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

August 22-October 1

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 ten years, 'the god' (Van Cong Tu, author of the blog 'Vietnamese God') and myself (Mark Lowerson, otherwise known as 'Sticky' in the pages of this blog) 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 15 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 a one hour market familiarisation to a full-day eat-a-thon. The most popular tour is the 3 hour (9am-12pm) morning tour which kicks off at Hanoi's old East Gate, and includes a typical street market walk (Tu explains 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. For those more in tune with the evenings (5pm-8pm), we also offer a tour of snacks, beers and street noodles, followed by streetside dessert. 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


Monday, 19 November 2012

Operation Nha Trang, February 2012

prawns on the coals
We are taking streetfood tour operations to the south central coast for the first two weeks of February. Nha Trang is a resort town a short flight from Saigon and very much on the standard tourist trail. While most visitors tend to spend their days on the beaches and their evenings at the bars - something we are not averse to ourselves - there is a fantastic street food scene in this town, one that we've been enjoying on a regular basis for the past ten years. In fact, in the case of Vietnamese God, his whole life as Nha Trang is his home town.
flower delivery
We'll be there over the Tet (lunar New Year) period, which adds a degree of colour and excitement to the atmosphere around town, as the locals hit the markets and shops in their preparations for Vietnam's biggest family occasion. But, that said, because Nha Trang is a southern coastal town, the feeling about town is still relaxed. Remember, there's always the beach.
Doc Let Beach
So, what does Nha Trang have to offer the food-obsessed?
bun ca
Seafood has to be the number one attraction. For breakfast, it could be in the form of fish noodle soup. In Hanoi, of course, it would be pho. In Nha Trang, expect lovely chunks of mackeral or tuna, along with fish cake slices with your threads.
cafe phin
After breakfast, coffee can be had street side or in a cafe by the sea. 

Street food eateries and restaurants alike are pandering to the hankerings of those who want to eat stuff from the sea morning, noon and night. Let's make the pictures do the talking.
grilled prawns oyster, spring onion
Some of our other favourites around town include banh mi with fish cakes, banh xeo (rice flour pancakes) with baby squid and the best spring roll in Vietnam, nem nuong.

If we've whetted your appetite, and you'll be in Nha Trang between February 2-13, drop us an email for further details of our itineraries/costs. (Mark: lowiemark@yahoo.com.au & Tu: tuvancong2003@yahoo.com)

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  4. Tu
    Thanks so much to taking me on the food tour. It was everything I expected Vietnamese food to be and more. Since traveling down south around the Mekong delta, nothing has come close. I really appreciated your generosity to take me to so many special places, by far it had been the highlight of my traveling in Japan and Vietnam. I'll let you know how dishes work out that I try back home.
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  11. We love food—who doesn’t? And if we took our kids to another temple they were going to revolt. So a walking street food tour sounded like the perfect finale for our time in Vietnam. Tu, your guide and well-known food blogger, is really interesting. He loves travelling and food (obviously) so we enjoyed talking about different restaurants around the world as we walked from place to place (he even emailed us suggestions for places that we would be visiting after leaving Hanoi). Not surprisingly the food we ate on the tour was outstanding. Your tour takes you to small places where the locals go. My only regret was not doing the tour at the beginning of our trip so we could re-visit the places we went. Be sure to start the tour hungry—you will be eating a lot.

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