Urbanist Hanoi

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.

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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 — a fresh feast originally from Thai Binh, located almost 100 kilometers from the capital.

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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, and that’s exactly what happened on a crossroads near Truc Bach Lake over a decade ago.

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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.

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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.

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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 bún chả and bún đậu — both popular choices on hotter days when a steaming bowl of noodles is less appealing.   

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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 altogether more suspect list of items for sale: Iranian Persian Carpets?

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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. 

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Hẻm Gems: 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 and no trash on the floor.

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Hẻm Gems: 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 seeing street food served in clean, air-conditioned restaurants. It is a liberating experience, on the other hand, to visit a place like Banh Beo Cho Do, where past and future — instead of clashing — intertwine and complement each other.

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Hẻm Gems: 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 same age as Co Hue’s daughter, who now runs it.

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