Vietnam Trip 2015 – Hanoi

Wow, I haven’t updated my blog in a while!  I’ve decided I want to post about my recent trip to Vietnam so I can remember all the details later on.  This trip meant a lot to me as both my parents are from Vietnam and I grew up with some Vietnamese culture, however, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the motherland.  When I started to plan this trip, I thought about also visiting bordering or close-by countries such as Thailand or Hong Kong. But after doing research, I found out that Vietnam itself already has a lot to cover.

Get ready for a lot of food pictures!  (I used my old and refurbished Nikon J1 and shot on JPEG Normal, so the quality is not so great)

We traveled from North to South, so our first stop was Hanoi.  First things first, we checked off some food and coffee off our list.

Bun Cha is a Hanoi dish of grilled pork meatballs over vermicelli.  I don’t know what’s in the broth, but it was really good.  (And yep, I really did bring my own disposable chopsticks!)

Fresh pressed sugar cane juice.. without ice just in case!

So many flowers on her bike.

Unique to Hanoi- egg coffee. Egg yolk+condensed milk+coffee. The small cup is served inside a bowl containing hot water to keep the drink warm.

I really liked the iced version of the egg coffee.

With the crew at Cafe Giang! Small but cute space with lots of natural lighting and plants.

I was having camera issues this day, so this one’s from my iPhone 5. So blurry lol. Banh cuon- ground pork inside a thin rice flour wrapper with fried shallots on top. It was really good.

This was at the Temple of Literature and also from my iPhone 5. A lot of students had just graduated and came here to take photos. So cute.

Banh mi! Out of all the Vietnamese sandwich places we tried, this one was my favorite.

Something about the baguette was to die for! I got the combination: pate, BBQ pork, and ham.

This was one of the places Anthony Bourdain visited in No Reservations, Cha Ca La Vong. Fish gets cooked right in front of you with turmeric and dill. You eat it with vermicelli and fish sauce or shrimp paste (which is soo smelly but I love it). I personally didn’t enjoy the fish here because it was really chewy. And the prices are pretty high compared to other hole in wall shops. But it’s a dish unique to Hanoi and I’m glad we tried it.

Really good popcicle from Kem Trang Tien. I think this is taro flavored. Some of the other flavors included green bean and rice (lol).

Night stroll at the park next to the lake.

Fried eel noodle soup.

I already love Vietnamese yogurt but when we found this Vietnamese yogurt and COFFEE combination, Grantland and I were so happy.

At Cafe Dinh where the yogurt coffee is from. They also serve egg coffee here.

Tropical smoothie at City View Cafe. Great place for views of the lake and getting videos of motorbike traffic.

You can see women selling snacks, fruit, souvenirs, etc. everywhere on the streets. This was taken while we were having beers at Fat Cat Bar in the alley of hostel bars. It gets super fun (and packed) at night.

There were actually a ton of locals out, not just backpackers.

Even kids were out hanging out at the bar…

Fresh squeezed (green) orange juice! From the ground. In a plastic bag. My dad freaked out when I showed him this photo haha.

Fresh fruit.

Near West Lake.

We saw a lot of people eating from this street vendor across the street from our hotel and finally decided to try it on our last night. It’s spring roll wrappers that are cut up with soy sauce, a mix of dried seafood, beef jerky, herbs, and quail eggs. I’ve never heard of this and still don’t know what it’s called, but it was one of my favorite things I ate on the trip. (Even though I bit into the spiciest pepper I’ve never had and was dying for 20 minutes) Edit: I’ve been told that this is called banh trang tron!

Dry pho which reminded me of my favorite from Ha Nam Ninh in San Francisco. (Go eat there and order #25 dry!)

9 person cyclo race. Luckily I didn’t have a complaining biker Susan’s or Grantland’s haha.

Overall, I loved the old charm in Hanoi. Although it’s also a big city, it’s not modern like Saigon and I liked that we got to experience a more old-school, conservative town. Everyday we’d walk through small streets that sell different categories of goods. For example, one street only has motorbike part shops, and the next street over sells only baby clothing and supplies. There was a street with only Christmas and holiday decorations, and then there was the street with all the fake Nikes and Adidas shoes.

Next up I’ll post about our day trip out to gorgeous Trang An!