I’m not kidding. I can’t think of any travel memory, at home or abroad, where I ate as much food as I did last week on the Hanoi Street Food Tour. I’ve been to fancy restaurants in my lifetime, where we’ve been treated to 5-courses, and I also ate my way around Thailand last month eating everything from Dumplings to Grasshoppers but nothing will beat a Hanoi food tour!
Which street Hanoi Street Food Tour to pick?
There are lots of choices in Hanoi so I did some research and saw that Laura and Tanbay, from The Travelling Weasels travel blog, had made a fun video of their Hanoi Street Food Tour so I decided to book the same one as them.
First off, our guide Miss Moon was the cutest Vietnamese lady i have ever met. I realise you may think ‘cutest’ is not the appropriate word for a married Vietnamese woman working us a professional guide but it really is the best word based on how she conducted her tour, the adorable anecdotes she told us about Vietnamese life and her method for keeping us together in a group. I actually filmed my entire tour using snapchat and almost all the feedback referred to her as cute and adorable, with some people saying they would only do a tour in Hanoi “if Miss Moon is my guide”.
To start us off, Miss Moon told us we needed to ‘stick together like sticky rice’ so not to get run over by the crazy Hanoi traffic. Each time we would cross a road she would look over her shoulder, smile sweetly and say firmly ‘sticky rice, sticky rice’.
Stop 1 – Bun Cha – BBQ Pork Noodles
Our first stop of our whirlwind food tour of Hanoi’s old quarter was at Bun Cha Ta, known to be the best place in Hanoi to eat Bun Cha. A popular lunch meal, Bun Cha consists of BBQ pork and wheat noodles mixed together in a bowl with some mint and basil. It is simply delectable. It was my first time trying this dish and after my first bite, I was hooked.
Stop 2 – Nộm Thịt Bò Kho – Dried Beef Salad
Our second stop was at a tiny restaurant at the sid elf the street that had the tiniest chairs places around the tiniest tables. Our group couldn’t help but laugh when we tried to sit down, we sort of felt like giants sitting around a children’s play set. Small seats aside, the food was, yet again, delicious. We shared a dried beef salad beef papaya salad which helped me understand that Vietnamese salads are a million times juicer than our western salads and are also insanely filling. It consisted of shredded Papaya, carrots, lemon juice, peanuts, marinated beef jerky and more mint and basil as well as a delicious dressing. Yum!
Miss Moon also told us how we all had nice “big bums” (perfect timing…half way through a food tour!!) and how she wished she had a big bum like ours. Apparently Vietnamese people crave big bums so much that the shops here actually sell padded underwear!
Stop 3 – Banh Cuon / Steamed Pancake Rolls
This was one of my favourite stops on the tour. We got to watch the women steaming the pancakes on a bed of silk and then filling them with whatever delicious meat and veggies you request. We then pushed through a sort of secret doorway to find a rather large local restaurant I never would have known existed. these pancakes were so light and delicious, the type of food you could easily eat every day.
Again Miss Moon taught us how to eat them ‘Vietnamese style’ which included scooping a piece of pancake, some sauce and some mint leaves (apparently they give you small belly and big boobs…or so say Miss Moon!!) onto a spoon and scoop it all into your mouth at once.
Stop 4 – Keo Cho – Sugar Cane Snacks
This was just a quick snack en route to stop number 5. Miss Moon spotted a man she knew who sells sugar cane snacks from his bicycle all over the city. We were very lucky that he happened to be in this spot at this time, she said. As the man is a mute, communicating can be difficult but she ordered us 4 sugar cane snacks and they were beyond delicious.
Stop 5 – Banh khoai / Hue Fried Pancake
I didn’t taste these as they contain seafood which I try to stay far, far away from the other people on our tour said they were delicious if not a little heave considering our stomachs were already fit to burst. I think too much fried food late on in the tour was difficult to digest but nevertheless a delicious meal to try when in Hanoi.
Stop 6 – Chè Thưng – Combo Fruits Dessert
One of our last stops in the tour was a much needed break from heavy fried foods, soups and meats of all kinds to taste some very light and refreshing Vietnamese dessert. This was one of my favourite dishes on our Hanoi street food tour. We were given a small bowl of tropical fruits and then we were told to scoop in crushed ice into the mixture, added in some ice-cream and Hey Presto…one of the most refreshing desserts I’ve ever tasted…especially on a hot and sticky Vietnamese summer day.
Stop 7 – Banh Mi and Egg Coffee
Our final stop on the food tour was a small little cafe that serves Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguettes with a variety of filling that usually includes beef and some salads) and some delicious Vietnamese Egg Coffee. I’m actually not a coffee drinker but for the sake of trying new things, and because Vietnam is famous for its coffee, I decided to try and cup and must say it was actually pretty tasty. Sort of refined me of a latte…just a little bit more eggy! I have no photo of the Banh Mi sadly…was too busy eating it!
Looking to read more delicious food posts? Check out this great post about eating Pho in Vietnam. After all, what would a trip to Vietnam be without bowls and bowls of Pho?!
Have you ever done a food tour?
Any recommendations for food tours in other countries?
Leave a comment!