Ho Chi Minh is to Sacramento as Hanoi is to San Francisco, as much as Ho Chi Minh tries to be innovative and hip, it can’t compare.

Hanoi is the city where Bun Cha was founded! Just that is enough of a reason to visit Hanoi over Ho Chi Minh. Bun Cha is a local dish made of grilled pork and noodle. The pork is served over a plate of rice noodles with herbs and dipping sauce. As good as Vietnam’s pho is, bun Cha beats pho any day of the week!

The best place to try Bun Cha:

Name: Bun Cha Ta

Address: 21 Nguyen Huu Huan Street, Old QuaterHanoi 008404, Vietnam

In addition Hanoi’s street food culture, Hanoi has some incredible restaurants you must try. The restaurant/foodie scene in Hanoi is blowing up- with an influx of new restaurateurs from France, US, and London popping up.Decor and Style you can Taste

You feel immediately at ease at Maison de Tet. The French- Vietnamese decor is inviting and warm; the owner, Pete, even warmer.

He is often in the foyer to greet you with a beaming smile, telling you, “Make yourself at home.” He’s never too busy to answer any of your questions or share an exciting event that’s to come. He will help you with anything: booking a trip to Ha Long Bay, organizing a home delivery of juice to cleanse or rounding up 3 kilos of coffee beans as a last minute present.

Do yourself a favor and get the lemongrass and honey tea! All the teas are naturally sourced and organic. We paired that with a vegetarian nourish bowl which kept our energy up while navigating on and off the must see railroad tracks.

Name: Maison de Tet

Address: Villa 156 Tu Hoa, Nghi Tam, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Transport to a Lovely Afternoon in Paris

If Hanoi had a Michellin guide, this place would be on it! This 19th century French colonial villa radiates culture as you walk in and see black and white photos of Madame Thien herself from the 1900’s. The restaurant is a tribute to French chef Didier Corlu’s Vietname grandmother. The best things on the menu: fried spring rolls, duck salad, sugar cane beef skewers, and the pho.

Name: Madame Thien

Address: 15 Chân Cầm, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Do Like the Romans Do

When you’re in another country, you want to assimilate as best and fast as possible. Why not do what the Vietnamese do and eat on the floor? It’s a huge part of their culture which draws a mix of tourists and locals alike to dine here. ProTip:We watched many older people struggle with sitting on the floor while eating, so get ready, wear some socks too, it gets cold in the winter.

The restaurant, Chim Sao is authentic Hanoi at its finest. All the Vietnamese art on display are mostly for sale- painted by local artists. We bought some organic, lemongrass mosquito spray from here and it was the one thing that saved us from the thousands of insects out there!

As for food, we loved the fresh spring rolls, papaya salad, and chicken breast. Some other notables are frog legs and pigeon!

Name: Chim Sao

Address: 65 Ngõ Huế, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam

An Oasis Away from the Old Quarter

Here’s a more classic western take on authentic Vietnamese. The European ambience, mixed with their large wine selection makes you wonder if you really are in the middle of the Old Quarter in Hanoi. It’s neatly tucked away from the buzz of the city. It’s a family owned restaurant; we had the chance to talk to the owner and his son who studies in the US and comes back and forth to help with the business. He recommended some places to go for nightlife and man, he hit the nail on the head…

We tried the roll platter (fresh spring rolls, fried spring rolls, and crab roll) and it was delicious.

Name: Hanoi Garden

Address: 36 Hàng Mành, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam


A Little Low on Your Fruit?

Take a stroll around the Long Biên Market where you’ll see local venders selling anything and everything, from baseball cards to shoes, to fruits. It’s the largest covered market in Hanoi. Pair this market with Đồng Xuân Market and make it a half day excursion.

Name: Long Biên Market

Address:  189 Hồng Hà, Phúc xá, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam

After Your Fully Belly, Whats Next?