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Vietnam Eco Travel

It’s the first time I visited Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. It’s a chaotic, buzzing and hungry city that is a lot of interesting things to do. Before visiting Hanoi, my friend recommended me to try street food in Hanoi, especially in Hanoi Old Quarter which is a paradise of street food and the tastiest food place in the capital.
Honestly, all my knowledge of Vietnamese food barely stretched beyond “pho” (Vietnamese noodle soup) and “ banh mi ” (Vietnamese sandwich) before I visited Vietnam. Therefore with a food lover, I am so curious and excited with trying Vietnamese cuisine. So, what is the best way to try as much as possible authentic and local dishes in best places in Hanoi Old Quarter?, I decided to book a private Hanoi street food tour with a tour company names: Vietnam Eco Travel to make my stomach happily. I booked it online and confirmed quickly by them. So, let’s explore what how happy my stomach was through this tour!

My tour started at 5:00 pm and they would pick me up from my hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter. My tour guide, Ha, came on time and introduced herself and wasted no time taking me to our first stop: Nom bo kho (dried beef and salad). Ha said that through this tour, each dish she just ordered a small dish to help me no feel full quickly. That’s true, I wanted to eat all this old quarter.LOL.
“Nom bo kho” is very tasty. It includes papaya, peanut, dried beef, herb and an awesome sauce made from soya. I love dried beef which was made by this small restaurant, it tasted different from dried beef that I tried before at home. Especially I ate on the sidewalk with a small plastic chair. I could see everyone, lifestyle from outside. Oh god, I love this moment!. Ha told me that with local restaurants in Hanoi Old Quarter, they don’t need to hire much staff because their members in their family will work with their family, from grandparents to their children. They live in their restaurant, each family has from 3 to 4 generations in a small space. I was surprised that a house or apartment in here are very small and still have a lot of people can live together in a small house. After that Ha guided me to a small long lane which has about 100 apartments. They even have to share restrooms together. Ha said that in here each 1m2 has 4 people. That’s crazy but I understood that it’s very expensive to buy space here and Hanoi Old quarter is a good place to earn money because it’s a touristic place!.

We continue on the tour and visited Dong Xuan market which is the oldest and biggest market in Hanoi. Inside the market, it’s really large. There are numerous kinds of goods and products selling in this market such as clothes, household goods, dried foods, etc. Go out of the market, we visited the fresh market behind Dong Xuan market. They was selling fish, frogs, eels, small birds, and even turtle, etc which that are kept in large bubbling pans. Ha said that Vietnamese people can eat almost of animals: Any animal can move, we can eat it. That was funny. Vietnamese also eat dog meat, cat meat, rat, worm, insects, etc. It sounds creepy but I know it’s their culture for centuries. It will be a big problem if you eat dog meat or cat meat in Germany. And yes, dog and cat are members in my family so I never want to eat them.
Ha showed me some special foods which are favorite foods of Vietnamese people but they’re weird and creepy with foreigners, especially westerners like me. They were duck egg fetus, I even could see a baby duck inside, maybe they will become a cute duck soon, they just boiled them and ate with ginger and vegetables; fresh pig blood pudding and fresh coconut worm. They really made me scared. I saw the coconut worm still moved inside fish sauce which was served in a small bowl. Yeah, I couldn’t try it although locals tried to motivate me that they’re delicious. Oh my god!, “No, thank you”!. If you have a brave heart and strong stomach, try them!
Anyway it’s really interesting to chat with locals although they don’t speak much English but they’re super friendly and always smile. I think Vietnam is one of happiest countries in the world.
My next stop for food is a small restaurant where I tried “Bun cha”. Ha said that this restaurant serving the best “bun cha” in the city. Delicately crispy spring rolls and herbs such as shiso, holy basil, lettuce accompany the main event: a bowl of warm broth containing “cha” (grilled pork) into which you add white nice noodles. Oh my god! I love the dipping sauce which is made from fish sauce, vinegar, papaya, carrot, etc. It was awesome. This dish is the best Vietnamese food I have ever tried. I couldn’t help to eat all of it for some minutes. Ha lead me around the Hoan Kiem Lake (Returned sword lake) and told me the story of Le Loi King, the turtle god and the magical sword. It was interesting story and I respected this holy place. Ha also told me about Vietnamese religion and spiritual life. I feel like I love Vietnam more and more right now.
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