Aug 25 2011

Street food tours in Hanoi

Published by at 10:25 pm under Food,Sightseeing & activities


As well as being a tasty and cheap dining option, eating street food provides a great opportunity for people watching and an insight into local life. If you want to take this one step further, it’s worth considering a street food tour: not only will it take you to eateries and markets you might otherwise shy away from, but the commentary is interesting and you will gain a view of local life in Hanoi that standard tours tend not to provide.

Delicious Bun Cha and Nem -- everyone's favourites

Delicious bun cha and nem — everyone’s favourites.

I spoke with two operators in Hanoi who provide street food tours. An, one of the founders of Hidden Hanoi, says that “most travellers have a limited amount of time, and a great way to make the most of their time is to go on walking tours to learn about different food, culture, people and language. After all, it is one thing to sightsee but to sightsee and learn is a different experience all together.”

Hidden Hanoi runs street food tours at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their length — around two hours — makes them ideal for slotting in if you’re short on time. Or if you’re not, do all three! The tours start at an eatery and include a market visit and further food and drink stops. They’re walking tours so as well as the specific stops you get a chance to observe local life and with small group sizes (minimum two) you’ll have plenty of opportunity to ask questions. I went on the lunchtime tour and can thoroughly recommend it. Visit www.hiddenhanoi.com.vn for more information and booking.

Market visits form an interesting part of a street food tour

Where the wok?

If you’re looking for a longer tour it’s worth contacting Daniel Hoyer. Daniel is a well-known chef in Hanoi: he wrote Culinary Vietnam – as well as other cookbooks — and presides over the kitchen at Provecho on Hang Be. He runs half day and longer food-based tours in Hanoi and across the country.

“A range of people come on the tours, from real foodies to those who are just on it as part of their package holiday,” Daniel says. “I can show them one side of Hanoi from my perspective, using food as an insight to Vietnam. We go to places you wouldn’t go on your own and places the Vietnamese guides won’t take you.”

Ignore the stained tables, it's the food that counts

Ignore the stained tables, it’s the food that counts.

Tour itineraries are reasonably flexible, particularly if you book a private tour. The average group size is four but he also runs larger group tours. “It’s a bit difficult getting 20 people into one street food place though,” he says. Transport during the tours is by foot, van and motorbike — depending upon the tour and your preferences but Daniel highly recommends the motorbike tour around Hanoi. Bookings can be made directly with Daniel at True Colour Tour or via agents such as Exotissimo.

Hidden Hanoi
147 Nghi Tam Road, Hanoi
T: (091) 225 4045
info@hiddenhanoi.com.vn
www.hiddenhanoi.com.vn/

Daniel Hoyer (True Colour Tour)
18 Hang Be, Hanoi (inside Provecho)
T: (01689) 451 062
daniel@welleatenpath.com
www.eatingvietnam.com

 

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Street food tours in Hanoi”

  1. Viv Weston 10 Dec 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Yesterday (9/12/2011) I did a street food tour with Tu of streetfoodtourshanoi.blogspot.com and it was really fabulous! Just me and Tu on his motorbike, which he recommended because I am not a meat-eater and he could take me further afield to try various wonderful fish dishes. He was so good at checking if there was any meat product in anything before we settled – I was impressed with his attention to detail. Tu was also a slow and careful driver (suited my nerves well!), and deeply knowledgeable about good food and good eateries – we did two markets, as well, and he guided me on what to buy to make a vegetarian pho. Look at his site to get an idea of the food I tried. There were only 2 things that won’t become firm favourites with me – the Vietnamese tea (even iced and sweetened, although palatable, still has a certain bitterness that doesn’t ‘take’ me) and the fermented shrimp paste: I gave it a go, but again, I don’t know that I will go for it. Everything else was delicious and I can’t wait to sample them all again, especially the two fish soups and the ginger sticky rice dessert. Tu gave me the names and addresses so I can go back! Tu is also fun to be with – lighthearted and passionate about food. My sister arrives from Adelaide in 2 weeks and is booked in with him already!

  2. DKon 10 Jan 2012 at 5:57 am

    Hi Viv West

    Thanks for your post – do you have contact details for Tu? I would really appreciate if you can let me know. We are in Hanoi in May and this is exactly the kind of thing we’re looking for.

    Thanks!

  3. Deirdreon 17 Apr 2012 at 11:11 pm

    My 12-year-old granddaughter and I did a tour yesterday with Tu and it was terrific. Not only did we eat really good food, see parts of Hanoi that are not usually seen by tourists, but Tu is very entertaining and tells interesting stories and gives a mountain of information. I think I’ll be much more likely to try different street stalls now.

  4. Kezzaon 21 Apr 2012 at 4:24 am

    Hi Deirdre and Viv, I hope you don’t mind me asking but how much did you pay for your street food tours with Tu? I will be in Hanoi next weekend.

    Thanks so much!

  5. Manya Singhon 01 Feb 2013 at 7:48 am

    Street food of Hanoi has its unique identification in itself. Everyone must try this during their trip to Hanoi. Here are few best street foods which you must try atleast once when in Hanoi:

    Pho Ga – Vietnamese rice noodle soup with chicken
    Pho Bo – Beef noodle soup
    Pho Xao Bo – Rice noodles fried with beef and vegetables
    Xa Lach Tron Dao Dam – Vietnamese beef and lettuce salad
    Nom Chim Quay – Pigeon and papaya salad
    Nom Bo Kho – Beef and papaya salad
    and
    Goi Cuon – Vietnamese fresh summer rolls

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