To be perfectly honest, half of the reason I am in Vietnam is to have the opportunity to eat my way through the country. Like most foreign food I am introduced to in the US, I was only familiar with the most popular dishes like pho noodle soup and fresh spring rolls. Once I got here, I realized there is an infinite number of delectable treats, all waiting to be discovered by me!
Food carts dot the streets selling soups, rice dishes, bbq, things on skewers, fried donuts with stuff in them, juices, jiggly coconut cream desserts, things in bubbling tanks. Ladies in conical hats parade the sidewalks balancing flat baskets of tropical fruit and vegetables. Then there are shops selling dried fruits, nuts, snacks made of toasted sesame seeds, seaweed something or other, weird cookies, spicy, crunchy curly-Qs. Next there’s tea shops and coffee shops. More noodles. Fish, beef, pork, well, at least it looks like pork. Restaurants steaming with hot pots and sizzling pans. It goes on… and on… When it comes to edibles, Vietnam ranks amongst the best cuisine in the world. This may also explain why there are so many cooking classes and food tours available.
A Korean girl I met traveling told me about Hanoi Food Tours and insisted that I sign up. So, the next day I found the office, paid my 400vd ($20) and waited for our group of eight to set out on the streets with our super friendly guide, Mango. This was a highlight of my stay in Hanoi. We went to at least ten different street food stalls, restaurants and carts. Having yummy bites in each place.
This is where I’ll let the food do the talking. Here are some photos of tasty treats sampled that evening….