Hanoi Street Food Tour with Urban Adventures
You can’t go down a single street in Vietnam without passing by at least seven different food stalls and three cafes. Street food is what the Vietnamese people live off of due to its convenience and inexpensive price. To really get a feel for the culture in Hanoi, Vietnam, I hopped on a street food tour with Urban Adventures.
The tour started at one of the big outdoor markets in Hanoi. Here we got to see buckets filled to the brim with fresh fruits, vegetables and spices and other stands selling extremely fresh (I’m talking still moving) fish and meat. Our tour guide explained that most locals will stop by these markets on their way home from work to pick up food for dinner as opposed to going to an indoor supermarket.
As a group, we navigated in and out of the busy streets to arrive at our first stop. One of the most famous dishes to come out of Vietnam is Banh Mi. In Vietnamese, “Bahn” translates to “baked goods” and “mi” translates to “wheat.” Bahn Mi is a sandwich on a baguette that can be made with many different ingredients. The traditional Hanoi Banh Mi (and what we tried) is filled with pate, pork, cucumbers, carrots and special sauce all in a Hanoi baguette.
Just a few steps away was our second stop where we got to see women cooking and we got to try traditional Vietnamese rice pancakes. These used to just be a breakfast food, but they have become popular for lunch and dinner in recent years. The rice pancake is made from the same rice paper that spring rolls are made from, but they are rolled with pork and mushroom stir fry inside. Topped with crunchy onions and a fish sauce on the side for dipping, these made a delicious little bite.
As we walked to our third location, our guide taught us about difference customs in Hanoi including the crazy motorcycle traffic, the Lunar New Year celebrations (we were there just a day after the holiday ended), and café culture.
Our third stop was for Bun Cha or rice noodle soup. Many people know about the common noodle soup dish, Pho, while Bun Cha is more of a local’s favorite. Bun Cha is made up of rice noodles that you dip in a broth filled with pork meatballs, crunchy papaya and greens. Since I don’t eat meat, I had mine with a fish broth dipping sauce and fried tofu which was crunchy and delicious!
After filling up on our first three dishes, it was time for dessert! The most common dessert in Vietnam is fresh fruit. To put a little twist on it, we went to a spot where they serve fresh fruit with condensed milk poured over the top. Our fruit bowl included mango, papaya, watermelon, jackfruit, and boba jelly bubbles. It was perfectly sweet and almost tasted like a fruity dulce de leche with the milk on top!
Our final stop was for Vietnam’s famous coffee drink - egg coffee. Egg coffee is black coffee topped with a whipped mixture of egg yolk and condensed milk. While it may sound a little strange, it turned out to be thick and creamy with a toasted marshmallowy taste! The cafe also had a nice view of the lake and the city’s nightlife.
Overall the tour was very informative and it gave me the opportunity to try some very local dishes I probably wouldn’t have ordered on my own!
This post was written by guest contributor, Sivan Weitz.
This Babe Eats was invited to to do this tour in exchange for an honest review and opinion.