Guidebook The art of street food, Hanoi style

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The art of street food, Hanoi style

“Hanoi may well be the best place in Vietnam to sample street food,” writes Rusty Compass. “You can barely walk a block in the Old Quarter without stumbling across a run down opening packed with tiny plastic stools, low tables and enthusiastic diners.” These places are so abundant that “it would be ridiculous to list favourites,” so just follow the locals “and you won’t go wrong.”      

Here’s how it works, explains Undiscovered Guide: “There will generally be one person tending the 'kitchen' (usually a pot or two on a low burner on the street), and perhaps one or two servers. Everyone's often busy and rushing around, so don't be surprised if no one acknowledges you initially: they're not being rude, they're just tied up right now. Either grab a vacant seat or just hover for a bit and after a few seconds, when a server's freed up, they'll either point you towards a free table, or put out a new one if needed. Don't worry if the place is packed: it often will be, but there is always space for another, and they'll add and remove tables as needed.”

So where’s the best street food in Hanoi? How long is a piece of string? Here are some favorites from several seasoned observers:  

Five of the best street foods in Hanoi (Culinary Travel Guide)   Hanoi’s best street food (AFAR)   Hanoi street food guide (The City Lane)   Best Hanoi street food (CNN)   A Hanoi street food tour (Journalist on the Run)   Guide to Hanoi’s street food (Street Food Hanoi)      

Then there’s ice cream, or specifically Trang Tien ice cream. It’s a “little gem” largely unknown by tourists, even though it is located in the tourist sector (on the corner of H. Khay Trang Tien and Ngo Quyen in the Old Quarter), explains Hanoi Times. “You rarely see ex-pats or tourists, instead you see Vietnamese couples on dates, families taking their children to their favourite ice cream parlour in town, and you feel like you're really part of Hanoi … for Hanoians, people find here not just an ice cream shop but a childhood memory reminder.” Trang Tien is “nothing fancy,” says Mark Wiens at Migrationology. In fact, it feels “much more like an auto mechanic than your neighborhood Baskin and Robbins … though it looked like everyone was fixing their motorbikes, on closer inspection I realised that everyone was sitting aboard their motorcycles, slowly chitchatting, waiting for another round of the treat that was making everyone so happy.”

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