Great home baking plus Italian coffee. Also baguettes, cakes, juices, pies and pasties. Plus they do soup which is brilliant in Hanoi's cold winter.
1. A Vietnamese place opposite Cafe 69 on Ma May. Staff wear pink shirts and it's full of locals. Really great food and very cheap. Spanish people we met in Halong Bay had been there too, and they loved it as well.
2. I couldn't find Baguette and Chocolat. I think it may be closed and replaced by a clothes retail outlet. But Golden Land (No. 15 Cha Ca) was a good afternoon coffee stop on the same street.
3. Apsara in Danang (recommended in LP) was very disappointing! It's expensive and food was average at best.
4. However, Cafe 43 on Van Cam in HoiAn (also in LP) was the best food we had in Vietnam. Absolutely excellent. Can't rave enough about it - we even took photos of the food and went there for dinner and lunch, despite only being in Hoian for two days.
1. In Hue, Mr. Pho from Pho's Cafe, one of the little shops and cafe's opposite the train station exit was a God-send. He sorted out taxis and tours for us despite the heavy rain. He speaks good English and was reasonable in his price. (USD$25 for a private car to take us to Hue's main tombs and pagodas - Tu Duc, Thien Mu, the Purple Citadel...etc) for an entire afternoon.
2. HoiAn - If you are planning on visiting My Son, stop off at the Cham Museum in Danang first. Many of the best sculptures and statues from My Son are now kept here, and visiting both will give you a much better understanding of the Cham culture.
3. Go to My Son early (leave before 7am). You'll need an hour to get there and 2 hours to soak up everything, and the tour buses arrive at 9.30am. It's worth the effort! (USD$16-$20 return by private car).
travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-6916783-vietnam_restaurants-i - restaurant reviews
www.vietnamtravelguide.com/ - food and drink guide
www.vietnam-hotels.net/ - restaurant list
KOTO helps disadvantaged young people in Vietnam by teaching them cookery and beverage skills and English.
The food is delicious and safe and they serve both European and Vietnamese traditional dishes.
There is also bar on the 2nd floor. The restaurant is near the Temple of Literature.
The staff is all KOTO trainees with good skills and a friendly manner. I am sure you will feel pleased with them, and happy as you are indirectly helping street children brighten their lives.
I loved this place, we actually ended up going back a second night. It's really fun, with a good mix of Vietnamese and western people. They serve food that is very different, i.e. you can get local food and if you are crazy you can get scorpion etc. They also have great home made rice wine. Their catfish spring rolls are to die for. It is owned by an English guy who we met on our second night. Lovely place, very relaxed but also different.
It's on Hang Be Street which is on the east of the Old Quarter in Hanoi. Sorry I don't know the exact address.
For great, traditional and some unusual Vietnamese food, try Highway 4. The actual Highway 4 crosses the mountains and hill tribes (and ethnic minorities) of northern Vietnam, and this defines the cuisine (and the great fruit, herbal or medicinal flavored rice wine) of Highway 4 in Hanoi as well. All this can be had at reasonable prices, in a pleasant environment that evokes the highlands.
Recommended dishes: Nem Cá, or famous Highway 4 spring rolls with fried catfish and wasabi soy dipping sauce. But tell them to go light on the mayo inside the rolls.
Grilled chicken with lemon leaves (Gà Nương Lá Chanh) and the Bò Xào Dưa Chua (beef sautéed with local pickled mustard greens—translated as sauerkraut but it’s quite different).
A unique and wonderfully textured green that’s only available seasonally is Hoa Thien Lý Xào (sautéed Thien Ly vegetable/flower).
For seafood, try the soft shell crab roasted with Tamarind or Salt (Cua Dong Rang Me/Muoi) and Ca Kho To (fish simmered in clay pot). Also good: Green mango (Xoài Xanh) marinated with salt and chili; and for the pork lover—Thịt Kho Tộ (pork carmelized in clay pot with coconut—tourist places tend to use lean sliced pork, while more traditional places like Hwy 4 will use pork belly). Try the sampler set of their Son Tinh liquor.
5 Hang Tre, just east of the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake. For more restaurant recommendations (and travel itineraries and other great tips) go to www.savourasia.com - they really throw themselves into eating in Asia, and especially Hanoi!
We joined a tour with Hanoi Street Foods which was a great introduction to the local grub and took us places we wouldn't have dared go ourselves.
When we got more confident we sampled the local 'bia hois' where a glass of beer is available for less than 10p!
Also recommended is Highway4 restaurant where we were either ultra-confident or drunk on their rice wine and tucked into local scorpions, bugs, ostrich and crocodile!
I love Vietnamese food but after three months on the road in south east Asia, this place was a dream come true!
The most delicious ice cream, and the biggest variety of flavours I've ever had!
There is one near the lake in Hanoi, and also one in Ho Chi Minh City.
Need a break from restaurants? Simply stroll around, look for a street vendor selling a noodle dish or two, pull up a child-size plastic chair and enjoy a quick meal with the locals, cheaply.
Find by accident when hungry
Most towns have their own varieties of noodles, entrees and beer. We spent a marvellous month sampling the local food and some great brews.
One food seller noticed our apprehension of the local dish and after her comments we couldn't refuse trying them: "Don't try, don't know".
All areas (not just Hanoi)
Pho (rice noodle soup, pronounced “phur”) is a traditional meal in northern Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi, dating back thousands of years.
Pho looks like a simple dish, but it actually takes a lot of skill and experience to prepare properly. A good bowl of pho calls for sweet and pure bouillon, soft rice noodles that are soaked in boiling water for just the right duration, and of course, tender and fragrant meat (chicken or beef).
Pho Bo is noodles with sliced beef while Pho Ga is noodles with shredded chicken.
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