Vietnam – Hanoi, Old Quarters

17/04/16

We left ha long bay at 8am and took a bus for 4 hours back to Hanoi. We dropped off our bags at the hotel which was in the old quarters and near the lake and headed straight out for a quick orientation and lunch. Sarou walked us around the old quarters, and picked up some doughnuts and water coconut off the street sellers for us to try.

We were then walked to a pho spot on ly quoc Su st, we had to wait a while but it was totally worth it! Was so delicious, although I wish I hadn’t chosen brisket as it was really fatty. The waitress also didn’t give us as dough sticks which everyone else seemed to get and we had to ask for some. These were delicious as they soaked up the soup. It was quite a good price at 60,000D.

After lunch we were taken further through the old quarter to a cafe that specialises in egg coffee on Nguyen hee st called Chien. None of us knew what it would be and the entrance was a small hallway so I think we were all sceptical. Inside all we could see was a dingy room and a kitchen but once we were upstairs it felt much more cosy and there were a lot of tables and tiny stalls. As I don’t drink coffee or have chocolate I risked it and ordered an egg with green bean drink. The drink came in a bowl of hot water, and was so frothy. There was some sweet biscuit added and omg it was too delicious! I really wish I could get a recipe but it’s apparently a family secret. For only 30,000D for the green bean I could not recommend it enough.

After the drinks I took a walk around the old quarters just taking in all the old buildings and marvelling at how small some of them are. The best view is definitely when you look up, as it’s only shops on the ground floor. There’s a few streets which specialise in one thing so there’s a shoe street, trimmings street, cafe street etc. It was really nice to walk around.

I then made a lap of the lake, it was a pleasant walk and as it was a Sunday there were plenty of locals about that we could watch. Maxi and I were approached by some students who asked to practise their English, which was sweet although the conversation was limited.

By the time I had finished walking around it was time to get ready and head out for dinner! We were taken to a local restaurant that serves bun cha, this is a Hanoi speciality dish and consists of pork bacon, pork burger, soup, herbs and rice noodles. It was so good, one of the best dishes I tried in Vietnam! There are cafes all over that sell this dish, just look out for the grill on the street.

In the evening I visited the night market as it is only open on the weekends. It was huge and sold practically the same thing through out. It was really busy and popular with both tourists and locals. It was a good opportunity to buy some souvenirs and good way to practise bartering! I only bought a magnet and a fruit salad, but you could buy tshirts, clothes, caps, jewellery and so much more.

Afterwards I was pretty knackered and headed back to the hotel.

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