Having survived my first outing, and with a slight feel for the place I set off once again, this time to meet Mango (real name Hoai) for a vegetarian street food tour from Hanoi Street Food Tours. I’m so glad I did this on my first day. Before we set off she gave me important instructions about crossing the road - when she says ‘sticky rice’ then I have to stick close to her. “Don’t run, don’t stop just walk slowly.” She informed, that way the 4million motorbikes and mopeds can weave round you. After putting this into practice a couple of times we reached our first food stop for Bun cha ta (pictured above). I was so pleased to have instruction on how to construct a delicious spoonful out of the multiple bowls. First, tare some fresh herbs into the bowl of sauce, add some garlic and chili. Then, after sort of chopping the rice vermicelli with the metal spoon, use chopsticks to put some on the spoon, dip it in the sauce, then top with a piece of deep fried spring roll and stuff it in your mouth! My first taste of Vietnamese food and what amazing flavours!
We chatted about Vietnam, the culinary differences of different regions and about travel before stepping back out into the chaotic streets. I had been anxious about eating veggie in Vietnam. Whilst I try to eat vegan when I can I had already read about how difficult that is here. Dairy isn’t really an issue (too hot for cows here apparently), but fish sauce is used liberally. However, my next meal of Xoi ngo was vegan friendly. Sticky rice with mung bean paste and crispy onions, eaten with pickled cucumber.
As well as bia hoi (street rice beer), happy water (extremely strong rice wine) and banh my (a toasted baguette sandwich), I tried the famous ca phe teung- coffee with sweetened egg - something I won’t rush to drink again. As I staggered with my full stomach and half drunk glass of beer to our final stop, I managed a spoonful of coconut ice cream with both crispy and fresh coconut and warm sticky rice.
What’s your favourite street food?
Contact the team via their website here Hanoi Street food tour