Urbanist Hanoi

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: A Steaming Bowl of Mỳ Vằn Thắn to Ward off Winter’s Chill

The Old Quarter’s labyrinthine streets contain so many eateries that newcomers can easily feel overwhelmed.

in Food Culture

Chè, Bánh, Chả, Nem: The Curious Lives of Vietnam’s Regional Food Names

Realizing the word that one is using refers to an entirely different object in another region is a situation many can relate to. The last time this happened to me, it almost cost me a bowl of Hanoi’s bánh đa trộn.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: In Xoan Cafe, a Sanctuary for Art, Tea and Cats

Curious cats, steaming tea and art-lined walls make Xoan Café feel like a home away from home.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Silken Tofu and Velvety Dumplings at Hanoi’s Most Authentic Chinese Eatery

I’ve long searched for an authentic Chinese restaurant in Hanoi that makes good dumplings — one of the most comforting f...

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: A Gateway to the Past for the City's New Youth

Hanoi’s café scene is saturated with cafés selling a vision of the past.

in Food Culture

Vietnam Crowned Asia's Leading Culinary, Cultural Destination at World Travel Awards

Vietnam’s rising position in the global tourism arena was recently recognized by scores of accolades at the World Travel Awards.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: A Secret Garden Leads to a Haven for Hanoi's Young Creatives

Immediately after strolling through the gates of Café Tu Luc, a leafy new reality helps one feel at ease.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Pandan Jelly and Tapioca Pearls in a Little Bowl of Chè

Chè, the mercurial Vietnamese dessert soup, is appreciated by Hanoians both young and old. Whether wheeled around narrow streets in the Old Quarter, carried on shoulder poles or served in shop fronts that spill out onto streets and sidewalks, the variety of both venues and tastes is almost infinite.

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in Food Culture

A History of Rice Wine, Part 1: Family Stills, Prohibition and Colonial Bloodshed

Fight or flight: to ball fists, rally rag-tag villagers clutching canes, staffs, shovels, sampan oars and bamboo staffs to ward off the bayonet-wielding officers invading your home intending to ransac...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Traditional Bún Thang Served With a Crunchy Twist

If you peel through the peaceful residential areas around the Quang Trung and Tran Hung Dao crossroads, you might just chance upon Bún Thang 11 Hạ Hồi, a humble, household noodle spot.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Autumnal Golden Hours Are the Key Ingredient in Cô Thoa’s Bún Bò Nam Bộ

Hanoi’s fascination with bún is endless. There are more varieties in this city than anywhere else in Vietnam. Bún has a lot more to offer than phở, especially as it can be served cool and dry, as seen...

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: At Tropical Forest, Coworkers and Plants Thrive in a Unique Ecosystem

Tropical Forest isn’t one of those adorable coffee shops you find hidden away in one of Hanoi’s many pokey alleyways. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – its large glass presence resembles a giant terr...

in Food Culture

Bánh Pía: The Dreamy Mooncake Alternative With a Side of Teochew History

From sweet treats such as yam paste, chè bạch quả (ginkgo soup) and bite-size pastries to savory staples such as lotus root soup, bánh củ cải (radish cake), cốn xại (pickles) and xá pấu (salted radish...

in Food Culture

Foreign Fast Food Chains Report Consecutive Financial Losses in Vietnam

Are foreign fast food brands falling out of favor among locals, or are there other reasons behind their losses?

in Food Culture

De-Shelling Vietnam’s Love of Eating Snails

Snails prove a divisive delicacy in many countries, but in Vietnam, they are perhaps more misunderstood, and arguably more refreshing, than anywhere else in the world.

in Food Culture

Seoul's Museum Kimchikan Takes Visitors Deep Into the World of Kimchi

In 1988, in the same year Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics, even though it had nothing to do with sports, kimchi shone on the international stage for the first time.

in Food Culture

Delving Into the Life Journey of Japanese Grandmas During World War II Through Home-Cooked Food

Grandma's Recipes is a 10-part Japanese documentary series that features the stories of ten different octogenarians and their relationship with cooking.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Kamon – Authentic Japanese Cuisine Served With a Side of Persian Rugs

Tucked away amongst a row of cafes on Van Phuc Street is a curious Japanese restaurant – beneath the bright red KAMON sign above its entrance and the usual menus offering sashimi and sushi is an altog...

in Food Culture

The Wild, Wondrous History of Lychee

Treacherous rebels were amassing support in the outskirts while licentious interlopers lounged in teahouses and corruption lurked in every alleyway and courtyard in the capital. The 8th-century Tang E...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: The Delectable Comfort of Xuan Dieu's No-Name Bánh Đa Trộn

With most of my life having been spent living in Saigon, the concept of bánh đa was first introduced to me by a mass-produced instant crab noodle soup package. 

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Reng Reng, a Welcome as Cold as the Coffee at Hanoi's Most Idiosyncratic Cafe

Reng Reng isn’t a friendly coffee shop.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Bún Cá With a Twist That Takes Guts to Try

Ut Ha Quan looks nothing like the kind of traditional Hanoi street food eatery that makes it to glossy magazines and world-famous food channels. There’s no grumpy grandma, no mold on the walls an...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Steamed Hai Phong Rice Cakes at Banh Beo Cho Do

That the most delicious food in Vietnam is usually found on top of shabby plastic tables is an incontrovertible truth. So much so that modernity has done something strange: we feel skeptical when seei...

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Old Hanoi Aesthetics and Durian Milk-Tea at Cafe Minh

Whether a grey-eyed morning or a long-tailed dusk, it makes little difference in Café Minh. The windows, opaque from a history of cigarettes and road dust, barely let in any light. The groan of motorb...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Piquant Broth and Tangy Snails at Bun Oc Co Hue

There’s nothing fancy about Bun Oc Co Hue. You’ll find makeshift awnings and a leaning mahogany tree outside, and tattered walls and faded floral tiles within. The shop itself is 28 years old, the sam...

in Food Culture

[Video] Taiwan's Stinky Tofu Is Not a Dish for the Faint-Hearted

Like Southeast Asia’s slew of durian desserts, Taiwan’s stinky tofu dishes are an acquired taste.

in Food Culture

[Video] A Virtual Tour of Malaysia's Top-Notch Durian Plantation

Most people around here are familiar with the durian fruit and its unique smell; however, not many have actually been to a durian plantation.

in Food Culture

Opinion: Anthony Bourdain Made Me Proud to Be Vietnamese-American

I landed Friday night in Saigon just in time for the news of Anthony Bourdain’s passing lighting up my phone in a jumble of tweets, texts and news alerts. As details emerged about the chef-turned-trav...