This is the beginning of the story of how Vietnam became my favorite country out of the 29 countries I had visited. It also is a guide for tips and trick, things to do, places to see and food to eat in 2 weeks of time.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city. Even though I am not a fan of big cities, this city has a totally different atmosphere. It is a city of alternative people. It is busy on the streets in the Old Quater, there are people performing on the streets. Many street bars and lovely shops. I do not know why and how it is possible that I could develop such a love with a big city but it happened and it happened for a reason. And I am pretty sure that the cuisine of this city and the great restaurants and the street food play a big role in this. That is also why most of my recommendations will be things to eat/drink and restaurants to go to.
I cannot advise you a good hostel as the one I stayed in was nothing I would want to recommend to people.
Things to do in Hanoi
HOAN KIEM lake
In the center of Hanoi there is this HOAN KIEM lake with a beautiful story. Legend claims in the mid-15th century Heaven sent Emperor Ly Thai To a magical sword, which he used to drive the Chinese from Vietnam. After the war a giant golden turtle grabbed the sword and disappeared into the depths of this lake to restore the sword to its divine owners, inspiring the name Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of the Restored Sword). Every morning at around 6am local residents practise traditional t’ai chi on the shore.
It is the place to party in Vietnam! Great clubs awesome bars and a lot pf fun people! It seems that laughing gas(nitrous oxide) is a big thing in Hanoi. You can get balloons with laughing gas in every club.
For your taste buds
Something you definitely need to try while visiting Hanoi is their egg coffee. Visit Giang Café, a charming place hidden in the narrow streets of Hanoi’s old city. The architectural style of the place reflects an auspicious blend of Western and Asian influences. The cafe is famous for its egg coffee, surprisingly delicious and resembling a tiramisu in taste. This is a great place to relax, enjoy some music and have a cup of coffee or, alternatively, a hot egg chocolate. It has a crazy taste definitely worth trying. In case you have diabetes however, try to avoid this coffee as it is extremely sweet.
Hanoi is the place to eat Phó. Vietnam’s signature dish appears simple: rice noodles swimming in broth, topped by a bit of meat (usually beef) and accompanied by a plate of garnishes like greens, sprouts, lime wedges and hot pepper slices. But pho, once a special-occasion meal, possesses deep and complex flavors. This dish can be eaten at any time of the day. And the good news is that Phó’s spiritual home is Hanoi. As you can imagine you can get good phó everywhere around the city so one of my recommendates places is Pho Thin and .
MUM -streetfood restaurant
My favorite restaurant to eat in Hanoi is the place called “MUM”. The owner, a young guy who serves food himself at the restaurant was extremely nice, and explained about how and why he opened this street food restaurant. The menu is not huge but I have tried some dishes there and all of them were just extremely delicious. I could have eaten all of the dishes at once.
Actually there is a hidden alley in Hanoi, I do not know how to describe how to get there but in that alley there are tiny streetfood places wit 5 seats per “place/restaurant”. That is the most authentic place to eat street food in the city.
Banh Mi 25
This place serves the best Banh Mi I have had during those 2 weeks in Vietnam. After I had a Banh Mi there in the evening, I had the urge of going back the next morning to have Banh Mi for breakfast again.
You can find this stalls in the Old quater in the busy streets of Hanoi. They prepare the icecream in front of you with the taste you want to. Watching how they prepare it is fun, but the taste is also very delicious. The mango icecream has mango chunks in there!!
Basically walking around the Old Quater and trying out many dishes will entertain you enough for a couple of days. There is so much to discover food wise in this city that you do not even want to go to see temples or musea. Just be open for this extraordinary cuisine of Vietnam.