Urbanist Hanoi

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Board Game Café Minipolo Bonds Friends Over Snakes and Lattes

Hanoi is no stranger to the board game café niche, but something about Minipolo has groups of friends flocking here day and night to fill the atmosphere with chatter, laughter and the occasional, inevitable bickering.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: A Mom-and-Pop Ramen Experience in Hanoi's 'Japantown'

Anyone familiar with the Linh Lang–Kim Ma–Dao Tan area knows it’s the closest one might get to visiting Japan in Hanoi.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: A Simple but Well-Balanced Bún Cá Thái Bình in Ba Đình

In these uncertain times when everything oscillates between “business as usual,” “total lockdown” and all shades in-between, I don’t really know when this article will be published, or if the little eatery I’d like to tell you about will be open next week, or next month.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Cafe Yên, Where the Line Between Coffee Shop and Alley Blurs

Yên (adj): quiet, unmoved.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: How 2 Brothers From Punjab Spread Their Love for Indian Food

Some names that immediately come to mind when the topic of Indian food is raised are the old favorites, such as Namaste on Tho Nhuom Street or Foodshop 45 in Truc Bach. But have you heard of a small restaurant called Eat List right in the heart of the Old Quarter?

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Lily Coffee, a Hideaway for When Life Gets Overwhelming

Nestled in a nook so small that not many Hanoians even know of it, Lily Coffee is a true hideaway, with its entrance tucked on the side of an alley. The gate held ajar separates two worlds — one bustling with traffic, the other tranquil.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Xóm Hà Hồi's Dill-icious Golden Grilled Cá Lăng

With Hanoi deep in winter’s chill, our bellies crave hearty delights, and there is nothing like frying your own chả cá in the cozy little hamlet of Hà Hồi to ward off the season’s bite.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Quán Nhạc Cầm Nurtures the Soul Like a Love Song

Albeit ostensibly a coffee shop, Cầm’s specialty is actually old Vietnamese music.

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in Food Culture

A Food Folk Tale: The Savage Clapback That Turned a Girl Into a Pineapple

Growing up in Vietnam, it seems that everything – from common household objects to fruits – has an origin story. Some of these local folk tales have a decidedly romantic angle, but others – like the l...

in Food Culture

Sủi Dìn’s Journey From Imperial China to the Streets of Hai Phong

The first time I stumbled upon cô Ut’s nightly sidewalk ritual, the performance was already well under way. Perched on the low steps of what serves as a VietinBank branch by day, the young woman sat r...

in Food Culture

[Video] The Story of Japan's Only Sushi Restaurant Run by All Female Chefs

A group of intrepid female chefs has been defying the laws of tradition to combat sexism in Japan’s sushi community.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Homemade Chilli Sauce and Aromatic Broth at Ever-Moving Spicy Pho Bay

Despite having changed locations twice in the last three years, Spicy Pho Bay remains one of Tay Ho’s most popular street food spots.

in Food Culture

Tracing the Lineage of Da Lat's Delicious Bánh Mì Xíu Mại

Every morning, the corner of Da Lat’s Hoang Dieu and Tran Nhat Duat streets is a mess of plastic tables and rubbish bins, bánh mì crumbs and bodies hunched over small bowls. This particular patch of s...

in Food Culture

Cơm Âm Phủ: Hue’s ‘Purgatory Rice’ That Tastes Like Heaven

Throughout Vietnam’s decades of development from a war-torn nation to one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, rags-to-riches stories are a dime a dozen. This is especially true in the country’s culin...

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Duy Tri - One of Hanoi’s Original Cafes

Modern-day Hanoi is a labyrinth of new developments, with some areas already feeling the effects of gentrification. That certainly wasn't the case back in 1936, when Café Duy Tri first opened its door...

in Food Culture

An Ode to Vietnam's Cooling, Affordable and Ubiquitous Trà Đá

In Vietnam, trà đá vendors don’t exist, simply because every single eatery is in itself a trà đá vendor.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Tender Strips of Garlic-Infused Beef at Pho Thin

In the midst of a Hanoian winter, all you want is warmth. The houses aren't built for the cold, and on a bike at night, the chill seeps right into you. At lunch or after work, there's nothing better t...

in Food Culture

Meet Linh Nguyen, the Fulbright Scholar Spreading Vietnamese Culture Through Food

Linh Nguyen is a Fulbright scholar, blogger and writer whose first book, Lemongrass, Ginger and Mint Vietnamese Cookbook: Classic Vietnamese Street Food Made at Home, became an Amazon bestseller after...

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Refreshing Cocktails at Hanoi’s Best Hole-in-the-Wall

Bars in Hanoi don’t come much smaller than Dot. Its width is no more than the span of my arms, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in value and substance. You’d barely notice the place...

in Food Culture

Milk Tea-Flavored Water Is Here. Is the Apocalypse Near?

The stark, clinical fluorescent lighting inside the convenient store casts an air of ominous dread all over the shop’s beverage section. With a glance, I find it. The blue package stares back at me me...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Vegan Buffet, Nourishment That Makes You Feel Good

Anyone who’s lived in Vietnam for any reasonable length of time will have heard of cơm bình dân – rice buffets offering an abundance of meat and vegetables during lunch hours. In recent years, however...

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Ngõ Nooks: Trainspotting and Nostalgia at The Railway Hanoi

The stretch of railway between Tran Phu Street and Dien Bien Phu Street is quickly becoming one of the hippest spots in Hanoi. In the last couple of years, a social enterprise named Zo Project, a fash...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Yen Phu's Banh Xeo Spot Is Legit

Any street food restaurant you regularly pass on your commute, or that lies within the local area where you live, is likely to receive your patronage more often than most. Minh Banh Xeo is no exceptio...

in Food Culture

Pandan, Southeast Asia's Humble Leaf Set to Take the World by Storm

Pandan, an aromatic plant native to Southeast Asia, could soon have its moment in the international spotlight thanks to British chef and food writer Nigella Lawson, who extolled its virtues in an inte...

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Cuoi Ngo – One of Hanoi’s Most Hidden Cafés

If you’ve managed to find Cafe Cuoi Ngo, then you deserve to see it. The place feels like a well-kept secret, but it’s so hard to find that I don’t think publishing this article will overburden the sp...

in Food Culture

Tet Tales: The Many Folk Stories Behind Vietnam's Sticky Rice Cakes

To me, there's nothing that screams Tet as much as sticky rice cake. However one wants to spice up the usual celebration by replacing some dishes with something new each year, sticky rice cakes remain...