Monday 13 July 2015

Vietnam - Eat and Walk in Hanoi

Hanoi - Feb 2015

After settling down our luggage, the hotel staff gave us a thorough brief on where to go and what to eat around the vicinity. Our Essence Hanoi hotel was located in the heart of Old Quarter (their town area) so all the places are within walking distance.

1) Bun Cha (grilled pork and noodle)

Our hotel staff suggested Bun Cha which was just around the corner for our lunch. 

If it wasn't strongly recommended by hotel staff, I doubt we would step into this stall at all.

Actually, we did not know what bun cha was and we also did not know how to order. We just told the stall lady four bun cha and she nodded.

Basically, it is like grilled fatty pork. There are different type of meat in this bowl.

It came with vegetables and noodles. How to eat bun cha is similar to how to eat japanese soba. Take the noodles, dip in the soup and put it in your mouth. For the vegetable, you can eat it raw or put them into the soup. The grilled meat is actually quite fragrant. 

Thach Hoan Bun Cha - Nom
Address: 43 Hang Buom

2) Egg coffee

I have been looking forward to this traditional vietnamese coffee when my friends told me to try if I ever go Vietnam. To my surprise, egg coffee is not very well known in Hanoi as it is only available in selective coffee shop.

We passed by this cafe while we were finding high and low for a famous coffee shop that was recommended on a blogshop but turned out it did not has the egg coffee. Hence, we went back to this cozy cafe and we were so glad that we did because their egg coffee was AWESOME!

Surprisingly, we were their only customers lol

Egg coffee! It was basically made of egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and coffee. The top layer was the egg yoke hand whisked till like cream and it was super smooth when we took the first sip. I instantly fell in love with it.

We came back again on our last day!

Address: 96 Nguyen Huu Huan

Actually on our last day, we went to another cafe that served different type of egg coffee. These are normal egg coffee, egg coffee with rum, ice egg coffee and lastly egg cocoa. They tasted so different and horrible! Then we went back to the very first cafe before we depart. #hardcore #noregret

Giang cafe
Address: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan

3) Banh Xeo (crispy Pancakes)

We have been eating and eating the moment we touched down. Since all the places that we noted down were all nearby, so we decided to conquer food with small portion to have a quick taste of Hanoi before we rush off to Halong Bay the next morning. 

Banh Xeo is served with rice wrapper and lots varieties of vegetable on the side. As usual, we did not know how to eat it. We cut the pancake into fours, put one piece with vegetable on the rice wrapper and dip with the fish sauce. It tasted quite yummy! 

Address: 11 Hang Dau, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi

4) Hoan Kiem Lake ("Lake of the Returned Sword")

We went for a walk to nearby Hoan Kien Lake before we head back to the night market for shopping and food again.

This is the Huc Bridge aka the Morning Sunlight Bridge where many couples go there for photoshoot. 

It was a very nice walk around the lake as they have invested greatly on the pretty flowers along the lake.

Turtle Tower (Tháp Rùa) is sitting in the middle of the lake.

5) Hoa Lo Prison Museum

We had some time to spare before night market starts at 7pm so we went to visit Hoa Lo Prison Museum. Basically, it was used for prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. It is really not my kind of thing. It is just too creepy for me so a no no for photo.

Then we walked back to Old Quarter for night market.

Lots of motorcycles started to roam around. How to cross the road? Close your eyes and motorists will avoid you. 

6) Bami vietnamese sandwich

We stopped for a snack again. 

It may look like a normal sandwich but the bread was toasted just nice and the meat was very tasty even though there was no sauce at all. After buying two sandwiches, the vietnamese girl passed us a buy-two-get-one-free card.... lol she could have just give us a free sandwich lah... 

7) Pho

Anyway, luckily we did not have the third sandwich so we were able to buy this bowl of Pho seated just beside the bami sandwich stall.

Pho with chicken meat. It looks very plain but it tasted exactly like chicken rice OMG! I really really like this! It was not oily at all I swear! We were having this hot and yummy Pho in drizzling weather, how can life get even better than this?

6) Weekend night market at Old Quarter (7pm to 11pm)

I love going to night market. They usually sell the most quirky stuff that will cannot be seen in shopping malls. The weekend night market only opens from Friday to Sunday 7pm till 11pm - It is a long stretch of streets from Hang Dao to Dong Xuan Market.

Backview of a Vietnamese lady wearing traditional clothing is their iconic image of Vietnam. 

I don't know why but I particularly love pretty plates.

Stalls pretty much repeated themselves. It reminds me of Women's Market in Hong Kong. 

I bought a down material jacket for only ~S$13! *hehe

On our way back to the hotel, we saw groups of people crowded around at one road intersection. Being a curious Singaporean, we walked towards the intersection and saw that they were actually sitting on a small stool surrounding a tiny table holding on beers.

I guess this is their clubbing street.

This was just a street away from the clubbing street. 

7) Cha Ca (Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill)

Hotel staff strongly recommended this as this is the one of the 101 food to eat before you die. Hence, we searched high and low for this restaurant on our last day. We have braved through the cold wind and thank God for google map.

 This is actually quite hard to find if you do not have google map or anyone to direct you as this is not near the main town area. 

We went in the restaurant and ordered 4 set meals. Apparently this restaurant only sells Cha Ca which made ordering so much easier. Then the waiter arranged our tables nicely with all the ingredient and the grilled fish and left the table. We were looking at one another with one question in our mind : "erm.. what do we do now?"

Then the waiter came back and started cooking right in front of us. 

End product! He was very considerate that he taught us how to eat this dish. First take the fish with dill and spring onion into your bowl, then add rice vermicelli, peanut on your table and the last step is to add fish sauce! I must say that this indeed one of the 100 dishes you must try.

Cha Ca Thang Long
Address: 19 - 21 - 31, Đường Thành, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

Goodbye, Hanoi. I will want to come back again for egg coffee and cha ca!

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