During an over night boat trip on Ha Long Bay, I was fortunate enough to meet Sofie and Donal who, unlike me, work on a legit food blog and write cook books in Ireland. Check out the website www.donalskehan.com/ (just click on the link) — it is great. As serious foodies, Donal and Sofie had arranged a tour of Hanoi street food with a local blogger, and they were very kind to invite me to join them the night we returned to Hanoi from Ha Long Bay. During the tour, we also ran into Mark Lowerson, the author/blogger who writes “stickyrice”, one of the first and most well known food blogs.
It is hard to describe some of the things I tried and I am going to include some links (click on anything in blue to link to reviews of the food made by the same street vendors we visited) and photos. We ate so much so that I can only write about a small sampling of dishes. If you want to know more, feel free to write a comment and ask.
Che. This is a completely bizarre Vietnamese dessert made with coconut cream, tapioca, and various jellies and fruits. My western palate didn’t really warm to this combination but the Vietnamese love it.
Stir fried beef with deep fried rice noodles. The beef and veggies were very good but the noodles were a bit too greasy/rich for me.
Banh Cuon. This was my favorite street food. It is a steamed rice pancake with minced pork. So light and delicious.
Soup with tofu, crab paste, and pig ear. Enough said — I was not a huge fan.
Fish cakes. We had a few different types of fish cakes. They were ok but generally too rubbery for me.
The food tour was really fun, but we ate so many different types of food that my stomach wasn’t particularly pleased with me the next day. None of it made me sick; it was just a very crazy combination of things (there was a lot more that I didn’t write about, including more gelatinous sweets with coconut milk). I highly recommend you do this if you come to Hanoi. If you are interested, I can give you the contact information for our guide. It isn’t cheap, but it is worth doing as you would never be able to cover such a range of street food on your own in Hanoi and find clean, safe places to enjoy it.