When I last visited the Motherland, I stayed in the south to bask in its warmth. It's been several years since I've been to Hanoi. Katie, a food stylist who assisted on the photos for Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, will be visiting Hanoi soon. She wrote asking about where and what to eat.
Here's were my suggestions:
Don't miss these Hanoi specialties:
- beef pho noodle soup
- bun cha rice noodles with grilled pork
- bun thang noodle soup
- banh cuon steamed rice rolls
- cha ca thanh long -- people say to go the restaurant in the old quarter, but I think it's overrated. My homemade version is better, though it's always interesting to see the dolled up version.
Cheap or moderately priced places to eat:
- In the old quarter in the evening, there's usually street food vendors who set up shop offering things like green papaya salad near where the water puppet theater is.
- Near the Hilton Opera, we breakfasted daily on great coffee, croissants and pate chauds at a bakery/cafe. Walk out of the Hilton, go right and then left and you'll see it across the street. It's charmingly French looking.
- Hoa Sua (81 Tho Nhuom) is a cooking school for disadvantaged youth that's great for lunch. It's in an old French villa.
- At night, the Metropole Hotel has live music in their charming bar.
- Bobby Chinn's eponymous restaurant is very swank, should you want to experience Cal-Med-Vietnamese fusion.
- Verticale is new this year and opened by Didier Corlou, whom the Vietnamese consider their foreign ambassador for Vietnamese food. It's suppose to be beautiful, and offer Corlou's French-Vietnamese hybrid cuisine.
Other sources to check include:
- Penn State University faculty member Rukmalie Jayakody's short list of Hanoi eateries (The person lived and conducted research there. This link leads to lots of helpful information.)
- Noodlepie's 2001 PDF document of Hanoi eats and his 2007 notes on food places in Hanoi
- Savour Asia's tips and notes on eating in Hanoi
Health and safety:
- Safe eating in Vietnam is a posting on this blog has tips on traveling and eating in Vietnam.
- Vietnamese food in the time of cholera is another posting that has links to info on the current health concerns there.
If you have a tip for Katie, add to this list!