We started our time in Vietnam with a few days in Hanoi. *Side Note: I can't believe I'm only typing this post up now, since that was a couple of months ago (yikes!)... but I guess better late than never. During our time there we discovered hidden street food vendors, thousands and thousands of motorbikes, and uh, coffee. Lots of delicious coffee.
The best thing we did in Hanoi was take a street food tour. This tour allowed us to quickly get to know the city in a way that may have otherwise taken months or even years. At first glance, some of the stops along the tour didn't even look as though they would have served food. We got our fix of Bánh mì, Phở, and tried some new foods like my new favorite desserts Sữa Chua Mít (get it here!), Egg Coffee (go to this place), and Bo Bia. My mouth is watering as I type this up.
When we first got to the city, we felt we had to brave the chaotic streets to get anywhere. The thought that you very well may be hit by a motorbike on the way to dinner was incredibly intimidating. But over time, the streets start to feel more manageable as you learn the ebb and flow of traffic, much like playing a game of frogger. Plus, to be honest the traffic is really only going about 10-20 mph.
When the busy streets did become too much, we took reprieve in coffee shops... and man was the coffee good. If you've had a Vietnamese coffee before you already know. But if you haven't had one, it is dark roast drip coffee layered with sweetened condensed milk. It quickly became a favorite, and we recently bought these filters so we can make our own at home. The coffee shop pictured above was called Manzi. It was half coffee shop, half art gallery - I definitely recommend making a stop here if you're traveling through!
We saw so many locals with impressive amounts of goods piled onto the back of their bikes: egg crates, families of five, six foot tall floral arches, and even live pigs...
In the center of the city, you'll find West Lake. If you're feeling exhausted from being a part of the city's chaos, it's the perfect spot to watch it go by from a distance.
Since we worked throughout our travels, the Hanoi Social club became a go-to spot for us during our time there. It was a wonderful and quiet spot to enjoy some more Vietnamese coffee and get some work done.
What do you think of Hanoi? Does it look like a place you might visit?