IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
On any of the trips I take, it is usual for me to look through Tripadvisor, as I like to check out not only accommodations, but possible things to do in the place I am visiting. It is also a great tool to get a general feel for the place in question.
We asked out Hotel concierge to give the tour people a call (the number is on their website), although I do believe you can book online. As we were a little nervous and spent quite a bit of time deliberating doing the tour, calling them was the easiest, and we got ourselves onto the 6.30pm tour the next day, which was a Friday. We knew it would be quite busy, the night markets are on in the Old Quarter of Hanoi on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, when some of the streets are closed off to traffic. The cost for the walking tour was $20 (USD) per person, we elected to do a private tour, just the two of us, as opposed to the group tour so it was $10 more per person, so $30 (USD) each. This included all food and drinks we had on the tour, including water and beer.
Next came a Green Papaya Salad. This had beef slices as well as some dried beef slices. And yes, we did sit on those tiny stools lol!! Needless to say I felt rather like Gulliver in Lilliput!!
We carried on walking to stop number 3. This was a fun stop, we actually got to have a try at making part of our meal. Steamed pancakes or Banh Cuon Thit. These very thin pancakes are made from a rice batter with a filling of minced pork, mushrooms and shallots.
Stop number 4 brought us to yummy fried Spring Rolls.
We sampled 3 different types. The one on the left is called Pillow Cake (Banh Goi), and the look of it reminded us of Cornish Pasties in the UK and also Curry Puffs here in Singapore, the filling of course is where it differs. This one was a mix of rice noodles, minced pork and wood ear mushrooms.
The one in the middle is called Nem, they had a similar filling to the Pillow Cake but this time it was crab instead of pork.
The one on the right were called Fried Sour Rolls or Nem Chua Ran, these contained cured pork and shredded pork skins (did not know that at the time of eating lol!!), coated in a flour mixture and then deep fried. Again these were served with the unripe mango slices in vinegar and the herb greens.
Stop number 5 on the tour saw us sitting on even smaller plastic stools and, sampling a Noodle Soup (Bun Rieu). Essentially a tomato based broth with crab, noodles and crispy fried tofu.
Next we were told it was time for dessert!! By now we were just about groaning from all the food, but we were not done yet. Stop number 6, Mixed fruits with condensed milk. This dish came with some crushed ice that you could add if you liked your fruit a bit colder.
For stop number 7, we headed to an incredibly busy section of the Old Quarter, known as "pub corner". Apparently this is where all the young people like to gather and drink beer. Our guide managed to squeeze us into a couple of seats (yes, small stools again).
It was pretty surprising to see the barrel, with a tap, right there on this very bustling street. Still the beer was really good and nice and cold.
After downing our beers, it was time to set off again to our final stop, number 8. This stop found us trying 3 different things. First up, the famous Vietnamese sandwich known as Banh Mi. This tasty french baguette sandwich has a filling of pork belly, lettuce and pickled vegetables.
Next we were presented with a small glass filled with Sticky Rice Wine (Ruou Can). This tasted almost like a sake and was very smooth, delicious, and we were told about 30% proof!! (Thought it tasted good.) Needless to say this went down rather well.
Finally, we made it to the end and the thing I was looking forward to the most. Egg Coffee. I was really wondering how this could taste good, but it not only tasted good, it tasted FANTASTIC!! Kind of like a runny creme brulee. Our guide told us that this particular version had the rice wine added in which made it even better.
This egg coffee was truly delicious, certainly a massive surprise.
So, we made it to the end of the tour. We had spent a lovely, if eye opening and very sweaty three hours well and truly out of our comfort zone. However, it was truly a great experience. Just being able to spend three hours with our lovely guide Kiwi was a pleasure. She was very gracious and told us a lot about Vietnamese customs and way of life. I am very glad we did this tour, and highly recommend it if you find yourselves in Hanoi.
Itslynnykansas was not compensated in any way for this review. All content, photos and opinions are expressly the writers own, unless otherwise stated. All content is provided "as is" and is for informational purposes only. The writer of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The writer will not be liable for any losses, damages or injuries from the use of this information.
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