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 Food Culture

After Milk Tea-Flavored Water, Japan Now Has Transparent Coffee Because Why Not

So this is why scientists have been too busy to cure cancer, send a human to Mars or successfully bring Tasmanian tigers back from extinction?

in Food Culture

A Food Folk Tale: How a Poor Farmer Traded Starfruit for Gold

In Vietnam, fruits, especially those of the oddly shaped variety, come with a story. From pineapple to watermelon, there’s not a snack in this country that doesn’t come with a lesson attached. The jui...

in Food Culture

Prickly History: The Fruit That Tastes Like Heaven and Smells Like Hell

Despite its regal title — “the king of fruit” — durian’s taste and distinctive smell have long been a divisive topic among foodies the world over. Originally from the island of Borneo, through ti...

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: A Blissful Fish Feast at Bun Ca Sam Cay Si

As hot as it gets, Hanoi’s scorching summer is no match for delightful fish rolls and refreshing sour soup.

in Food Culture

A Food Folk Tale: Vietnam’s Unexpected Watermelon Tycoon

If you’ve been around a traditional Vietnamese household during Tet, you have probably noticed the presence of gargantuan, child-sized, dark green watermelons on the altar. These behemoths are both in...

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...

in Bars & Cafes

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...