In February, I had the pleasure of hosting my parents for a visit here in Hanoi. They spent 9 days with us and powered through the tough jet-lag even while playing with our energetic kids all day. Our little family has gotten used to the food and drinks here in Hanoi, but it is still considered pretty adventurous food. That’s why I decided to take my parents on a food tour.
We took an Uber to 74 Hang Bac Street, checked in at Kim Tours and met our tour guide “Moon” and our tour mates before heading off down the street. Our first stop was for bún chả. This is a dish that was invented here in Northern Vietnam. It consists of small rice noodles called bun, grilled pork patties in a sugar and vinegar sauce and mixed greens. The dish is really tasty and filling; great for lunch.
Next we walked to a small street side stand with a lot of food options. We ate dried beef salad which is something I hadn’t eaten before. I think this was my favorite dish of the day. It had the sweetness of some papaya and fresh vegetables combined with the salty dried beef. This was my mom’s favorite!
After the salad we went to a bánh cuốn restaurant. Bánh cuốn is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes and I was happy to discover a new place to get it. Bánh cuốn is a fresh thin rice pancake filled with mushrooms and pork, topped with crispy fried shallots. Yum!
Our next stop was back by St. Joseph’s Cathedral near a very old banyan tree. This restaurant specialized in all things fried. We had some fried spring rolls, fried pillows, fried donuts and friend dumplings. It was a bit too much fried food for me, but the Hanoi beer we had with it washed the food down nicely. Our snack was observed by a strange half naked portrait above the piano.
Our fried food adventure was followed by a bowl of beef glass noodle at Apron Up, a restaurant and teaching kitchen. I had never had this dish before and it was very good. The fried shallots and beef was offset by the mild steamed morning glory and peanuts.
To add something sweet to our day, we stopped at a little hole in the wall dessert place. And by hole in the wall I mean we walked into a dark doorway and I wasn’t sure what was on the other side. By we trusted our friendly guide Moon and continued on until we found a delicious treat; green baby sticky rice with coconut ice cream. It was well worth the uncertainty.
We finished the day off with half a banh mi, some rice wine and an egg coffee at a place called Hanoi Street Food Restaurant. It wasn’t the best banh mi or egg coffee I’ve had in Hanoi, but it was a nice end to the tour. My parents really enjoyed the food tour and I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering it!