This morning I woke up quite early for a Street Food Tour! There were six of us Westerners on the tour led by the Chef from the Cooking School. We started off with a traditional Beef Pho Breakfast which did not disappoint.
A hot bowl of Pho Hanoi
Then we progressed to walking around the street market. We saw all types of food for sale including brains, lungs, and ears of all animals and down to snails, crickets, and all kinds of vegetables I have never heard of. It was really great to see all the different stuff. The Chef explained to us that the market opens around 6:00 with the live animals and they start slaughtering them right there at their stalls to prepare for sale. There are no refrigerators but all the meat is sold by 13:00 when they go for siesta. Then they collect whatever the men have been working on at home and go back to the market around 14:30 to sell more stuff. The markets don’t need refrigeration because the flow of food is so incredibly fast. On average for a Vietnamese family from slaughter to table food is only around for three hours! Pretty crazy!!
Bun Cha Hanoi The Chef took us onward and we ate Bun Cha which is basically a rice pancake filled with mushrooms and minced meat with fried onions on top. It was delicious even though I know the thought of all this is probably making my best friend in NYC feel ill! We ate sweet potato and corn cakes with prawns which were pretty good too. Leang explained to us that the reason they eat the prawn/shrimp shells is that it contains a lot of
calcium. I hadn't noticed but there is essentially no dairy in their diet. So they find other ways to infiltrate calcium into their routine. And if it cannot be made from rice, they pretty much don’t eat it 🙂
As we sat down for a local beer Leang started to tell us more about his life. One of the girls had a little disaster with chopsticks and he told us stories about learning to use aknife and fork. His family only used chopsticks so as toddlers that is what they learned and utilized with natural ease but around eight-years-old his parents decided he needed to learn the Western way and bought a fork and knife. He told us hilarious stories of food flying across the room as he tried to master the skill we take for granted!
It was really fun to learn about all the different foods and try a few things I otherwise would have been scared to put in my mouth. Hanoi has been good, I am glad I stopped here but I am looking forward to heading out to Halong Bay tomorrow on my party cruise 🙂 I am sure the exciting stories will roll once I hop onboard!!
For new and memorable experience in Hanoi, join us in our Hanoi Street food tour, explore Hanoi cuisine and feel the daily life of local Hanoians.