Ho Hoan Kiem – Nom street
Perhaps referring to Nom bo kho (the air-dried beef Nom) in Hanoi, people would think of Nom street Ho Hoan Kiem. With the length under 300m long street, there are nearly a dozen of booths selling Nom with plastic tables and chairs on the pavement.
Nom is a combination of a variety of fresh vegetables, considered to be salad in Western countries. The main ingredients include grated pieces of turnip, cabbage or papaya or banana inflorescense and slices of cucumber with grated boiled lean pork or air-dried beef, etc. Other auxiliary ingredients are grated carrot, slices of hot chilly and broken roasted groundnuts. All are mixed thoroughly before being soaked in vinegar, sugar, garlic, hot chilly and seasoned with salt. The mixture of ingredients is put into a dish before being covered with some fines herbs. All these make the dish very colorful.
The air-dried beef Nom here also includes the familiar ingredients like grated green papaya, dried beef slices, peanuts, fines herbs, mixed with tasty sweet and sour esoteric water. With prices from 35,000 VND/dish, Nom street right in the center of Old Quarter always attract tourists regardless of winter or summer. And it is difficult to rate which booths is the best Nom restaurants in Hanoi.
Cau Go – Seafood Street
Located nearby Ho Hoan Kiem Street, Cau Go which used to be named Rue Du Pont En Bois formerly renowned for fresh tea has become famous seafood street in Hanoi. Open from 5pm tothe midnight, nearly a dozen of seafood booths are always full of guests. From “luxurious” dishes such as lobster, abalone, geoduck to the common ones such as snails, oyster, etc are always ready to serve. Most of the booths have the same sources of material but each has the secret of tasty sauce which makes its own characteristics.
To Tich – Pickled Fruit Street
There are tens of shops close together from the beginning to the end of the street. A cup of Pickled fruit includes chopped jackfruit, mango, pears, apples, watermelon, longan, pitaya, etc, adding the condensed milk and coconut milk, mixing with shaved ice, which make the dishes taste sweet cool and easy to eat . It is hard to assess what is the best booth but all the shops on this street is always bustling, especially in summer.
Ta Hien – Beer Street
Despite of 100m length, Ta Hien Street is one of the most attractive place in the Old Quarter. It attracts a large number of foreign tourists and the young Vietnamese people in the evening. Specialty of Ta Hien is beer which is widely called “bia co” (glass beer) with very affordable price of only 5,000 VND/cup. Only with plastic chairs as both tables and comfortable seats, you can melt into the crowd, enjoy the beer and gossip with friends. “Crowded, noisy” are common words to describe Ta Hien Street.
Gam Cau – grilled tripes Street
In just under a bridge, Gam Cau Street has been a familiar place for those who “addicted” to food for drinks. Despite of the name Grilled Tripes Street, Booths here also serve variety of food: mushroom, Pig’s stomach, half lean half fat pork meat which have enough spicy, salty, sweet, pretty tasty.
These booths often open at 5pm, but the “rush hour” is around 8 pm. Especially in the dark windy winter or crowded public holidays, many people gather here, which makes Gam Cau street crowded than ever.
Phung Hung – Hot pot Street
This is the first street in Hanoi specializes in hot pot, especially Phung Hung become “ideal destination” for those who are crazy on this dish as it opens to the midnight. It is hard to choose the booth of all kinds of hot pot: black chicken soup, seafood hot pot, beef hot pot, fish hot pot, Hong Kong hot pot, Sichuan hotpot… With reasonable price (just from 250.000 – 300.000 VND/pot) this street is always full of customers every night.
Ly Van Phuc – Grilled chicken feet Street
Ly Van Phuc street (small street on Nguyen Thai Hoc street) is a place which is famous for grilled chicken feet. Marinated grilled chicken feet and wings are so delicious: soft meat, not being too fat, nice color, sweet taste. When you bite one, you just want to eat more and suck the finger to feel the fragrance and crisp again. Although grilled chicken feet and wings are sold in the whole Ly Van Phuc street but the last booth named Viet Ha is said as the best one.
Hoe Nhai – Steak Street
There were only two restaurant of steak originally in Hoe Nhai Street but this become steak street with the most steak restaurants in Hanoi. If you come here for the first time, you can be dazzled by plenty of booths and restaurants close by and do not know which one to choose obviously. In fact, a steak serving in every restaurants is basically the same: beefsteak, pate, omelet, onion, tomato, etc. Although the quality is not excellent, most restaurants here are crowded every evening because of popular price.
Ngu Xa – Pho cuon (Vietnamese Rolling Pho) Street
Pho cuon is a speciality of Hanoi. It consists of a slightly cooked rice paper shell of the same thickness as a Pho noodle. Inside this soft shell is a selection of herbs – mainly cilantro, mustard leaf, and lettuce – and thinly sliced beef that has been cooked with garlic and pepper. It is served cold with a bowl of fish sauce, garlic, carrots, radish, papaya, boiled water, chili and some sugar for dipping. Tourist can can also learn to make this dish quite easily at home.
When talking about “pho cuon”, Hanoians mention Ngu Xa – a small street near Truc Bach lake in Ba Dinh District and the birthplace of this particular dish. There are two restaurants which are believed to have better taste in Ngu Xa. They are Quan Trang 24 Ngu Xa and Thanh Hang 29B Ngu Xa. However, each restaurant have their own distinctive flavour which is really a challenging to find the most suitable one.
(From $ 5.00 a night)