Urbanist Hanoi

in Food Culture

Afro Mini Mart: What's Inside Vietnam’s First African Grocery Store?

At first glance, it looks just like any other convenience store. The same strings of Oishi shrimp snacks and revolving wire rack of Orion Marine Boys adorn either side of its entrance, just as they do at many of the capital city’s corner stores.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Sumptuous Vegetarian Ramen in a Quiet Truc Bach Hideaway

If you’ve ventured to the land of ramen, it’s likely you have a Japan hangover. Vege-ro’s authentic, rich meals could, for a while at least, help you recover.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Vegetarian Fusion Food, Artwork and Leafy Surrounds All Feature in This Urban Oasis

In cacophonous cities like Hanoi, spaces that combine greenery with tranquility are vital.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: In Phủ Cafe, Community Engagement Brings a Sense of Belonging

Three flights of stairs separate the street from Phủ Café’s timeworn interior. Their small sign won’t grab your attention if you’re passing by, but attracting new customers isn’t necessarily the aim.

in Food Culture

A Bún Đậu Mắm Tôm in Singapore That Tastes (and Smells) Just Like Home

Joo Chiat, a neighborhood in the eastern realms of Singapore, is hardly a forgettable area.

in Food Culture

The Unifying Presence of Cái Mâm, Vietnam’s Ubiquitous, Familial Food Tray

An authentic Vietnamese meal cannot be complete without cái mâm.

in Food Culture

Step Inside the Centuries-Old Store Selling Thousands of Sausages and Bánh Chưng

For around 200 years, Quoc Huong store has been selling sumptuous meat delicacies to hungry Hanoians.

in Food Culture

Tarantulas, Scorpions, Crickets Crawl Into Southeast Asia's Mass-Market Edibles

A spade strikes the bone-dry Cambodian dirt with a crunch, and the hunt is on. Chem Wai, a lanky, deeply tanned 53-year-old former soldier, has been collecting wild tarantulas and scorpions for most of his life.

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in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: De Tam Café Adds a Contemporary Touch to a Familiar Retro Aesthetic

As soon as you walk into De Tam’s leafy entrance courtyard, a familiar vintage theme becomes apparent. An entire wall is covered in shelves containing over 100 film cameras and lenses, while record pl...

in Food Culture

A History of Rice Wine, Part 2: A Traditional Craft Slowed to a Trickle

Rose-tinted shades and long swept-back hair tickling the collar of a half-unbuttoned maroon shirt that revealed a dangling peace-sign pendant: at age 27, Minh was the epitome of 70s Saigon cool. More ...

in Eat & Drink

Urbanist Hanoi's 5 Best Ngõ Nooks of 2018

In 2018, Hanoi certainly saw its fair share of the good, the bad and the surprising, but it was, as always, a wonderful year for eating and drinking. Across the city, we delighted in finding decades-o...

in Food Culture

The Alluring Backstory of Chả Rươi, Vietnam’s Slimiest Street Food Character

In the months leading up to winter in Hanoi, when the temperature starts to drop and a chilly breeze blows through the city, anticipation grows for a rare, unique delicacy – the palolo worm omelet, or...

in Food Culture

Vietnam Officially Designates December 12 the Day of Pho

Vietnam has officially marked December 12 the 'Day of Pho' in celebration of the nation's most well-known dish.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Take a Ride on Ha Dong’s Hipster Bus Café

When you initially spot the café, it’s hard to tell exactly what it is — it isn’t hurtling towards you at 50 miles per hour and doesn’t have helmet shrapnel from its previous victims stuck to its...

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Cu Xa, the Cafe That Awakens Your Childhood Self

“Where is home?” is a question that at some point has probably nagged everyone who feels caught between worlds. To the owner of a retro cafe in Hanoi’s southern Dong Da District, it’s Cu Xa.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Oozing Quail Egg Bánh Giò for Upcoming Winter Days

After a long, draining day at work, the unexpected discovery of a steaming, peppery bánh giò, complete with oozing quail eggs, is the ultimate remedy.  

in Food Culture

How the Popularity of 'Durian Tours' Is Threatening the Survival of Malaysia's Tigers

In order to meet rising demand for durian, Malaysia plans to convert a large area of the Malayan tiger’s natural habitat into durian plantations.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Authentic Bánh Cuốn That Took a Century to Perfect

Banh Cuon Ba Hoanh is nearly a century old, and both the eatery’s name and the authenticity of the food they serve stem from the same source: the culinary wisdom of Grandma Hoang.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: At Bun Ca Thai Binh, Succulent Snakehead Infused With Turmeric and Cashew

When a friend of mine returned home after living abroad last year, he longed for a bowl of bún cá. I suggested the classic Hanoi dish, with satisfyingly oily deep-fried fish, but he had other ideas&nb...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: Ingenuity Meets Tradition at Phở Cuốn Hung Ben

As traditional and unchanging as Hanoi’s cuisine may seem to visitors, creativity can still be found below the surface. Every now and then, a novel dish catches on and becomes the talk of the town, an...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: At Bun Bo Hue Thu Thuy, a Broth That Bridges Tastes

In only three places have I enjoyed truly sumptuous bowls of bún bò giò heo: in its hometown of Hue, in Hoi An and at Bun Bo Hue Thu Thuy in Hanoi.

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.