Hanoi is fast and frantic, it asks for a lot but gives it back with interest. The street food and drink experience is a highlight. As the senses adjust, they quickly rise to the amazing range of tastes and street dining available. Staying in the Old Quarter of Hanoi places countless street food vendors at your doorstep. Often it will involve scooters whizzing past your ears, and will always involve sitting on small plastic seats amongst the locals. Vendors will usually specialise in once dish, day after day. Some of our highlights included:
Bun Cha at New Day Restaurant, 72 Pho Ma May, Old Quarter – A Hanoi classic dish, char grilled mince pork patties, vietnamese spring rolls, noodles, a huge bunch of amazing Vietnamese herbs, and a bowl of fish broth. Take all of the elements and mix with the broth for a delicious meal.
BBQ Beef at 47 Pho Ma May, Old Quarter – Recommended by a friend, 47 Ma May looks to be a Hanoi Institution, always busy. Three choices here – Beef, goat or beef and goat. Then sit around a communal skillet in the middle of the table and cook up your meat, mixed with vegatables and big hunks of garlic. Our kids loved the experience of cooking their meals. The cooked food is then dipped in a fantastic combination of lime, salt and pepper. Can also add a fresh crusty roll to the mix. Great flavour and works for a big group.
Pho – All over Hanoi. You are never far from a street vendor serving this classic Vietnamese noodle dish. More of a breakfast meal, Pho street vendors start early setting up their roadside cafes (the original pop-up restaurants!) at the same spot every day. The ubiquitous plastic tables and chairs quickly fill with Hanoi locals stopping enroute to work for this hearty broth of rice noodles, basil, onion, bean sprouts ad Beef (Bo) or chicken (Ga). Add in lime and chilli and it beats coco pops or vegemite toast hands down
Bia Hoi – Cnr Ma May & Dong Thai, Old Quarter – As the day draws to a close, many street corners transform once again into Bia Hoi, pop-up bars serving light, cleansing, cold, freshly brewed beer. The Bia Hoi is an excellent way to watch the world go by (often perilously close, as scooter dodge and weave their way home). At 4000vnd or 20c per glass, a Bia Hoi session is also a bargain!