Travel Diary: Eating Our Way Through Hanoi, Vietnam
There are two things you should absolutely do in Hanoi, Vietnam.
First, get yourself on a motorbike.
Second, eat as much street food as you possibly can.
So going on a motorbike street food tour that whips around the city to more than 10 different food vendors within a few hours? Yes, please.
Hanoi is a kinetic, frenetic city unlike any other I've visited. Motorbikes and scooters zip through narrow streets flanked by thick power lines. Walking around the city is a fool's errand. It's difficult and frustrating and you might as well wear a big flashing neon sign that reads, "I AM DEFINITELY A TOURIST."
The northern Vietnamese city, the country's capital, is filled with boulevards and buildings from its French colonial past. But Hanoi's tremendous food scene, and its lively Bia Hoi tradition of drinking cold daft beer on busy street corners, is arguably the best in all of Vietnam.
And there's way more to eat than banh mi and pho. Our street food tour guide Teddy, an international law student who takes around hungry tourists in her spare time, starts our day with xôi yến -- sticky rice with crispy shallots on top, followed by bánh cuốn, steam rice pancakes filled with cooked eggs. Street food stalls in Hanoi are named after whatever dish they primarily serve, so the place we eat xôi yến is aptly named, Xôi Yến. Same goes with Bánh Cuốn.
As the morning continues and we stop at another 8 food stalls in different neighborhoods of the city, it becomes clear that we will not be trying any of the Vietnamese food we're already familiar with. And if we didn't have to leave to catch a flight back to Hong Kong, Teddy would take us to even more.
Teddy introduces us to cafe trứng, coffee that has raw eggs slowly and methodically whipped for hours on top of it -- like a custardy foam that you never knew you wanted on top of your coffee, but you do. We also tried trứng ngải cứu, a fried egg herb pancake that reminded me so much of Persian food and my mother's kitchen 8,000 miles away.
Teddy's information is below. Book a tour and request her as your guide. You will not regret it.
Hanoi Street Food Tour
74 Hang Bac Street at Kim Tour's Building -- Hanoi -- Vietnam
Tel: 0966 960 188