(Whilst taking this photograph I was almost smashed over the head with a glass by the angry owner of the shop;, buy the ice cream but do not mess with her!)
There is also 'Fanny's' ice cream2 shop with free wifi which my sister calls "free whiffy".
My top 5 food stops which you should make are:
- 'Little Hanoi'3 - There are actually two of the same restaurant on the same street but all the food tastes delicious and I highly recommend the aubergine dishes.
- 'Phô 24'4 - Phô 24 is phô for the upper class, but since it's so cheap everyone can afford it. Most of the things are delicious so be experimental however I always avoid anything involving chicken feet!
(taken by me - she's looking a little shocked isn't she!)
- 'Pappa Roti'5 - here you can buy a kind of cake/bread which tastes like coffee and butter, it is indescribable yet mouth watering I wouldn't say that it is especially Vietnamese food but definitely worth a visit.
(taken by me)
- 'Rainbow café'6 - this is situated somewhere in the old quarter but if you go upstairs often there is a breeze and you can watch people walk beneath. Also there is a DVD shop really close where I always stock up on the latest movies.
- Roadside stalls - Lemon juice, Bun Bo Nam Bo and people-watching, what could be more sublime? Pick any roadside stall (if there are Vietnamese people eating there it's bound to be fine) and drag up a plastic stool; guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your trip.
The first time I went to a local restaurant we decided to have the hotpot, a bubbling cauldron of stock in which we added cabbage, and what seemed like a chicken recently scraped off the road. Me and my sister identified a lot of the organs of that chicken therefore I feel it was actually a very educational experience, plus this is the story I recount most often to people back home.
Make sure you know how to use chopsticks!
Gà - chicken
bò is beef.
cơm / gạo is rice
Kem is ice cream
Bun bo nam bo - A bed of green leaves with noodles, strips of barbecued meat, coriander, chilli ,lime and peanuts.
Chè - tea
bia - beer- obviously I don't drink any at all but just in case you need it!
I would recommend speaking English since trying out your newly acquired Vietnamese skills may mean that you end up with jellyfish (Sứa) instead of milk (Sữa).
These are the only food related words I frequently use so hopefully they will help anyone either visiting or moving here.
Restaurant locations -
- No. 35 Tràng Tiền Street - this is the original shop therefore it is extremely busy all the time however there are some other shops in other districts of Hanoi.
- 48 Le Thai To St., Hoan Kiem Dist., HANOI
- 21 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
- Since this is a chain it is hard to only name one restaurant but there is one in Vincom towers and one in the middle of town - to find one closest to you they have a search tool on their website:
- 34 Hang Gai, Hoàn Kiếm - this is the most central however like phô 24 it is a chain so there are many spread throughout the city,
- Rainbow café - Hang Hanh street near Hoan Kiem lake.