The minute I booked my flights to Hanoi last November, the thing I was most excited about was the food. I found myself reading blogs and researching foodie trails, and before I knew it, I had a list in hand of the 5 hottest Hanoi eats. I couldn't wait to explore the iconic culinary delights this city had to offer.
Rice Pancakes at Banh Cuon Gia Truyen
During my time in Hanoi, I learned a lot about traditional Vietnamese rice pancakes. A little place called Banh Cuon Gia Truyen does the best, hands down. After a lot of wandering, we finally found it – and I couldn’t wait to tuck in. The place was deceptively dilapidated at first glance, but I soon found myself forgetting everything around me as the plate of translucent rice crepes (mine were stuffed with fragrant shrimp) came towards me. The delicate flavours of the crepes were balanced so well with the fragrant crunch of fresh herbs and fried onion on top. It was so simple, yet seriously delicious.
Egg Coffee at Cafe Giang
Vietnamese coffee is possibly the thing that I was most looking forward to – and the ultimate one-stop coffee shop for me was the very popular Cafe Giang, and their famous Egg Coffee. The cafe itself has a hippie chic, laid-back vibe – the perfect surroundings for a relaxing egg coffee. I found myself a corner and waited for my cup to arrive. As weird as that might sound, the coffee is delicious. It tastes like an espresso dessert and looks beautiful. If I’d had company, I would’ve coaxed my companions into order the egg hot chocolate or the rum egg coffee so I could taste those too.
Pho at The Little Hanoi
There was no way I was going to visit Vietnam without going on a hunt for the best Pho in town. I came across an adorable and quaint restaurant in the Hoan Khiem area called ‘The Little Hanoi’ and the food was mouth-watering. We tried the crab fried spring rolls there and, of course, I got myself a large bowl of pho. The crunchy spring rolls were stuffed with crab meat, seafood and pork. I had Pho throughout my Vietnam trip, but this bowl at the Little Hanoi was my favourite by far.
Bun Cha at Bun Cha Huong Lien
I, like countless others, visited Bun Cha Huong Lien only because a certain Mr Obama and Mr Bourdian made it famous. But my love for their food is why I’d happily recommend this place to anyone. As the same suggests, the local food joint is known for a Vietnamese dish called Bun Cha, that is served with vermicelli noodles, pork and broth. I can attest that the hype is totally worth it – the food was epic. Bun Cha quickly became my favourite Vietnamese dish of all time.
More Egg Coffee at Café Pho Co
In the 12 days that I had spent in Vietnam, I think I had at least 2 cups of coffee a day. It’s safe to say I’d fallen head over heels for Vietnamese coffee. The day I was leaving Hanoi I wanted another cup of Egg Coffee, only this time thought I’ll try a new place, Cafe Pho Co. The cafe was super hidden – it took me two circles around the block to spot the sign that had the name of the café written on it with a tiny arrow; it felt like I was entering Narnia. The vintage charm paired with the rich smell of coffee was intoxicating. Sit on the terrace, sip on your drink and try to spot the lake between buildings.
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