Urbanist Hanoi

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Sample Creative Coffee and Hide From Life at Chốn Hạ Hồi

Definitely not an easy-to-stumble-upon coffee shop, Chốn is located in a small, deep alley.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Board Game Café Minipolo Bonds Friends Over Snakes and Lattes

Hanoi is no stranger to the board game café niche, but something about Minipolo has groups of friends flocking here day and night to fill the atmosphere with chatter, laughter and the occasional, inevitable bickering.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: A Mom-and-Pop Ramen Experience in Hanoi's 'Japantown'

Anyone familiar with the Linh Lang–Kim Ma–Dao Tan area knows it’s the closest one might get to visiting Japan in Hanoi.

in Street Food

Ngõ Nooks: A Simple but Well-Balanced Bún Cá Thái Bình in Ba Đình

In these uncertain times when everything oscillates between “business as usual,” “total lockdown” and all shades in-between, I don’t really know when this article will be published, or if the little eatery I’d like to tell you about will be open next week, or next month.

in Bars & Cafes

Ngõ Nooks: Cafe Yên, Where the Line Between Coffee Shop and Alley Blurs

Yên (adj): quiet, unmoved.

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.

Back Eat & Drink

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.

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.