Manager Insider Tip: Homegrown Hanoi Delights
There are as many ways to explore Hanoi as there are things to see, and not just the typical highlights described in the tour books. Khiri Travel’s Signature Experience in Hanoi is quite different from other tours available in the city. We researched homegrown Hanoi lifestyles for inspiration to seek and find unique and hidden gems that reveal the true local experience.
Our main focus of the tour is the street food. Vietnam is a country very well known for its food, an interesting fusion from cultures that over time have made a home in this corner of Asia: Chinese, French and Cambodian to name a few. At Khiri Travel Vietnam, we all agree the best parts of Hanoi are explored on foot. Lucky for us, walking around the city provides multiple opportunities to stop for a rest and try some tasty street food.
Our signature tour starts in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a stunning showcase of old colonial buildings, busy shops and leafy green streets bordering small lakes. With an early morning start, Hoan Kiem Lake is a good place to observe the locals performing their morning Tai Chi routine. Tai Chi, a dance-like martial art adopted from the Chinese, is a big part of Vietnamese culture and religiously practiced by the older generation. On a small side alley, we enter a small café and go upstairs to some small tables where cà phê trứng (café trung) is served. This coffee is a mixture of egg yolk, coffee powder and sweetened condensed milk whisked together. Also known as egg coffee, it became popular during the French War when there was a lack of fresh milk. Nowadays, this is a very typical and favorite drink in Hanoi and we believe that all travelers have to try its smooth but bold taste!
Continuing on in the Old Quarter, we pass the infamous Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton, stopping along the way for a bánh mì, a fresh baguette sandwiched with eggs, meat or pate to make a delicious mid morning snack. Banh mi is the result of the Vietnamese French fusion introduced in the 18th century and now found everywhere in Vietnam.
The next stop on our tour is Huu Tiep Lake, famous as the crash site and wreckage of a US B-5 bomber from the American War. The surrounding neighborhood is a great place to witness the authentic local lifestyle walking past small, family-owned shops, food markets, charming cafes and of course, lovely lakes.
Around noon, we stop for lunch to savor a wonderful plate of bún chả, a famous Hanoian combination of grilled pork and noodles. This dish is served everywhere at both traditional restaurants or at informal sidewalk tables next to a small charcoal grill. With our appetites satisfied, we continue on to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university and a chance to soak up some ancient imperial culture.
When the end of the day comes, our favorite part of the tour arrives. We head to the Hanoi Railway tracks, located in the middle of houses and shops and offering the best photo opportunities of the tour. After a long day of walking, learning about Vietnamese culture and history and enjoying some delicious samples of Hanoi’s famous street food, we will end the day reminiscing about our adventure over a glass of Hanoi’s ubiquitous fresh local beer, bia hoi. Cheers to an amazing day!
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