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, 8 July 2017

Hanoi Summer Nights


We schedule our street food tours in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. The food landscape shifts across the course of the day and night. Vendors are opening with fresh ingredients and closing when they're gone, all over Hanoi. It's an ongoing tag-team of predominantly women, feeding this city out of tight, sometimes mobile, environments - in alleys, on loud busy thoroughfares choked with traffic, on their doorstep or in the front room of the house.

In summer, with temperatures and humidity inducing sweat at the simplest body movement during the day, we encourage our clients to avoid the afternoons and see and eat the city in the evenings. Sweat is still inevitable but the dark at least creates the illusion of cool. And Hanoi's character changes in the dark; the locals come out of their hibernation from the sun, there's promenading around the lakes and squares, kids everywhere, and it seems every scooter owner in the city is out catching a breeze.


Visually, it remains eye catching.  Dusk turns to dark in the amount of time it takes to eat a banh my. Fluorescent lights are flicked on but there's a lot of soft yellow light emanating from bulbs hanging from awnings or trees, to shed light for eating and drinking. Or displaying produce or goods. The Vietnamese are masters of the hastily erected money-making stall, whether it be for sale of second hand shoes, a selection of cut fruit coated in chilli salt or dried squid grilled gutter-side.


And, Hanoi is also delicious at night. Market activity may not be as lively as the mornings but you'll see the locals bargaining for end of day meat, mobile fruit and flower vendors trying to offload before they lay their weary bodies to rest. Street food eating opportunities still abound. Pavement grilling and enthusiastic beer drinking hit their peaks when the sun goes down. 


And the little plastic stools beckon.

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