is life a recipe

Hanoi, Vietnam


Brian Kennett

Brian Kennett

Amateur Chef and Foodie Extraordinaire


Hanoi, Vietnam


I have been to Vietnam a few times already, but this time we went with my best mate from UK Paul Coleman (PC) and his son Ryan and me of course with my clan. What a lovely time we had. Paul was a tad uncertain at the start, him being Vietnam virgin and all, but towards the end of the trip he was a natural. I wanted to give a wee wander through some of the eateries we frequented to give you some ideas of where and what to eat if you happen to stumble in to Hanoi, Vietnam.

You are going to love it if you come here – truly one of the most exciting cities and countries I have visited, it’s edgy, it’s cultured, it’s fast pace, it’s food heaven, it’s historic, it’s just bloody gorgeous all up – love you Hanoi, Vietnam. Our day would go like this, breakfast meeting with PC/Ryan and the Kennett’s to discuss what we would do for the day.

Our usual day was;

  • Go to the old quarter of Hanoi for a walk about and explore;
  • With a view to hit a restaurant for lunch;
  • Then head back to the hotel for an afternoon nap for Amy with Mary;
  • The boys would then jump in the pool; and
  • Paul and I would be Googling and having a beer to find our next dinner location.

Some of our wanderings we had look like this.

Hanoi, Vietnam
You walk along the streets and then literally stumble in to food being made on the street. You sit at these almost Hobbit like stool, in between the hundreds of parked up scooters waiting to be fed. A quick griddle of something or other and you’re off again to join the chaos of the roads.

Hanoi, Vietnam
And as you walk, what do you see – a butcher, come street store, thing come – well I am not quite sure. I just love this place. Every step you take you experience this type of thing. You cannot help but stop, and stare in wonder and hopefully try a bit of course!

Hanoi, Vietnam
The Chinese bridge across the central lake, leading to a little island on which there is a temple. Yes I have filtered a little the colouring on this, but still how gorgeous is this…

Wherever you go you can't help but people watch. Here from a balcony bar supping a cold beer on a very hot day. Bikes full of different produce go whizzing past against the traffic of the scooters and cars. This could deb a photo from the 1920's - time has stood still.
Wherever you go you can’t help but people watch in this city. Here is my view from a balcony bar, whilst supping a cold beer on one very hot day. Bikes full of different products go whizzing past against the traffic of the ever moving, and beeping scooters and cars. This could be a photo from the early 1900 hundreds, almost as if time has stood still. Apart from the 7-Up bottle in the back basket of course.

Hanoi, Vietnam
WTF – yep Cobra juice. A healthy drink to bring you well-being and vitality – nah f*ck that mate, I’ll have three pints of Hanoi Beer please…

Walking the streets in Vietnam is an experience, cooking is happening everywhere, things being sold, fruits, fish, meats, little burners the size of a flask cooking various delicacies, noodle soups, deep fried tofu, grilling chicken, beef and all sorts. The smells of the streets are full of these cooking odours, wafting through the air. So as you weave through people, avoiding the stock being delivered, dodging motorcycles and cars like a well trained matador you get little oasis’ of food literally at your feet. I so love Hanoi, Vietnam.

Where did we stay this trip? We stayed at the rather luxurious The Hotel Metropole, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Wow – how beautiful is this place, and believe me it was even better inside. Just an amazing experience the time we were there. It truly did feel like Christmas back home, trees and decorations adorning every ceiling and wall, and a nice chill in the air to boot

Here’s a tip I learnt in the hotel during breakfast one morning. A tip that I really want to share with you, and did actually on IsLifeARecipe. Now normally how would you do this – egg cracking on cup edges, kitchen tops, using a knife, using a spoon, side of a saucepan etc. is that your usual style – well how about trying the Hanoi, Vietnam method? This amazed me no end.

So I’m in the breakfast queue at the hotel for some sunny side up eggs for Amy, and the lady serving was cracking eggs for the cook who eventually cooked them. What was she using, knife, kitchen top, cup edge? Nope, she was using another egg. Yep another egg. Try it it really works, give one a firm tap against the other and one will crack open, just one. Its incredible. She was cracking an egg every 2-3 seconds, no mess, no shell, incredible.

Hanoi, Vietnam
This hotel is seriously nice, but we didn’t really eat here at all apart from breakfast. We just wanted to be out exploring the city and its eateries. But what a hotel this is. Cold air, the twinkling lights and trees made it feel very Christmas in Asia. A first time for me in ages.

Pho 24 Restaurant, Hanoi, Vietnam

My all time favourite dish, Pho Bo. And now to be eating in its home country is exceptional.

Hanoi, Vietnam
It doesn’t get much better than this folks. By the main road, by the lake, in city centre Vietnam, Hanoi, chaos continues outside, whilst you sit with a Hanoi Beer & slurp your Pho Bo – oh yes indeed I am in heaven!!!

Hanoi, Vietnam
Here is the view from Pho 24 restaurant window – the Hanoi, Vietnam city lake with the Turtle Temple front and centre. Not bad whilst slurping an amazingPho Bo soup with a nice cold Hanoi beer.

We ate this virtually every day, as they even served it at breakfast in the hotel. Of course part of our food adventuring was to wander the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam in search of Pho Bo, the delectable Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Pho 24 is lakeside in Hanoi, so you get pretty nice views if you get the window seat. In fact about 9 years ago I attended a financial service conference in Hanoi, Vietnam and went to this very same restaurant and sat at the very same seats.

Hanoi, Vietnam
We all want it more and more, including the girls

Hanoi, Vietnam
As do the boys – YUMMY (wow Jude was even a thought at this time, bless)

Pho 24 was empty when we entered, full when we left, and mixed with locals and tourists, always a great sign for quality expectation. This restaurant is cheap and so fulfilling. Pho Bo is the beef version, or have Pho Ga if you prefer chicken (as Amy does). We ended up visiting Pho 24 two times, once on our first day in Hanoi, Vietnam and then again when Paul and Ryan arrived. Yep it’s addictive is the Pho @ Pho 24.

Now you have my Pho Bo recipe already for this amazing dish, but when in Vietnam you try the local stuff as you get some specific ingredients I have never found elsewhere. Such as Culantro, or ngo gai, which is of the coriander family and comes as an addition at Pho 24.

The first Pho 24 restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam opened in 1920. The dish itself is said to actually originate in Northern Vietnam, apparently to the South West of Hanoi. It was designed to meet the taste requirement for local Vietnamese and French, and was originally sold in large boxes by street vendors until the restaurant opened in 1920. Some debates exist re the naming of the dish though with one suggestion linking it to the French dish “pot-au-feu” or ” dish of fire”, where the French also add in charred onions to flavour and colour the broth, which is something that distinguishes Pho from other Asian noodle soups. After the war with US, the Vietnamese had many fleeing immigrants, so Pho became a Global dish. In fact we used to eat it at least 3 times a week when we lived in Melbourne, where there is a huge Asian population and restaurant presence along Victoria Street.

Cha Ca La Vong, Cha Ca Street

We went very local one day for lunch. In fact this is a very local and very famous local dish in one street of Hanoi, Vietnam. So much so that they have now renamed the Street to Cha Ca Street after the dish. Here we found this beautiful 2 storey, old old restaurant called Cha Ca la Vong. This was just a wonderful place.

Interesting is that I read some blogs and the like about this place and everyone slated it, stating it is run down, it has rude staff, exorbitant prices for the food, small portions etc. Have to say not my view of the world about this place at all, I thought the staff were great, the food was delicious, we all had fun cooking it on the table, yes it was a little pricey in comparison to other lunches we gad, and yes it is old but boy it has character like the rest of Hanoi, Vietnam. We were asked to sit upstairs, we stole a reserved seat at the window, where Amy was gazing out at the streets.

Hanoi, Vietnam
oooooh soooooo cute

My little Amy street watching as we await the food. I could, like her it seems, sit for hour after hour watching this. Organised chaos outside, supping a chilled beer, and eating amazing food inside. I feel like I belong here, I feel like it is home.

Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant_Hanoi_Vietnam
Here comes our guy, sort of a Vietnamese Michael Jackson thing going on here. Only he’s missing the one white glove – My mate Coleman snapping away behind him, making sure he misses nothing it seems.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Still down to the staff at this point to be doing the cooking at the table side for us. We sit and wait patiently…

Hanoi, Vietnam
Now it’s our turn – adding in the fennel to wilt it down. A few little stirs is all it needs to get that flavour in there.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Coleman has clearly picked up some new skills whilst away from Margate – nicely done PC, good work mate.

Hanoi, Vietnam
And here she is finished. The noodles lightly blanched, place some Spring onion, some crunchy peanuts, some of the fish and then some of the dipping sauce. BOOM!!! Of course accompanied by a Hanoi Beer!!!

We joked and laughed with the staff and other diners, as we had no idea how to prepare the food – so you’ll see one of the team came to help show the first time. The food was delicious; buttery, fennelly, peanuty with a little chili spice heat too – just gorgeous. We all wolfed it down, including me who is not a fishy person as you know. The fish they use here is catfish.

This place is like 80-100 years old, run down a little yes, but that’s the charm of the place and also the attraction to go in and explore, like the rest of Hanoi, Vietnam. Also because it is old it therefore means it is successful and sustainable. Lot’s of locals don’t mind going there for the food and/or décor I suggest us Westerners just shut up and get on with it, and stop being self opinionated ponces -this place was amazing, reasonable priced, great culture and charm, nice people both eating and serving and truly wonderful flavours. Price, as a moan, well if you thinking 150,000 Vietnamese Dong is expensive I suggest you get a higher paid job or get some pocket money from your Dad, or sell something to pay for it – the price is reasonable believe me. Of course you pay over the top for what is a tourist stop – but a restaurant that had a whole street renamed after its food, I’ll give that a go for sure.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Quaint looking indeed, the worldly famous Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant in Hanoi – just love it, what a place – being shown off by the Kennett and Coleman clans

The food writer Alastair Hendy, who lives in London, has a recipe for this classic fish dish in his new book – Food & Travels: Asia. So I have stolen that and added some things I think are missing from what we enjoyed that day in Hanoi. The way to do this is if you can, is to finish it off at the table along with its classic accompaniment of cooked vermicelli noodles, crushed toasted peanuts, and nouc cham, a Vietnamese condiment made of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, rice vinegar, chillies and garlic.

You will need:

  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed;
  • 3-4″ of galangal, peeled and finely chopped;
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric;
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce;
  • 1 chili padi finely chopped;
  • 1-2 teaspoon caster sugar;
  • 500g firm white fish – catfish, monkfish, or snapper cut in to 2cm rough chunks;
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper;
  • A knob of butter;
  • 1 tablespoon of Olive oil;
  • 1/2 cup of Dill, roughly chopped;
  • 4-5 Spring onions cut in to 5 cm lengths;
  • A handful of roughly chopped coriander;
  • Vermicelli rice noodles to serve how many people you have; and
  • Crushed salty peanuts.

Mix the galangal, garlic, turmeric, fish sauce, chili and sugar together and marinade the fish overnight in that mixture. Just place it in a bowl and cover with silver foil.

Heat the vegetable oil and butter in a non-stick pan and sauté the fish for 3-4 minutes to give it a nice colour. Then at the table-side scatter the dill and spring onion on the fish until it wilts. Then serve the fish and greens atop the noodles with some of the crushed nuts sprinkled on top, and that little condiment in a side serving dish.

That is that! Simple but bloody delicious you’ll find! And the cooking at the table side just adds for a little bit of fun too.

Seasons of Hanoi, 95b Quan Thanh Street – +84 4 3734 1466

I stole a recipe for a squid salad once from a book by Mai Pham, who originally stole it herself from this very restaurant. So whilst in town let’s go to the origination of that dish. Our night at Seasons of Hanoi Restaurant.

Hanoi, Vietnam
A beautiful place I had only read of before. It just looks welcoming doesn’t it, the little twinkly lights, the small demure nature of the building – and believe me inside was the same and the food – well, shiok. My guys are standing just there at the entrance you’ll see.

A beautiful un-assuming place, dressed up for Christmas tonight of course. North of the city centre near the West Lake of Hanoi is the location, so this became our first taxi ride in Hanoi, Vietnam as it is quite a walk. Boy did we pig out here at this restaurant as it was just such good quality food

Every dish is always accompanied by salt, white pepper, chopped chili and lime juice – mix to paste and there you have your condiments all in one. Stunning- here is what we pigged out on;

  • Beef in 5 spice;
  • Coconut rice;
  • 5 spice pork belly;
  • Steamed tuna; and the following
Hanoi, Vietnam
Beef in 5 spice – looking good already is it not…

Hanoi, Vietnam
I think you can make out some dishes that we have not yet devoured. Prawns in pineapple to the left foreground, chicken with lime leaves to the top right, sautéed sweet potato buds with garlic to the top left and butter fried & grilled prawns to the bottom right. See also the little saucers of the pepper/lime mix that comes with every dish.

Hanoi, Vietnam
A bit of a better picture now of the amazing butter fried & grilled prawns to the bottom right.

And a last minute entry of soft shell crab deep fried in batter and served with tamarind sauce. Sorry we guzzled this one really quickly so I only have a photo of the after effects as it were. All of course washed down with pints of Ha Noi Bai (the local beverage in Bourdain speak), and a nice bottle of Michel Picard, French Bourgogne Pinot Noir. Heaven.

Quan An Ngon, 18 Phan Boi Chau – +84 4 3942 8162

Hanoi, Vietnam
This place we LOVED – 10 minute walk from he hotel was this food mecca – Double Wow on the Wow-ometer

I googled this place, having seen it in the local newspaper, as it suggested it was a decent joint to visit. We walked there as it was only about 10-15 minutes away. No idea what to expect as we were totally blind to this place, only having some mentions in blogs and some write ups on the web. But now having visited there, you simply have to try this place if you go to Hanoi, Vietnam. It was a complete mix of locals and tourists dining this night – always a good sign. Also it was packed as you’ll see below, and we had to wait for about 10 minutes for a table, but well worth the wait, and again another good sign of what was about to come.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Heaving, simply heaving – and for good reason, this place is indeed a food mecca, lots of individual restaurants acting as one

It’s like a series of hawkers around the outside of the courtyard, but with waited service. A huge menu, of over 20 pages to choose from. We decided to just order a bunch of different dishes and stick them in the middle for all to consume. A lovely cool evening, sat in the courtyard outdoors, and very Christmasy due to Xmas trees, twinkly lights and the like.

Hanoi, Vietnam
My attempt at writing our food order in Vietnamese. Here is our, slightly over-indulgent, order receipt.

Yes that is indeed my handwriting. I wrote the order in Vietnamese for the girl serving us to make it easier for the ordering. Translated this becomes;

  • Sweetcorn & Crab Soup – order for the girls;
  • Deep Fried Glutinous Rice Balls stuffed with Mung Bean – wow, like eating a donut with savoury bean paste, deep fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds, delicious;
  • Ollie’s favourite Vietnamese food, the beef noodle soup of Vietnam – a Pho Bo;
  • Steamed clams with lemon grass – oh my gosh these were simply delicious, very subtle flavours but just so tasty – check the picture below, now that’s pretty, and yes I have stolen this concept & made my own version;
I have since tried to make my own version of this - check the blog for the yam basket with lemon grass cockles
I have since tried to make my own version of this – check for the yam basket with lemon grass cockles

DSC05868 e1408926289422 Hanoi, Vietnam
blog days so photo and presentation not so ‘hot’, but flavour and taste was…” width=”720″ height=”540″ /> My version of the above – recipe is via the link above. OK OK I know this was early blog days so photo and presentation not so ‘hot’, but flavour and taste was…
  • Chicken congee for Amy. Basically a rice porridge with shredded chicken & she loves this stuff. You can get this all day long across most of South East Asia from breakfast to dinner;
  • Fried chicken wings with garlic for Ryan. Most meals he would order one dish that he specifically liked to make sure he was covered from eating perspective. But I must say I was well impressed with him, he ate pretty much all that was put on the table including frog, raw chilis etc.;
  • Vermicelli with minced and roast pork. This was great as it came with a little bowl of soup that you added to the noodles to finish off the dish, so very tasty;
  • Steamed rice;
  • A great dish ordered by Mary, was the grilled mackerel with chili and salt. This was a very pretty dish as you can see below. Simply grilled on the BBQ and served with the usual condiment that you mix up yourself – salt/white pepper/chopped chili/lime juice, the perfect accompaniment for quite an oily fish;
Mary's salty dish. Very pretty looking thing.
Mary’s salty dish. Very pretty looking thing.
  • Deep fried frogs legs – for Amy, yes for Amy. She just loves frog which is quite amazing really. Perhaps she has never seen The Muppets. But I asked her do you want frog, and yes yes yes was response. These were deep fried in batter and were delicate and delicious. Even Ryan had one and enjoyed it, “it’s like chicken”, was his response;
  • Finally (I know how many dishes, ha ha!) we had the Vietnamese pancake dish as a last minute entry, Banh Xeo. Basically it is like a crepe texture, stuffed with bean sprouts, belly pork, prawn etc. The server then cut it in to individual pieces, and you take one of these, add some of the Vietnamese herbs & greens in with. Then roll her up and dip in it goes to the dipping sauce. These were great, the Vietnamese herb added a lemony taste, just so so tasty delicious.

Garden Vuon Hanoi, 36 Hang Manh – +84 4 3824 3402

Again a fairly short walk to this one from the hotel. As usual a spin around the lake and in to the old quarter.We did the usual and ordered way too much food as you’ll see from the shot of the table below. Bear in mind though we’d already eaten 2-3 dishes and had the dishes cleared in the photo, yep we ate a lot this night!

A fantastic group shot, as you’ll see we’re sat outside again in a beautiful courtyard setting. Very nice al fresco experience. Notice a few brown bottles on the table, that sneaky Ha Noi Bai gets in there everywhere, naughty little things they are those local beverages!

Hanoi, Vietnam
Al fresco dining, I love it – almost as much as eating on a beach with sand beneath your toes

Friends, eating, drinking, and chatting. Enjoying ourselves, the food, the company, the place and of course the city. Amy had her crab with sweetcorn soup, yet again. Bottom left and clearly a whole heap of other stuff.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Amy’s crab and sweetcorn soup to the bottom left bless her, but then look around at that spread – and already 2-3 dishes had been consumed and dishes cleared – wow!

Halong Bay Boat Dinner

Hanoi, Vietnam
As you put-put-put along on your barge, all your views are like this. This a must do if ever you come to Hanoi. Stunning, simply stunning…

Hanoi, Vietnam
This is where we moored up for the evening to have dinner and cocktails on the deck. Come on, how many times have you done this? An amazing experience for us all. These are the other boats out there doing the same thing as us. Ours was just two bedrooms – one for Coleman’s and one for Kennett’s. Our private boat for our little cruise.

I have put more on the actual trip itself on the family blog, but here is the food experience of our Halong Bay boat cruise. Basically we were bobbing around in Halong Bay aboard our private charter, for 3 days and 2 nights, visiting sites such as caves, pearl farms, fishing villages etc. and eating, eating a lot.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Cocktails anyone? Oh yes please I’ll take them on the Poop Deck – Ooer Missus!!! The ‘only’ downside was that it was so flipping cold…

What amazes me re the picture below, is that the kitchen is so so small, a typical galley style, a little smaller than ours at home in the condo. The picture below shows the chef after he has cooked and served us 7, yes SEVEN dishes for dinner that night on board. This man is amazing!

Hanoi, Vietnam
This man is a genius – here he is slicing pork belly very thinly. Why? For bacon for our breakfast the next day. Seriously! How he banged out the food he did from this ‘closet’ is beyond me. Truly wonderful! He is basically carving off slices of pork belly that is cured already, and in the morning this was our bacon for breakfast, fried until crispy. OMG, it was beautiful. Not smoked or salted it seemed, but bacon flavourful and just bacolicious!

We, of course, washed all the food down with our friend Ha Noi Bia, and a bottle of local Vietnamese plonk (bit sweet for me). What did we eat for this fine feast on board:

  • Soup – a basic stock of beef and add in chopped beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, some egg white and chopped coriander – that’s it, simple but very tasty;
  • Prawns – simply salted and pan fried. Still warm when served and with a little of the pepper/lime/salt/chili dip made these just sublime. Ollie ended up polishing off 3 of these on his own;
Hanoi, Vietnam
Salted and fried jumbo prawns – oh my goodness, and just look at the presentation. Again back to that tiny kitchen and him banging out 7 dishes like this…
  • Tofu – breaded and deep fried. We had this with some soy sauce for dipping, or again the salt/white pepper/chilli chopped/lime juice to mix to a paste as a condiment;
  • Beef with Vietnamese Herb. Damn this was good. Almost like butter, the meat melted in your mouth;
  • Steamed Fish with Lemon Grass. Picture paints a thousand words right, but what it can’t do is share the smell of this dish. Fresh, fragrant lemon, not a hint of anything fishy. Simply take a firm white flesh fish, gut and de-scale, score the skin on either side and lay in foil. On top sprinkle some crushed stalks of lemon grass, some carrot and tomato and basically just steam until the fish is cooked through. Again simple but man was it effective;
Hanoi, Vietnam
Here is the masterful fish dish – just stunning. Again bear in mind this guy is pumping these dishes out from a shoe cupboard
  • Mussels – These were local fresh water mussels, so the shell is a little lighter in colour than we’re used to in the UK. I have to assume you could use any mussel for this dish. Pre cook the mussels in hot water until they open. Then stuff with Spring onion/garlic/lemon grass, that you have stir fried to release the fragrance. Then wrap individually in foil and steam or barbecue. These are just delicious, and yes I did recreate these back in Singapore, even putting them in to the cook book I wrote to raise money for Tabitha Foundation, Cambodia.
Halong Bay Cruises_Vietnam
Little secret parcels that threw out a beautiful aroma when unwrapped. The lemon grass steam wafting in to the air. Not fishy at all and a little smaller than I am used to because they are fresh water – even yours truly had a go

Hanoi, Vietnam
My page view of my recipe version of this dish. This appeared in the Tabitha Charity fund raise cook book I wrote. The recipe above is in the photo above. As you can see I could not get the fresh water mussels to went the normal sea mussel – same effect, just a tad fishier.
  • Another fish dish was Yellow Tail Catfish (Basa), breaded and deep fried;
  • Squid next. Basically a stir fry with onion and celery and squid of course. Here is a tip that I learnt from the cook and from watching other chefs in restaurants at the Halong Harbour. If your squid usually a tad chewy when you cook it, then bash the crap out of it in a pestle and mortar first, then cook it. It then takes on a butter-like consistency, its just wonderful. I seriously recommend this technique for any time you cook with squid, sotong, octopus etc. as it makes a massive difference. No more chewy;
Hanoi, Vietnam
Squid rings with celery sir fry – bashed up style – probably the most tender squid ever eaten by all of us on the boat
  • Vietnamese cabbage, stir fried with garlic, butter and black pepper. Probably best cabbage I have ever had; &
  • He even had time to create this water melon carved candle – yes it’s a candle. Inside was a tea light, pretty amazing don’t you think?
Holy crap. I struggle to slice and de-seed watermelon - let alone something like this. OMG
Holy crap. I struggle to slice and de-seed watermelon – let alone something like this. OMG

One Bad One dining experience though, Legends, just North of the Hoan Kiem Lake, 2nd Floor on main junction

I suppose you can’t have it all. But we had a bad one eating experience for lunch this day. We had been searching for an allusive Pho Bo joint in the old quarter, but the address given was a travel shop. So hot and dusty we stopped for a couple of beers before heading lakeside to see what we could find. As we’re nearing the lake Amy announces urgent “wee wee” need, so we make change of tact and basically jump in to the nearest place.

We ended up on 2nd floor of the building below, at a place called Legends. A micro brewery claiming to do authentic Vietnamese food. We all order Pho’s. Ollie, Mary, PC and I decided to have the Pho Bo. Ryan and Amy decided to have the Pho Ga. What came out was just nasty. No accompanying condiments or the usual additions. No beansprouts, limes, chilis, coriander, basil etc. It was tasteless and pretty disgusting to be honest. I had to ask for some chili, limes, fish sauce etc to give some taste to the dish – it sort of worked. We even took to scraping the garlic and oyster sauce left overs from the vegetable dish we ordered (which was delicious by the way) in to the soups to try to lift them a little.

The only saving grace of the disastrous food was the view. Likely one of those typical scenarios where tourists will come for the view, and won’t know good or bad Pho if it hit them. Boy was that not the case with us lot turning up, Legends we really did expect better than the crap you are serving up. But the view was fun, I’ll give them that.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Legends, yep it was, but sadly not Legends for the right reason. I don’t think we’ll be back to this place ever, unless of course Amy needs another emergency pee, or we just have a beer to watch the view

Amy enjoyed her noodles though. Yes my love, you look beautiful!

Hanoi, Vietnam
Slurp slurp Amy Boo – seems like maybe you were the only one to enjoy lunch this day.

Nam Phuong, 19 Phan Chu Trinh – +84 4 3824 0926

The last supper. Very sad to say! And sadder still is that I clearly was not on top of my game this night, as I took no pictures of the food itself, apart from this pretty amazing one below. All that fruit carving was done just to poke some deep fried rice paper rolls on to it. Amazing isn’t it.

Hanoi, Vietnam
What a display. Knocked up again by some extremely skilled person in the kitchen. Being used to display our deep fried rice paper rolls. WOW!!!

Paul also paid for the entire meal. Bless you mate. So I didn’t get receipt to even share what we had line by line, and fuzzy memory is not allowing me to recall it all. But yet again it was a lovely meal, with our lovely friends, the last we’d see of them on this trip. So sad, but a happy, sad too! It’s worth a look here as I do indeed remember the lovely people, lovely dishes and that it was truly just a lovely place. A place visited by dignitaries such as Jacques Chirac etc.

Finishing our trip of now with some fond memories.

Hanoi, Vietnam
The beautiful Turtle Temple all lit up for the night time. It’s literally like a circuit of a race track around the lake, with the scooters going round and round. But that still does not detract from the absolute beauty within this incredible city.

Vietnam, Hanoi
Wherever you look there are scooters intermingled with street vendors. In this case selling extremely fresh and ripe fruit. Maybe pomelos? I am taking these photos from a lovely 2nd floor bar, where we just sat having a beer, watching the people go about their daily tasks.

Hanoi, Vietnam
What cup size do you require Madam? Ooer!!! Amazing the variety the street vendors have. Look at this lot from cups, to teapots, to urns. Quite incredible to watch this all happening beneath the balcony.

So there we have it the Vietnam Foodie Blog – Hanoi edition. My review of Hanoi, Vietnam. It truly is quite amazing what you can cram into a few days in such a wonderful city. I hope you do get a chance to go visit yourself one day, and if you do – ENJOY!!!

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