Every mouthful is bursting with flavour, and the eel is also soft and chewy in this version.
N said that if we sold this in Singapore, we'll be millionaires. I wanna figure out how they make this!!!
The dry vermicelli which we came back a second time for.
Bill: $90k VND (S$5.50)
8th stop: fruits along a street stall
We bought a custard apple and a breastmilk apple (lol) to share.
Bill: $35k VND (S$2.20)
9th stop: local street snacks
There's this small alley food stall near Backpackers Street which is packed with locals every single night after 9pm when we walk by, so we headed over there for our last food stop of the day!
This is located facing the side of St Joseph's Cathedral which is really easy to find.
We ordered grilled pork, cuttlefish and sweet potato wedges to share, and they were surprisingly delish!
The potatoes were very sweet and buttery, while being fried perfectly crisp. You could really taste the smokey grilled meat in the pork, and the cuttlefish was not bad (you can't really go wrong with this can you?)
The drinks, unfortunately, weren't fantastic, so skip the homemade ones. We ordered ice lemon tea and tamarind juice (homemade) and it tasted artificially sweet.
Bill: $175k (S$11)
10th stop: massage
(Okay this technically isn't a food stop but I just wanted to hit 10 so humour me okay 😂)
Our last stop was for a foot massage! This came highly recommended by our hotel but their body massage wasn't fantastic when we went the last time. Price wise, this shop is the cheapest though, so we found ourselves coming back for one last time!
The foot masseurs we got really pressed on all the right spots!?! It came with a head, shoulder and back massage as well 👍
Bill: $130k x 2 (S$8 per person excluding tips)
With that, we're retiring for the night! Hopefully this guide will help those heading to Hanoi next time 😊
Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017
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