Hanoi

If I thought that Hong Kong was an assault to one’s senses then Hanoi is a vigorous onslaught.  We got to our hotel in the late afternoon and began our exploration immediately with Tu from Hanoi Street Food.   We usually do our own thing but we were with friends and opted for some supervision from someone other than me.  We had an incredible experience and I’d go out with Tu again and again.

We walked over to our first stop, his favorite coffee shop to have an egg coffee.  I would not have found this place in a million years.  On the way over we walked through the old city where the main streets are closed off for the weekend so people can freely roam with friends and family.  So many young kids having a blast.  Our coffee shop was through an alley, up two flights of stairs and voila.  Not sure why the egg coffee has not found itself to NYC.   I could see myself having one of these treats every afternoon….and for the serious pickup, just add a little chocolate on top.

Our next stop was this shop.

They make only one thing….green mango salad with an option of meat, chicken or fish jerky on top.  Spicy, full of flavor and excellent.  Could I tell you the name of place?  Nope.  We were moving quickly.  Although the cars and electric scooters on the street never stop, no lights or stop signs, there is a cadence to getting across the street.  You just go, slowly with a purpose, and all the vehicles seem to slow down with you.  First try, is a bit scary but after that you just fall into the rhythm.

The scooters carry full families and sometimes dogs.

This double green doorway is two homes.  One on the right and one on the left.  Gives you an idea of why most people hang on the street and set up their dining room table on the street too.  Also, when these homes were built, people were taxed on the width of their house.  Now they are charged on full square footage.

We had our food made from this woman and her wok outside her shop but we ate it across the street.

Excellent vermicelli noodles mixed with crushed peanuts, vinegar, cilantro and fresh eel on top.

This I have never seen before.  Fresh sugarcane being squished into juice.

Sweet and honestly refreshing.

Here they are making rice pancakes and filling them with mushrooms.

Loved them.

Then down an obscure alleyway into this small square shop with a few chairs.  Upstairs people eat in her bedroom when the place is overflowing at lunch.

We had a chicken salad with a tart vinegar although the chicken here was a bit tough, the cabbage was good.

Our last stop of the night was Ne.  The owner won for best cocktail bartender in all of Vietnam.

We were all hot, sweaty and slightly acclimated to Hanoi before making our way back to bed.