Day 11 Hanoi

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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
January 12th 2015
Published: January 15th 2015
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This morning we were down for breakfast by 9am – whoops, had a bit of a sleep in. Breakfast was pretty good here with eggs, ham, fried rice, salad, toast, fruit, noodles, pho, juice, tea and coffee.

After we finished we headed to “Hanoi Street Food Walking Tours” as recommended by a friend to book in a street food tour. We were greeted by our guide, Hien at 11am and set off on foot. Our first stop was to have Bun Cha – it was a absolutely delicious dish of soupy sauce with a pork pattie, pork belly, rice noodles, green papaya, carrot, lettuce and herbs. Yum, Yum, Yum!!!

Next stop was “Papaya Salad Street”. This street is the shortest street in Hanoi and serves up the best Green Papaya Salad I have ever had. It had subtle, delicate flavors that I could eat everyday. Unlike the Thai version it was not spicy at all. It had both roast pork and dried beef through it as well as peanuts, lettuce and coriander.

One thing noticed about Hanoi – well the Old Quarter anyway is that every street sells different products. For example, One street we walked down sold pretty much just shoes, another, kitchenware, another hardware items and another headstones – and they were engraving them there in the street.

Our next stop on the walking tour was to have Banh cuon thit. These were delectable fresh spring rolls filled with mushroom, onion and pork. They were the most tender and delicate spring rolls we have ever had. The spring roll wrappers are made on the spot over a steaming pot and are made fresh to order. They literally melt in your mouth. They are nothing like eating the fresh spring rolls we eat at home where we soak the wrappers in water.

We then walked on to the grounds of the French Church that was built here in Hanoi when the French held power. Apparently the stone was shipped over from France to build the church. While here we got to eat my favorite street snack before today which was the bao bio. The rice paper wrapped around dried sugarcane, shredded coconut and black sesame seeds.

Hien then led us through the side entrance of a busy local eatery, up some stairs to the owner’s kitchen dining area to eat as there were no seats left downstairs anywhere. We were served a hot lemon drink that was quite strong but yum. We were then served 3 different types of fried spring rolls. I can’t remember the names of them but we had them wrapped up in a lettuce leaf and then dipped into a sauce.

Our second last stop was to have dessert. We were treated to Vietnamese ice-cream, yoghurt and tropical fruits. Stu and I had fruit salad with yoghurt and condensed milk. The 3 kids had ice cream with strawberries and were even treated to extra strawberries after they had finished then ones they had.

The last stop was to the original “egg coffee” cafe where they have been making egg coffee since 1946. There was a shortage of condensed milk so they started whisking egg yolk into the coffee to add richness and creaminess. Stu absolutely loved it. I didn’t mind it but was still slightly “eggy” for my liking. While sipping our coffees, we snacked on sunflower seeds. By this stage, Frankie had crashed out and was fast asleep on my lap. Food coma, we’ll call it.

An interesting fact we learnt from Hien was that the reason all the street food eateries have tiny plastic chairs and tiny plastic tables – apart from the fact that the Vietnamese are tiny people, is that it is actually illegal for them to be operating out on the footpaths. The tiny chairs and tables can easily be scooped up and put inside quickly. There is obviously a massive blind eye given to this as they are everywhere!

After saying goodbye to Hien we headed back to Icon 36 to rest our full stomachs for a while.

We left the hotel and went for dinner at another restaurant that was recommended in the Lonely Planet book, The Green Mango. Definitely targeted at tourists this restaurant was. This was the most Western meal we have had while traveling. Dani had a tossed salad with a passion fruit dressing – it was bloody delicious! I had a Smoked eggplant salad with a lime and chilli dressing and Stu and Zav had pizzas. The food was amazing. Not exactly large serving sizes but enough.

After dinner we headed back to our hotel and packed our bags and get ready for the morning, We all enjoyed Hanoi and I must say we cannot wait to get back and spend more time here…love it!!

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