What’s good in Hà Nội? I mean the food! I’m from Sài Gòn and I got some friends who didn’t like the northern taste at all, but I do like it. I love food in Hà Nội. I do enjoy my food experience there! I’m back to Hà Nội after 4 years. My last visit was early 2015, during our Lunar New Year. This time I’m coming back only for few days as we have a gathering with our old classmates, for the first time after more than 3 decades, when we studied in Russia! Ok, back to our eating experience in Hà Nội, it’s always a pleasure to me, to taste again my favorite foods in Hà Nội! What I like the most in Hà Nội?
Beef noodles (Phở)
Vietnamese beef noodles or Phở are so popular, whether in the South or in the North, but being a Saigon-born, I do prefer Hanoi beef noodles. Very tasty. You may have a chance to try already our beef noodles somewhere else in the world, but trust me the beef noddles in Hà Nội is the best! Actually there we also have different choices – different places but I do have some favorites in my mind and the below is one of them. Located on the quiet street Âu Triệu, along the side with the old church. What makes phở here so popular? To me, the soup is very tasty, the beef is good!
Roll rice cake (Bánh cuốn)
I love this cake, we have many in Sài Gòn, good ones, but whenever back to Hà Nội, I’d like to eat it again. It reminds of my childhood when being a little kid, standing next to the vendor, a lady from the North, I did enjoy seeing how she made the roll cake, how she rolled it with the fillings. The smell, the image of that old lady in her white traditional shirt still in my mind…
Sticky rice cake (Bánh dày)
I don’t think many foreign tourists tried this cake, it’s not visible in shop as it’s always wrapped in banana leaf, but if some friend offer you to taste, please try! I love this cake since I was a little boy. This’s purely from the North and much better than in South!
This sticky rice cake always served with different kinds of “chả” (pork ham), if in Sài Gòn they just offer the cake with one big slice of pork ham, here in Hà Nội they offer a big cut. I like it because this cake can’t go without pork ham. The cake itself made of sticky rice, the good-quality rice makes a good cake and the sticky rice in the North is famous!
Sandwich or baguette (Bánh mỳ)
Talking about bánh mỳ, Sài Gòn is much better, many choices, many popular brands than in Hà Nội. But I select one particularly here due to the fillings. There is one store in the old quarter, famous for the cold cuts and especially the paste made of duck liver.
The cold cuts of different pork ham are ok, but what I don’t like the most from this store is the service, the girl behind the counter with some make-up could be representing the typical poor service in Hà Nội. She should be a daughter of the owner.
If compared with the best “bánh mỳ” in Sài Gòn, the bread filled with some cold cuts and paste of duck liver is quite expensive, 50 or 60k Vietnamese đồng, and it’s exactly same price for a good bowl of “phở” in Hà Nội!
To be continued…