A whole, black chicken in a can, a duckling cooked in its own egg or how about deep-fried sea worm cakes. Sounds delicious? Well, I can now with confidence say that it was!
Tu and Matt, co-writes of the blog Stickyrice, host 3- or 6 hour food tours of Hanoi. We chose the latter and Saturday we had the great pleasure of following Tu around for 6 hours as we made our way through Hanoi’s hidden back alleys in search of some of the best street food the city has to offer.
Tu picked us up at our hotel lobby at 9am and immediately asked if there was anything we were allergic too, what we liked to drink and if we were “adventurous”. We said that we were pretty much up for anything and he immediately customized the tour to our needs.
We started out with some fresh mushroom and pork-filled spring rolls which was simply one of the tastiest dishes I have ever had. Sprinkled with deep-fried scallops and dipped in a simple mix of salt, freshly squeezed kumquat juice and pieces of fresh, hellishly strong chilies the result was amazing!
I had read an article beforehand, written by a full-grown American foodie, who had had to quit before the tour ended, so as much as I wanted to finish the whole plate in 5 min I kept some restraint, for the sake of lasting all six hours (which I totally did btw!)
I don’t have the time nor the memory to write about all the dishes we tried, but here are some pictures to give you an idea of how diverse and DELICIOUS street food in Hanoi can be:
At noon we picked up American Kyle who was joining us for the second part of the tour. Kyle works in Malaysia and was vacationing in Hanoi for the weekend. He turned out to be a really cool guy and the three of us ended up spending the evening together eating and drinking at some places uptown that Tu recommended.
Tu being a resident in Hanoi for the last 10+ years knows the city like his own back pocket, and when we asked him how he found all these hidden treasures he replied with a smile: “well, it’s my job”.
And what a great job he did. Tu was funny, kind and full of good stories. Most of them about food of course, but he also seemed to know all the owners of the stalls, he told us about the culture and taught us how to cross the street without dying (“If you feel unsafe just follow an old lady, they will never run over an old lady”) Kind of a reverse-scout-move I suppose.
After the tour he mailed us a list with links to some of the places we had visited as well as some places to try out later on our tour.
As you might have sensed I strongly recommend anyone visiting Hanoi to go on one of these tours and – if you have the time and funds – definitely opt for the 6-hour tour! I could have easily kept on going for the rest of the day with more stories, more quirky, hidden coffee places and more mouth-watering street food. In 6 hours we didn’t even get to try a fraction of what Hanoi has to offer.
So cheers to you Tu! If you’re ever in Denmark, make sure to drop by for some frikadeller and a rudbrødsmad 🙂