Urbanist Hanoi

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.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Hidden Gem, the Cafe that Recycled Knick-Knacks Built

It is difficult to describe Hidden Gem Café without paraphrasing its name, but I have not found a better way to characterize this wonderful establishment.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Sonder, a Cafe Built on Passion for Coffee Beans

sonder (n): the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: The 'Tiny' Cafe That Contains Multitudes

Hidden down a quiet alley opposite the B-52 Victory Museum on Doi Can in Ba Dinh District is the gateway to Tiny Cafe. Make sure you look carefully, as the sign is easily missed, and this isn’t somewhere you’ll want to miss out on.

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Ngõ Nooks: Come for the Dim Sum, Stay for the Dim Sum

As the old saying goes, when in Hanoi, do as your colleagues do.

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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.

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...