NEWS: In 2017, we will not be available to conduct tours at the following times:

July 1-3, August 20-23, October 20-23, December 2-10

The food available in Hanoi's narrow alleys and tree-lined boulevards is just as much a part of the city as its lakes and old world architecture. In fact, all of these elements combine with the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people to produce a lively culinary scene that is both diverse and confronting.

Over the past twelve years, 'the god' (Van Cong Tu, author of the blog 'Vietnamese God') and 'Sticky' (Mark Lowerson, author of the blog Stickyrice) have been traversing the streets of Vietnam's capital, as well as cutting a wider arc through other regions of Vietnam and beyond, wolfing down between us virtually everything on offer.

Tu is an accredited tour guide with more than 17 years experience in the tourism and hospitality industry. He is an expert on the cuisine of the south-central coast, having grown up in Nha Trang and frequent visits to Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc Island make him very well-versed in what people are feeding their faces with in the south, too. But Hanoi is where he dwells and its chaotic web of lanes and alleys are where he eats most. Tu knows the market vendors and they like him.

Mark has been resident in Hanoi since January 2002, eating on the streets here from day one. The blog 'Stickyrice' is one of the longest running foodblogs, with the first post dated May 2005. Named in The Times Online's 50 Best Foodblogs in 2009 (at #22), 'Stickyrice' has been featured on 'Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie' and as part of SBS's Featured Foodie series.

We specialise in Vietnam's streetfood and wet markets and have recently designed a series of itineraries for travellers and food enthusiaists. These tours have been carefully planned to give visitors to Vietnam an authentic taste of a country very attuned to the rhythms of food through the day and through the seasons. Together, we visit the street stalls and markets, sampling the produce and eating from their dishes and bowls, as well as cooking with the ingredients at home.
Our tours range from three hour morning, afternoon or evening walks to a full-day eat-a-thon. The most popular tour is the 3 hour (8.30am-11.30pm) morning tour which typically includes a street market walk (with ongoing explanations of food practices, strange food items, some delicacies), a visit to ceremonial cake stalls, a special French dessert, the food sections of Hanoi's main Dong Xuan market, a streetfood alley for a noodle lunch, fruit stalls and coffee at an historic old quarter cafe.

A full day (9am-3pm) itinerary for foodie tragics (including more market visits and more street snacks and drinks) is also available. It encompasses a deeper look at ingredients and is ideal for those in the food industry, whether they be chefs, food writers, indeed anyone with an enthusiasm for food, whether it be in the eating or the cooking! All tours are inclusive of all food/drinks and are conducted entirely on foot after Tu meets and greets at the hotel.

Tu and Mark can also customise tours for particular interests if given sufficient advance notice. For more information and/or to book a tour, email both Tu: tuvancong2003@gmail.com and Mark: lowiemark@yahoo.com.au


Saturday, 3 March 2012

A Sweet Stop

Wild Rice

Vietnamese cuisine, in fact Asian cuisine in general, is not particularly known out of the region for its sweets or desserts. The people who come on our tours are generally well-versed in the main features on Vietnam's plates; the range of herbs, rice and noodles, the use of fish sauce. But get them to name a dessert and they struggle.

So, on our wanders, not only do we eat savoury but we also seek out sweet.

Sua Chua Nep Cam

Just north of Hanoi's Old Quarter, we sit low to the pavement for a sugar fix. Out of a narrow alley comes a northern speciality known as sữa chua nếp cẩm, which translates roughly as yoghurt with fermented wild rice. This dessert house is a Hanoi institution run by some wily elders and a bunch of enthusiastic teenage boys.

The wild rice, predominately purple in colour, is cooked, covered and left to ferment for a period of days with the aid of men ngọt (sugar yeast/fungus), shorter in summer, longer in winter. Laid out in bamboo baskets on withered banana leaves, what eventuates is something akin to jam - minus the fruit, or with rice playing the role of fruit!

Sua Chua Nep Cam

Dolloped on top of sweetened yoghurt, it gets delivered to customers. In Hanoi's pulsating summer, a generous scoop of shaved ice adds another layer. All that is required of the customer is a rigorous stirring with the spoon.

And, the enjoyment of the flavours - a slight twist of sour alcohol from the fermentation, the milkiness from the yoghurt, sweetness - a true dessert and a Hanoi tradition to boot!

20 comments:

  1. Tu,

    Thank you for a fabulous morning in the market. The street food of Hanoi is certain to be one of the highlights of our journey to southeast Asia. Seeing the turtle in the lake could hardly bring us any better fortune than our good luck in having you as our guide.

    David & Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Các chủ tàu vỏ thép van chuyen bac nam ở Bình Định bức xúc nói rằng họ đặt niềm tin vào cơ quan đăng kiểm của Nhà nước, chi phí đăng kiểm tính vào giá thành con tàu, nhưng cuối cùng ngậm đắng vì tàu gửi hàng ra Hà Nội nhanh hỏng!

      Đưa chúng tôi xem bản hợp đồng đóng tàu chành xe Sài Gòn với Công ty TNHH một thành viên Nam Triệu (Bộ Công an), ông Trương Hoài Khánh, chủ tàu vỏ thép BĐ 99279 TS ở TP Quy Nhơn (Bình Định), nói chua chát: “Chúng tôi lần đầu tiên vay một khoản tiền cực lớn để đóng một con tàu vỏ thép thue xe tai tai Ha Noi, nghĩ là chắc chắn, bền vững.

      Delete
    2. Các chủ tàu vỏ thép vận tải hàng hoá đường bộ ở Bình Định bức xúc nói rằng họ đặt niềm tin vào cơ quan đăng kiểm của Nhà nước, chi phí đăng kiểm tính vào giá thành con tàu, nhưng cuối cùng ngậm đắng vì tàu gửi hàng ra Hà Nội nhanh hỏng!

      Đưa chúng tôi xem bản hợp đồng đóng tàu gui hang di Sai Gon với Công ty TNHH một thành viên Nam Triệu (Bộ Công an), ông Trương Hoài Khánh, chủ tàu vỏ thép BĐ 99279 TS ở TP Quy Nhơn (Bình Định), nói chua chát: “Chúng tôi lần đầu tiên vay một khoản tiền cực lớn để đóng một con tàu vỏ thép thue xe tai gia re Ha Noi, nghĩ là chắc chắn, bền vững.

      Delete
    3. Rồi khi chạy thử đường dài goi hang ra Gia Lai khoảng 2-3 hải lý, đăng kiểm viên cũng có mặt. Tôi không hiểu sao họ không phát hiện ra những chiếc máy chính lắp trên tàu dich vu van chuyen di Ha Giang của chúng tôi là máy bộ cải hoán thành máy thủy, để dẫn đến thiệt hại như bây giờ - ông Khánh nói.

      Về máy, nguồn tin cho hay ngoài các máy Mitsubishi nghi là dùng máy van chuyen hang di Thai Nguyen gia re bộ cải hoán để lắp cho tàu vỏ thép do Công ty Nam Triệu đóng, tổ thẩm định còn phát hiện một số máy phát điện chuyen hang di Bac Kan gia re dán mác Mitsubishi và Cummins nhưng ruột không phải hàng chính hãng!

      Delete
  2. I am currently in Hanoi and would like to book a tour with you for local foods. Have been to places the hotels suggested so far. How do I reach you?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am currently in Hanoi and would like to book a tour with you for local foods. Have been to places the hotels suggested so far. How do I reach you?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Wengbo,
    Our email addresses are tuvancong2003@yahoo.com and lowiemark@yahoo.com.au
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Tu

    We had an amazing time on the full day street food tour: so much fun and such a huge range of interesting and delicious food - there is no way we would have ever discovered any of this on our own. We will be recommending your tour to everyone we know who travels to Vietnam.

    Thanks again
    Ella and Paul

    ReplyDelete
  6. Susann & Denis2 April 2012 at 06:18

    Hey Tu, we´re back in Germany now and wanted to thank you for this great morning tour through Hanoi and for sending us the pictures. We had a great time in Vietnam and your tour was one of the best experiences during our whole trip. Thanks so much! We wouldn´t have found all the very tasty locations on our own and certainly wouldn´t never ever have tried all these great foods (I love the black rice with yoghurt ;) )
    Thanks for a really good time...and all the best

    Susann & Denis

    ReplyDelete
  7. We did a walking tour with Tu recently in Hanoi, and very much enjoyed the experience. Great to taste new foods and learn all about them.Tu is a mine of info about lots of other things, and can recommend good restaurants that are very good value.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Tu,
    Just wanted to say thanks again for a great morning in Hanoi, a highlight of our Vietnam trip. We ate some of the best food of the entire trip. We would never have eaten in some of these places by ourselves! Thanks also for the photos and tips and links for the rest of the trip.
    Best,
    Ania

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello Tu,
    We enjoyed your tour in the old quarter of Hanoi. Interesting and tastefull. A recommandation for all foodies. I didn't mind to miss my breakfest. In fact it was too short and do it over for a whole day.
    Thanks and the best.
    C.J. and E.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Tu,

    Thanks for a fabulous tour yesterday. Your full day tour, starting from West Lake and ending in the Old Quarter, was the highlight of my stay in Hanoi. I couldn't have found the same range and quality of street food by myself even with a map, directions and and a month. I'll recommend your tour to everyone who heads to Hanoi and will be in touch should I return. It was a pleasure to meet you.

    Best wishes,
    Meghan

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you very much for the wonderful tour, Tu! This sweet snack/breakfast is definitely one of my favorites. I miss it already, I'm dying to recreate it here to munch on haha.

    Cheers!

    Alex
    http://www.reluctantstylista.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Tu,

    Thank you very much for the great tour and the marvelous Food. We learned a lot about Vietnamese Food but also about the People. We highly can recommend this tour!!!

    Thanks and all the best
    Luana & Kai

    ReplyDelete

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  14. Hi Tu! Thank you so much for The great morning spent together tasting very particular and excellent food and beverages. We could never had this amazing experience without you.
    We had a true and unbealivable insight of vietnamese habits and way of living. Visiting old town of Haonoi with you has been a really unique experience! We will not forget you and Viet Nam !

    ReplyDelete
  15. I forget to sign my previous review, Sorry!
    Gian Piero and Elena Ristori

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nice Post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thông tin cụ thể hơn, ông Đào Anh Tuấn, Tổng giám đốc cong ty van tai duong bo cho biết, vận tải hàng hóa của đơn vị phí thuê xe tải vẫn chưa đạt thành quả tốt nhưng hành khách thời gian qua tăng khá tuyệt hảo với mức hơn 10% so với năm 2016. khác lạ, doanh thu tăng rất cao, nhất là trong tháng 6 vừa qua tăng hơn 50%.

    Chúng tôi phải áp dụng nhiều giải pháp giá thuê xe tải chở hàng Hà Nội linh hoạt, trong đó ưu tiên tăng mạnh tàu chạy các chặng ngắn như: Sài Gòn - Phan Thiết, Sài Gòn - Nha Trang. Tháng 5 vừa qua, đưa vào khai thác tuyến mới Nha Trang - Huế và đã đạt 70% hệ số khai thác”, ông Tuấn nói và cho biết, khác lạ, lần trước tiên đường sắt xây dưng chế độ lạnh vé linh hoạt, khuyến mãi, giảm giá vé đồng đội, công ty du lịch, cấu kết nâng chất lượng vệ sinh toa xe, tương tác với khách hàng thue xe tai o Binh Duong nhiều hơn. “Chính điều này đã hút lượng khách lớn quay quay về với đường sắt, ông Tuấn lý giải.

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