Have at least a day in Hanoi during your trip to Vietnam? Do not miss this 3.5 hour guided walking tour of Hanoi's Old Quarter led by the brilliant Mark Lowerson. We always recommend sampling food as the fastest way to gain an understanding of a new-to-you culture. This tour is for the adventurous and open-minded. Read: vegetarians need not inquire! Tours are given in English and are small in size, 2 - 4 people.
Hanoi is famous for its street food, which you can eat on the side of the road for about $1, but splurging for this tour was worth it. Our first stop turned out to be the best meal I had during my entire time in Vietnam:Bun Cha Rieu a savory pork noodle soup at 9am. Mark, who also moonlights as a food critic, knows all the vendors and helps you settle in without feeling too much like a tourist. In our short time together we were able to crisscross a small area of the Old Quarter and a few neighboring blocks to sample pork, beef, shrimp, and chicken (cooked in a soda can), indulge in an amazing egg coffee, sample wild fermented rice and yogurt, and try a mung bean sweet dessert.
One of my (adventurous) fellow foodies tried a duck fetus to the delight of the elderly Vietnamese woman who served him the dish. We learned that each vendor is famous for one dish and they only occupy their area of the street for a few hours each day; when they run out, that's it. Mark predicts that Hanoi street food culture is slowly fading into the background as the government is trying to clean up the image of dirty street food by forcing the vendors into Hawker Stalls. You'll try a minimum of 3 full dishes, a few snacks, deserts, and Vietnamese coffee during your time on this tour. Skip breakfast and come hungry.
Tour $75USD Location: Hoàn Kiếm/Old Quarter
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