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.

Back Eat & Drink

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...

in Food Culture

American Chef Anthony Bourdain, Who Introduced Bún Chả to Obama, Passes Away at 61

Anthony Bourdain, the chef, writer and travel show host, has passed away at 61.

in Food Culture

A Brief History of Curry in Vietnam

It is well documented that southern Vietnam’s cuisine has been influenced by the French, but it is also undeniable that the fare has been influenced by another of France’s former colonial hubs: the po...

in Food Culture

New Cookbook 'Vegetarian Vietnam' Boldy Reinvents Traditional Classics

In his new cookbook Vegetarian Vietnam, Canadian chef Cameron Stauch boldly reinterprets traditional Vietnamese dishes while retaining their authenticity.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Craft Beer and Deep Conversation in a Cargo Ship Container

From Pasteur Street to Standing Bar, the capital hides a plethora of hop spots, but its newest entrant might be the most unique.

in Food Culture

The Evolution of Bánh Xèo: A Street Food History

While phở, bánh mì and now, occasionally, bún chả hog the spotlight in Vietnamese cuisine, everyone in Vietnam is familiar, to some degree, with bánh xèo. On street corners and in tiny, mode...

in Food Culture

A Tale of Two Fruits: The Colonial History of Durian and Mangosteen

Although both durian and mangosteen are native to Southeast Asia, their reputation – especially from a western point of view – leads two very contrasting fates: the latter is considered a lu...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: The Bánh Cuốn That’s Worth a Year of Waiting

Mrs. An’s bánh cuốn won the heart of world-renowned chef Bobby Chinn, kept lines of die-hard fans waiting outside and left a number of hearts broken when it disappeared for almost a year.