I was beyond excited for my trip to Vietnam…. mostly because I spent about a month before dreaming about eating a big bowl of delicious pho! Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I expected.😑 But, it’s in part, my fault. I remember a long time ago, seeing an article on pho in the North and pho in the South being very different. I completely forgot about that until I ate the first bowl of pho in Hanoi and became really sad. In fact, I almost cried in my noodles. I sat there in the restaurant, just staring at the bowl… I dreamt about this for one whole month and the pho was ok. JUST OK.😭
If you’ve eaten pho back in the states, chances are you had the Southern style pho. Pho from the Saigon area as opposed to what I had, Hanoi, Northern region.
The main differences… Northern style pho’s broth is a lot clearer but it was very bland to me AND they do not give you a big plate of herbs and bean sprouts. NOR, do they have hoisin or sriracha on the tables. They only give you a small plate of limes. That’s it. In the South, they offer the plate of herbs and bean sprouts and OF COURSE hoisin sauce!
Again, my fault. I should’ve remembered that there was a huge difference between the two regions. Okay, enough crying about the pho… moving on.😒
My trip to Vietnam, (food wise), wasn’t a total failure. My first stop was the famous Bun Cha place where Obama and Anthony Bourdain had dinner at. If you don’t know what Bun Cha is… (which I actually didn’t know either before this) it is a dish that originated from Hanoi that consists of grilled pork, white rice noodles and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce. It was actually really good! If I had more time in Hanoi, I would have definitely gone back for more. The place is called Bun Cha Huong Lien and it was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s: Parts Unknown. It was really easy to find as well. I walked from my hotel which was around the Old Quarter and it took me about 20 minutes to get there.
Outside of the restaurant.
Picture of Obama and Anthony Bourdain from the show.
The second thing on my list was banh mi! I ate these often back at home. Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that consists of a baguette and different meats and usually pate. It is really good! I had high hopes again… and this time it didn’t disappoint. The bread was soft and chewy but still crunchy. The perfect baguette outside of France.😛 The fillings were good. I got the pork and pate banh mi. I found this place on TripAdvisor that had a ton of good reviews… located in the Old Quarter. Easy to find. – Banh Mi 25
The last thing on my list of things to try in Vietnam… Egg coffee! Yes, you read that right. Egg Coffee. I know, it sounds weird. Egg + coffee? That can’t be good. But OH, it is. The taste is in between tiramisu and maybe a thick custard with coffee. I really don’t know how to explain the taste… I just know, if you like coffee… you HAVE to try this. (Cafe Giang- Old Quarter)
Even though, my hopes for the best pho was a major fail, Hanoi’s food scene was pretty good. If you love Vietnamese food, you’ll enjoy Hanoi!