"Stepping onto the streets of Hanoi is like stepping into one gigantic, bustling kitchen - everywhere, something is being rolled, boiled, steamed or fried." Tracey Lister - Vietnamese Street Food
and right she is!
Per usual, for those of us that man the mini-kitchen at 44, it has been a busy time. Among other happenings, we found the time to pop over to Hanoi, Vietnam at the beginning of August.
I found heaven! Well, a foodies version of it anyhow. Hanoi is a foodies nirvana, a place of perfect peace and happiness. Wandering those streets and inhaling the delicious aromas, devouring everything in sight, I am fairly certain I entered a state of enlightenment...
BEST. STREET FOOD. EVER.
I have been eating my way around Asia for quite a number of years now, from the best Har Gau in Hong Kong to the freshest Chilli Crab in Singapore and just about everything in-between. However, Hanoi without a doubt has been the tastiest city to date!
We spent the five days of our trip scouring the city for all of the must have delicacies we had read about. From Nem cua bể to Chả Cá we stuffed ourselves silly.
On our first morning we embarked on a 3 hour walking food tour with Tu, who writes this blog. It was a fantastic introduction to the lively and somewhat daunting street food scene in Hanoi. Tu armed us with the knowledge and confidence to carry on touring (eating!) for the next 4 days.
It is said that life in Vietnam occurs on the streets. From washing the dishes to washing their hair, it seems as though the Vietnamese certainly conduct their daily life on the sidewalks. This is especially true when it comes to eating.
Most stalls or shopfronts specialise in one, or a maximum of two dishes, which have been perfected over years, even decades, with secret recipes handed down from generation to generation. The quick turnover and the fact that families generally shop twice a day means the food is incredibly fresh.
I thoroughly enjoyed teetering on the edge of my child sized plastic stool with motorcycles whizzing past me as I slurped noodles from bowls of piping hot pork broth laden with chili at eight in the morning. All the while being mindful not to spill any on the baby's head!
Com Bui - Vietnamese for 'dust meals', alfresco dining at its best!
If you are ever lucky enough to find yourself in this history steeped, charming and extremely tasty city then get amongst the kerb-side diners. You will not be disappointed!
If I could eat nothing else for the rest of my life I choose Bún chả!
Hanoi - we will be back!
AsidesMeanwhile, I am very excited to announce that I have started doing some free-lance writing for these guys and these guys. You can check out the piece I wrote for them on Hanoi here.
I am currently reading this book, a collection of essays from Australia's best food writers...
and this is the current state of the mini-kitchen...
... the mini-kitchen will not be so mini anymore! Renovations are finally underway at 44 with the completion date set for November.