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Saturday 14 March 2020


Hanoi Soul-Street Food With Local Guide, Ms Mun Thảo 

Hi Foodies! I'm excited to share and post my first Vietnam food blog post today - sharing Auntie Lilly's dining experience on my first 'Hanoi Street Food Walking Tour', seeking out some of the best Vietnamese food along the streets of the Old Quarter in Hanoi.

For me, the best way to get to know a place is through its food. Come and check out these top food to try and the local pride the Vietnamese have to offer. Read more and follow me on a fun foodie adventure as Auntie Lilly explore the streets in the Old Quarters!

My daughter, Carmen had earlier booked the Hanoi Street Food Walking Tour through the Airbnb - www.airbnb.com/experiences for a private group food trail walking tour in Hanoi. We had a wonderful experience with an insight into the local life and culture and with local street food with Ms Mun Thảo as our private food guide for the night!

Thumbs Up With Paul Peak, Carmen & Mun Thảo

Mun Thảo was a wonderful food tour guide - warm and welcoming, she explained well in English, shared her stories, tales and traditions from each stop and food we tasted. She was an absolute delight to talk to, communicated extremely well and truly enjoy what she does. Oh yes, we were happy to meet Paul Paek, a Korean from New Zealand and made friends with him thru our mutual love for food.

Eating Spree On Our Hanoi Street Food Tour

We get to sample a variety of Vietnamese foods on a culinary walking tour of Hanoi! Great dining experience eating like a local as we explore hidden streets, alleyways and suburbs of this diverse city with a knowledgeable guide with Mun Thảo.

Thanks to Mun Thảo, we get to enjoy the amazing cuisine of Hanoi, savouring some of the best streets dishes and saw real-life of Vietnamese people. She told us stories, not only from the food itself but the whole Vietnamese culture. 

We followed our guide off the beaten track through hidden backstreets and narrow alleys to sample enough local food for an awesome Vietnamese food-tripping experience.

We were brought around on an eating spree to sample some of the authentic Vietnamese snacks and dishes from different places ranging from roadside stalls to only local known hidden eateries. 

Road Side Stall Selling Spring Rolls 

On this epicurean adventure, we discovered a wide range of cultural influences on Vietnamese’s dynamic cuisine – enjoy the delicious crispy Deep Fried Spring Rice Rolls (Nem Ran), fragrant Sticky Green Rice (Cốm xào), classic Beef Pho Noodles Soup (Pho Bo), Steamed Rice Rolls (Banh Cuon) and ended the evening with an authentic Vietnamese home-cooked dishes eaten with rice. 

Northern Vietnam Spring Rolls (Nem rán Hà Nội)
Stroll with our guide through the streets of the Old Quarter, where you’ll find architecture and music as loud and colourful as the food! At the roadside street vendors, we tasted the Northern Vietnam Spring Rolls (Nem rán Hà Nội).

Freshly Wrapped Spring Rolls Before Being Fried  

These Vietnamese deep-fried spring rolls are a popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine and usually served as an appetizer. 

Made from seasoned minced meat, usually, pork with mushrooms, shrimp, onions, spring onions, jicama and carrot rolled up in a sheet of moist rice paper. The roll is then deep-fried until the rice paper coat turns crispy and golden brown.

One of my favourites Vietnamese street food ~ Crunchy and chewy with a bubbly surface, these Hanoi-style fried spring rolls are eaten with bun cha or wrapped in lettuce and fresh herbs.

 Cốm, the Vietnamese Green Rice
Cốm, the Vietnamese Green Rice Traditional Pastries

Our Awesome Host - Miss Mun Thao 

Next moving on, we stopped by Tiệm cô Mận - Đặc sản Cốm Vòng and Mun Thao introduces us to Cốm, the Vietnamese Green Rice - an immature rice kernel roasted over very low heat then pounded in a mortar and pestle until flattened. 

Cốm xào, Green Sticky Rice Cakes 

We tried the traditional pastry of Cốm Vòng, sticky glutinous sweet rice grains, and Cốm xào, green sticky rice cakes that night. 

Cốm Vòng, Sticky Glutinous Sweet Rice Grains

Even if you are not hungry, it is hard to turn down a plate of sweet steamed green sticky rice. This dish is made using fresh soft and very dry green rice flakes and sugar, topped with shredded coconut.

Com is often eaten by hand from the lotus leaves, chewed slowly to enjoy the flavour. It can be eaten with persimmons or bananas. Both were chewy, sticky and smell pleasant like the scent of green rice, it has some elegant, fresh and simple flavour.

Tiệm cô Mận - Đặc sản Cốm Vòng

I was told that the locals love to eat these lightly sweet and fragrant young green rice at street food stalls while enjoying the fresh air on a cool night by the streets in Hanoi. Hanoi connoisseurs will know to enjoy Com Vong with sips of green tea from Thai Nguyen.

St. Joseph Cathedral In Hanoi

Our walking food tour brought to St. Joseph Cathedral to take a short break for our tummy before moving on for more food!

Banh Cuon Ba Hanh
Happy Eats At Banh Cuon Ba Hanh With The Foodie Gang

Banh Cuon Ba Hanh

Our food trail of the Hanoi street food tour leads us to this fabulous rice rolls shop at Banh Cuon Ba Hanh ~ one of the most famous brands known in the capital city with a long tradition of making fice rolls. 

This shop is a bit hidden, in a small backstreet on the right side of St. Joseph Cathedral, cool area by the way.

A must-try for every Hanoi visitor. Bánh Cuốn is delicious Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls made from thin sheets of steamed fermented rice batter filled with a mixture of cooked seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and jicama.  

The rice rolls get a glaze of scallion oil and a sprinkle of crispy fried shallots together served with sides of fresh thinly sliced cucumbers, chopped lettuce, Vietnamese herbs, and blanched bean sprouts. All of this is served with a side of Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce (Nước Mắm Chấm).

Watch the video and see how the delicious filling is being cooked and made into Bánh Cuốn

Video shows how rice is grounded into a fine paste by adding water to the grinding machine.

It was mesmerizing to watch them do this in Vietnam. I recorded a quick video below of a local vendor serving the best Bánh Cuốn in Hanoi, Vietnam. 

Watch the video and see how the delicious filling is being cooked and made into Bánh Cuốn, the famous Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls - a must-try delicacy for every Hanoi visitor.

Traditionally, the rice batter is cooked by spreading a thin layer on top of a cloth that is stretched over a water bath. It is covered with a lid and steamed to perfection. Once cooked, it's skillfully lifted off the steamer with a wooden stick.

Bánh Cuốn With Egg
Omelette With Mushroom

If you like Vietnamese foods and tired of Phở, try Bánh Cuốn. It can be a quick snack, light meal or full-on dinner. 

Packed with tons of flavour and different textures, these delicate steamed rice cakes are served topped with the crispy fried shallots, it's guaranteed to satisfy any Vietnamese-food craving. 

A popular dish for Vietnamese breakfast, Bánh cuốn (Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls) is a rice-based delicacy that can be enjoyed hot with various accompanying food such as Vietnamese ham (chả lụa), raw vegetables and mixed dipping fish sauce.

Lemongrass Skewer

The lemongrass skewer was great: fresh and light and the portion were filling, the minced meat is well-marinated with herbs and spices. These Vietnamese pork skewers are shaped around stalks of lemongrass and cooked on a chargrill, which releases a smoky aroma that flavours the meat beautifully. 

Opening Hours 
6am - 3pm & 5pm - 10pm

Pho Hang Trong 
Entrance To Pho Hang Trong

Seeking out to look for one of the best classic Pho Bo (Beef Pho) in Hanoi lead us to Pho Hang Trong. You can never find this hidden gem unless there's local to lead you here or you may have read about this on a food blog like mine, of course with a photo of the entrance provided.

The location of this secretive shop may be pinned on the google map but you’d never find on your own unless you already knew about it. There's no sign of the shop from the streets to lead you to the location of this hidden Pho restaurant.

Look closely at these pictures, are you able to locate where this Pho shop is? Hahaha... the entrance is right in between the souvenir shop and the shop that sells coffee powder. 

Pic Credits To www.saveur.com

Follow Me Thru This Alley To Hidden Gem For Pho Bo! 
Just walk into the dark alleyway - walking all the way to the end of the walkway till you see a sign that reads: "Looking for Pho? This way → " which points up to a flight of stairs!  

Street Food Brought Indoors

Once you reach the top floor, you'll be greeted with a simple no-frills set-up dining area which looks very much like someone's home. Ubiquitous small plastic tables and low-slung chairs are placed in what appears to be a living room.

Everyone Busy Slurping Up The Pho Bo 

According to Saveur blog post, Ms Minh, owner of Pho Hang Trong has been selling Pho noodles on the street for more than 15 years. She moved her business into her home when the police gave her trouble and forced her to relocate indoors. Hence, she has converted her home into a mini dining area where she continues to serve pho from 3-8pm daily. 

Vases Decor In The House 

Pho Bo - Beef Noodles

A delightful beefy-licious bowl of Pho Bo served with thinly sliced lean tender beef with fresh Banh Pho silky noodles in flavourful beef broth, fragrant with the aroma of herbs of star anise, cinnamon and cardamom, together with a sprinkling of chopped scallions.

Vietnamese Restaurant Hanoi – Liu Riu
Hanoi Liu Riu Restaurant

Next for our last food stop, our guide took us to Hanoi Liu Riu Restaurant, one of the best choices for authentic Vietnamese cuisine located in Hanoi Old Quarter. They are also known for its exotic yet light Vietnamese food where diners get to experience the quintessence of traditional homestyle Vietnamese cuisine. Read more about them on this link: liuriuvietnamesecuisine.com

Indulge in the nostalgia ambience of the restaurant built on a Hanoi ancient house, preserved with distinctive characteristics of ancient Hanoi architecture.

Diners have the option of either an indoor or outdoor dining in the open air of the outdoor garden or within one of the well-decorated rooms.

Home-Style Dishes Eaten With Rice

Eggplant & Beef
Nộm Cà Pháo Xào Bò

The Eggplant & Beef dish or Nộm Cà Pháo Xào Bò features a savoury beef dish smothered in a mildly flavoured sauce that is sure to please any eggplant lovers.

Cooked loaded with tender and juicy beef slices with a generous portion of eggplant, onions and carrots stripes. 

Fried Pho With Mushroom
Phở Chiên Phồng St Nấm & Rau

Fried Pho With Mushroom or Phở Chiên Phồng St Nấm & Rau features a vegetarian dish with squares of noodle that have been deep-fried so they puff up into little doughnuts.

These are deep-fried rice noodles sauteed with mixed mushrooms and vegetables. It’s sort of like Vietnamese nachos but with no chips or cheese!

Chinese Tea 

We complete our dining with cups of warm Chinese tea and sample some Green Bean cakes and Sesame Peanut Candy for a sweet ending.

Green Bean Cakes & Sesame Peanut Candy

As we relax, Thao Mun went on to explained Vietnamese customs and food culture, as well as offer recommendations of where to go for sight-seeing around the Old Quarter. Our Hanoi Walking Street Food Tour ends at Liu Riu Restaurant.

Beautiful Night Shot Of Hoàn Kiếm Lake

Absolutely memorable - an intimate experience with a small group of like-minded food lovers. I earned so much about Hanoi’s culture and more about the Vietnamese culture. Not only is Miss Mun Thảo introducing food but along with its history and storytelling, she shared about herself and her family too. 

It was just wholesome, all the way around. Tonight was our first night in Hanoi in Vietnam, I couldn’t have to think of a better way to dive into the culture of this beautiful country and its charm.  I would recommend this tour to anyone!

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