Mar 10 2011
So called ‘BBQ chicken street’, on Ly Van Phuc just off Nguyen Thai Hoc, is hard to miss in the evening, as the plumes of smoke drift into the night sky and the smell of barbecueing drifts along the street.
Very distinct from the “BBQ Chicken” fast food joints that are rapidly springing up all over Hanoi, BBQ chicken street serves freshly barbecued chicken to patrons sitting on plastic stools in an environment that would certainly not pass health and safety standards anywhere else.
But if you can get past that it’s a great place to go with a friend or two to get a little taste of home — the BBQ – and a little taste of away — everything else.
I’ve only been to the place at the far end of the street: it’s the last one and runs across both sides of the street. The first time I went there it was recommended to me, it was good and so I’ve stuck with it.
So the system is something like this: find a table, sit down, make your presence known, mime ‘thigh’ (tap your leg), wings (a flapping motion will do) or feet (again, obvious) and indicate how many you want. We usually go for the thigh and one portion is one, flattened thigh. We get through a couple each. It looks like wings are two per portion and a foot is a foot. They will usually cut up the joints using large scissors but if they don’t, just try miming again.
Then there are the sides: the bread is awesome. It’s the standard banh my baguettes that you see all around town but they are flattened, coated in honey and toasted. Wow. The honey roasted sweet potatoes are also worth a go. Get one of each per person to start with and order more if you want it. The same goes for the chicken: replenishments come quickly.
Try any of the above with the chilli sauce. I’m not a chilli sauce fan, but I understand it’s amazing. You’ll also get a plate of lightly pickled cucumber as a side.
Finally, drinks. They serve Hanoi beer and soft drinks but for some reason on the occasions we’ve ordered anything other than beer, it’s failed to arrive. Maybe they just can’t believe that the funny Western people drink anything other than beer.
Price-wise I really have no idea. It’s cost me between 100,000 and 200,000 dong each time I’ve been, but I couldn’t tell you how they work it out or how they even keep track of what you’re eating. If you just ordered one piece of chicken, some bread and an iced tea then of course, you could eat there pretty cheaply.
Finally, a hint on getting there: Nguyen Thai Hoc is a one way street so if you’re coming from the east on motorised transport you’ll have to do a loop round the back, along Tran Phu and Son Tay probably, and double back. Ly Van Phuc is on the right shortly after Kim Ma bus station.
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