08 Jul Dive into a street food paradise
After a day walking around Hanoi, of exploring back streets and bustling main roads, viewing majestic buildings and finding interesting places away from the tourist route, lunch time in Hanoi can be the highlight of the day. The city is not only a foodies paradise, it moves at such a pace that an old and vibrant street food culture can be found everywhere you look.
At every turn you will find food stalls, especially in The Old Quarter or on the main streets, but walk a bit off of the main thoroughfares and the side streets and small alleyways reveal a wealth of secret vendors, food bars and even a night market.
If you are familiar with Vietnamese food then you will probably already be aware of Pho, a flavoured noodle soup which is a staple of the country’s cuisine. But even this simple dish has many variations. Try Pho Ga, which flavours the soup with chicken or Pho Bo, one of my personal favourites, which adds thinly sliced beef to the noodles. And then there’s Pho Xao, which is stir-fried noodles usually served with vegetables
At face value the heart of Hanoi appears to be a network of narrow streets beating with a chaotic rhythm of traffic, tourists, street vendors and businesses all concentrated into a small area. However, if you start peeling off the layers and explore the hidden spaces behind the impenetrable facade of the shop-houses, there is a parallel world merely meters away, teeming with life where local residents live in tiny dwellings and crammed neighbourhoods.
At the centre of a city that has stood for a millennium, Hanoi’s centre is packed with history and culture, myths and stories that can be felt in its narrow alleyways and local communities. It is an ancient and diverse city so do not expect to find one particular flavour to dominate this exotic city. The real charm of the place lies in the one one culture and style blends into another, how east meets west, ancient meets modern, grandeur meets simplicity.
It may seem a lot to take in but that is why The Hanoi Craft Beer Company are on hand to make sense of it all and to help you taste and understand what lies at the heart of this amazing city.