Hanoi-Style Beef Pho
Inside: Not much — and that’s the way we like it. Beef, broth, scallions, and fresh noodles.
Verdict: We love the simplicity of Hanoi-style pho, which doesn’t include the bean sprouts and herb plate that usually accompanies Southern-style pho. This way, you’re able to get straight to what’s good — the warm, savory broth. Our experience at this street food stand inspires our version of pho. Clean and simple.
Extra bits: We discovered this spot while walking down alongside Xuan Dieu Street in the Tay Ho District. A taxi cab driver ran into Katie (well, brushed up against her with his car) to pull over into this spot. We figured it must be good if cab drivers are willing to kill for a bowl.
Cha Ca at Cha Ca Va Long
Inside: Tumeric fish, cooked in hella oil, accompanied with dill, chiles, scallions, bean sprouts, peanuts, soy sauce and rice vermicelli noodles.
Verdict: Always a fun dish. Watch the fish fry up on your table top, and add dill and other toppings to your heart’s desire. The pungent fermented shrimp paste will always be was mellowed out with lime juice and sugar - proving to be as addictive as it is funky.
Sweet and Sour Pho Noodles
Inside: Fresh rice noodles tossed in a thick sweet and sour sauce, with dill, cilantro, lettuce, sliced cucumbers, peanuts, and fried shallots.
Verdict: Yum town. Fresh rice noodles were the reason why we loved Hanoi.
Extra bits: They usually don’t plate it like this, but when one of the young cooks saw me taking pictures, he took extra time to make it look pretty.
Inside: Fish cake and a moist “mochi” stuffed with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms. We suspect the mochi was a combination of sweet rice and tapioca starch.
Verdict: We think we enjoyed it. By this time we were having so much fun shootin the shit with our friends, our notes fell by the wayside. We’ll have to try and recreate this dish to see.
Squid Linguine at Restaurant Bobby Chinn
Inside: Thinly-shaved squid, avocado, wasabi and tobiko
Verdict: Good. Can’t go wrong since it’s basically all our favorite ingredients rolled into one.
Extra bits: Pictured above is Bobby’s Chef D, who along with other six other females, are a part of Blue Dragon, which brings women from the countryside into professional kitchens in the city. They believe that by giving teaching them a trade and paying them a good wage it would help break the poverty cycle. Bobby Chinn also donates a percentage of his sales to Blue Dragon. We approve.
Hot Pot with Hanoi Hipsters
Inside: What wasn’t inside! Crispy frog legs, tofu, Xian greens, fried tofu skins, little fresh bamboo shoots, tomato, enoki mushrooms, greens. It’s was if someone went down the line at a market and put one of each thing in their pot. Delicious as always.
Verdict: Hot pot, cold beers, and a group of good people make for fun times and soup facials.
Extra bits: Our new friends took us to their favorite hot pot spot for lunch. The key is to know the order in which to add things. You don’t want to be gun happy and add all the ingredients as once, as some things take longer than others to cook.