Let us re-introduce Poblacion Makati with this food, art, and culture-centric neighborhood guide. A Fat Girls Day Out Curated Guide.
Tag: street food
How to Get There
One of the best ways to book your flight to Hanoi is thru Kiwi.com, they find you the lowest rates across hundreds of airlines with a guarantee from canceled flights, rescheduling, and delays.
Don’t get me wrong. I love traveling, but the traversal completion of one’s journey to point A to point B is that one must endure the process. You have your airport security, the long queue to security scanner, having your boarding pass check then revalidate, long cue yet again, immigration officers who are required to act stern and judgmental about every core of a human being that you are. Wait for more than 3 hours then let’s board the plane. There then again long queue, boarding pass check again, walk, stride or run. Cramp, jammed and sit swiftly then force you to endure your coach quality seats. Wait… Just about 10 more minutes when you’re all settled finally then the worst will ascend in front of you without before you know it.
I really didn’t know what to expect. I arrived pretty late at around 1 am. All I want to do is get on a cab and head straight to our Airbnb. The Noi Bai International Airport is approximate, 45-1 hour outside the city. It is pretty easy to take a cab, but the only challenge is the language. They don’t speak much English in Hanoi, but they can comprehend any gestures or simple English. With a general sense of confusion, I looked outside the airport and was surprised on how Hanoi seems so big. The way they build their roads and bridges going into the city as if it welcomes visitors and makes its first mark on you that they are progressing as a nation.
We finally arrived at our rented apartment along West Lake. The 2 am breeze is calming and welcoming. We were greeted nicely by our host, showed us to our room and we immediately got some shut eyes. The next morning, with this energy that I have I wanted to see Hanoi in the daylight.
There are plenty of options in Hanoi that can fit any traveler’s budget. Click here to check out rates and availability per location
As I was walking randomly for hours. I sat down, tired, on a small stool and we asked the man making the food to bring us whatever he was making. The bowl of beef Pho arrived, steaming intensely and full of flavor. Hints of mint, coriander, sauces, and limes hit my senses. I took a small sip. My eyes opened intensely, gave my bowl a second look. The stock is amazingly good. It tastes clean and filling. Finally, I affirmed to myself that coming to Hanoi is a good decision. I felt at home in a foreign country. Hanoi welcomed me and I knew my stay will be splendid. In front of me is a promising city, with one of the best food culture in the world.
Hanoi is on the opposite north part of Vietnam. It is the capital city. Saigon is located in the southern part. Saigon is the most popular destination for most tourists. How do they differ from one another? Everything from the way food is prepared to how piercingly people speak to the weather is almost bipolar. They couldn’t be more different. Hanoi is the more established, adult, contented and cultured father figure, while Saigon is the young needy millennial, busy finding his place in the city and growing rapidly in many different tangents.
You can see layers reveals periods of Chinese and French occupation- you can see a glimpse of history and the resilience of Hanoians.
Dine on the wild and wonderful at every corner, sample market wares, uncover an evolving art scene, then sleep soundly in a little luxury for very little cost. Meet the people, delve into the past and witness the awakening of a Hanoi on the move.
Hanoi Neighborhoods can be simplified into 6 parts:
- Hoan Kiem is the area immediately around the lake, which acts as the center of activity
- The Old Quarter you will find all the tourist, hotels, souvenir shops and happenings. High influx of people
- The French Quarter, colonial 1900s style. A quaint place that will transport you back in time as you step foot into that place.
- West Lake, A more polished neighborhood where the affluent and most expat community reside.
- Ba Dinh, massive landmarks, and government buildings are concentrated here.
- Hai Ba Trung is the most local than any other location
If you want to be located where all the backpackers are and you miss slight chaos that’ll remind you of Saigon then, by all means, you stay around the French Quarter area. Personally, I prefer the in-between space. If you are coming to the city for only a couple of days I would recommend staying right in between the Old Quarter and West Lake. After a long day of going around, it’ll be nice to have some peace and quiet. There are plenty of options for hosted Air BnB’s to choose from that are quite reasonable.
Getting Around Hanoi
Vietnam is known to be a motorcycle country pretty much the most dominant form of transportation for locals. These bikes bully bigger cars and don’t seem to mind breaking every bit of traffic law in the city. They drive recklessly yet calculated and don’t honk most of the time even if you’re walking on the right path for pedestrians. Do not get offended though it is just the way it is with their driving culture. They aren’t mad, only a little impatient.
- There are plenty of cabs around the city, be mindful though of other cab drivers as they tend to rip you off if you’re a tourist with their meter machine running 3-4x faster. I recommend getting the ABC Taxi Co. as their flag downs and fare machine is honest and bills you the right amount.
- Should you choose to take the railway train or buses as it is cheaper. However, do not expect efficiency with drop-offs and scheduling.
- You may opt to rent a motorcycle that’ll cost you for as low as $5/day.
Scooters as far as the eye can see with three passengers each all dangerously dancing around each other like a well-rehearsed play.
What to see
I would recommend exploring the streets through walking and the everyday life of the locals. Key sights for mandatory tourist attractions that are worth visiting are:
- The Imperial Citadel
Quán Thánh, Ba Đình, Hanoi
- The Temple Of Literature
Văn Miếu, Đống Đa
- The Opera House
1 Trang Tien St, Hanoi
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Hùng Vương, Điện Biên, Ba Đình, Hà Nội
- The Perfume Pagoda
Hương Sơn, Mỹ Đức, Hanoi
Most of these sites don’t charge any fees.
There are plenty of travel stalls offering day trips to:
- Duong Lam Ancient Village
- Halong Bay (if you have been to El Nido. El Nido is way better)
- Duong Lam Ancient Village
You will read a lot of different blogs on what to do and where to go in Hanoi. What I did was to make my own mandatory food curriculum of what I had to try based on research and plain walking around the city. Hanoi has a very prominent food and coffee culture, and during my stay, I missed most of the tourist spots just so I can really immerse myself in it.
Cost Set Back Average:
- Phở- 50,000 Dong =106hp or 2.12USD
- Coffee and Egg Coffee- 50,000 Dong=95 USD or 2USD
- Bun Cha = 50,000 Dong =106hp or 2.12USD
- Bahn Mi– 25,000 Dong= 53php or 1USD
People belonging from different social class becomes equal in front of a myriad of food stalls peppered along every road and avenue. You have not truly experienced Vietnamese cuisine if you haven’t had it here. People drive in their motorbikes. Men dressed in their silk shirts and women covered from head to toe with cotton garments to protect themselves from the sun and dirt no less. They park their motorcycles in an efficient manner in front of stores. Chose where you will eat, pick from an extremely concise menu. The stalls differentiate themselves with white and block letters that signify what kind of food they are serving.
There are so many reasons for travelers to come to Hanoi, but the food and the vibe the city offers are the ones that keep me coming back.
Street Food Etiquette and Tips:
- Be ready to find the first available vacant seat, regardless of whether all the tables are beside each other.
- Sum up your sign language and pointing skills and be straight to the point regarding which food you want. Vendors can pick up easily what you are trying to say to them.
- All condiments are for sharing, don’t be surprised when someone randomly grabs your chili or sauces.
- Don’t be too picky, you will be using the chopsticks in the middle of the tables. And yes you will see these same chopsticks washed on the side of the road.
Vietnamese Phở vocabulary:
Phở: (Pho, pronounced “fuh” with u as in “but”) is an iconic Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of a clear meaty broth filled with rice noodles, cuts of meat, and topped with fresh green herbs.
Phở bo: beef soup noodles.
Phở ga: chicken soup noodles.
Phở lon: pork soup noodles.
Phở bo tai: sliced rare beef soup noodles.
Phở bo vien: noodle soup with meatballs.
Phở bắc: literally “Northern” pho, a bowl of noodle soup from Hanoi and surrounds that tend to use wider rice noodles than Southern pho as well as green onions.
Every time I am coming down with a cold and am having a serious hankering for a bowl of Pho Ga— I think about that particular day where I sat on a small stool in Hanoi and that hot bowl of Pho Ga being served right in front of me.
Cafe Dinh and Cafe Giang
Overall, the Hanoi food experience is far beyond what I was expecting. In total, we are giving Vietnam’s kitchen a whopping 4 Extra Rice Rating!
What Hanoi Represents
- Official Facebook Page
- Official Instagram Page
- Official YouTube Page
- Official Spotify Page- Curated MixTapes/Playlist
- Zomato Reviewer Profile
- TripAdvisor Top 2% Contributor
For many Filipinos, Street Food is a part of daily life. While on your way to work, to school, and to church. It’s readily available, on the street corner, at the bus stop, in the marketplace. We look for it during our 15-minute work break, after school, and whenever the craving comes. We enjoy this guilty pleasure more than we care to admit, but what is Street Food?
According to Street Food Institute, “Street food is tasty, ready-to-eat food or drink sold on the street, in a market, fair, park or other public place. It is sold by a hawker or vendor from a portable stall, cart or food truck. ”
We enjoy Street food for these reasons: It’s quick, It’s inexpensive, and it’s ethnic. Street Food is a way, to sample local delicacies and learn more about the local culture. Personally, I prefer to eat this, when I travel to see and live how the locals do.
Luckily, it’s the World Street Food Congress 2017, and for a few days, we are able to sample other countries Street Food right here in Manila. No need to get on a plane, and no need to book a hotel. Just head over to the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds for a taste of these hawker groups from all over the world.
The Makansutra group has gathered over 28 stalls with 35 different kinds of delicacies, from 12 different countries all over the world. This food jamboree was from May 31 to June 4, giving us 5 days to try all these varying global flavors.
Once we arrived at the venue, we paid an entrance fee of 150 PHP per head, the good thing is it’s consumable.
The many stalls can be quite overwhelming, so the best thing to do is to go to the whole length of the platform and review your choices before making your purchase.
For seating, there are several picnic tables available in front of the stalls, as well as, other tents.
Stall no. 8 belongs to WSFC founder KF Seetoh from Makansutra Hawkers in SM Megamall. They presented their rendition of Singapore’s Nasi Lemak. Nasi Lemak is a dish composed of rich rice cooked in coconut, topped with fried fish, sambal egg, ikan bilis, cucumber, peanuts, with a side of chicken wings served on a banana leaf. The varying textures and spices make this a flavorful and filling dish.
Chopped up pork trotters, on a bed of black bean tostadas and avocado, topped with pickled radish and cabbage. Although the dish was very vibrant, the texture was not something I enjoyed. Everything was too mushy to a fault.
One of the most popular food stalls is Mangla Chaat, offering the popular street snack Aloo Tikki – this Indian croquette is made of potatoes, onions, lentils and various spices. It is then served with 3 different sauces topped with sweetened curd, coriander, and tamarind chutney. This vegetarian dish blew me away, the contrast of the textures of the potatoes from chewy to crunchy, and the diverse flavors that vary from sweet, sour, tangy, and spicy. This was easily the best dish from the whole congress.
Here is the Street Food available per country:
- Philippines – Kaldereta Ramen, Sisig Paella, Kare Kare Palabok, Goat Sinigang, Tongue Lengua Con Setas Oliva Gua Ba, La Paz Batchoy, Empanada, Longaniza Bagnet Pizza, Pinakbet Pizza, Pork Monggo with rice, Pyanggang grilled chicken and Junay with egg, Bicol Express Risotto, Piaya, and Chicken Inasal in a pita.
- Singapore– Nasi Lemak, Coffee Pork Burger, Curry Chicken Burger, Lamb Mee Goreng, Roti John, Fried Salted Egg Yolk Pork Ribs, and Crispy Fried Cereal Chicken Chunks.
- India– Jhaal Murhi, Bhelpuri, and Aloo Tikki
- Malaysia – Putu Mayam
- Japan – Kushikatsu
- China – Chinese Style Beef Stew, Soi Lum, Red Bean Soup with Aged Tangerin Peel and Ginger Milk Custard.
- Indonesia – Bali BBQ Ribs, Batagor, and Martabak Manis.
- Mexico – Fish Taco and Pork Trotters with Black Bean Tostadas
- Taiwan – Oyster Omelette
- Thailand – Moo Ping and spicy-tangy Som Tum.
- Vietnam – Banh Xeo and Bánh Bèo.
- USA – Fish and Chips
- Germany – Currywurst
Unfortunately, I was unable to try all the dishes that the World Street Food Congress had to offer I had a few insights that I feel needs to be addressed.
Insight 1: I don’t think that Filipino Street Food was given justice and NOT WELL REPRESENTED. Where’s the isaw? Where’s the Pares? Where’s the kwek-kwek and the balut? Ask any Filipino, monggo, ramen, and sinigang will not be in their list of Street Food. However, I also liked the fact that a lot of different regions were represented. We just cannot fathom why JP Anglo and his Sarsa stall was there- Chicken Inasal in a pita pocket is not necessarily a Filipino classic street food and clearly, they do not sell their Negrese dishes on the side streets.
Street food is gate to the countries culture, by definition it’s something tasty, served fast, and sold by the street or hawker stalls. People from all walks of life are able to experience it because it’s affordable. I don’t think that’s the right venue to just serve modern Filipino food.
Ask any Filipino and majority of those food served will not be on their list of their definition of street food. Btw, some notable dishes that I thought was appropriate was the Sisig, the palabok, the batchoy, and empanada, they had a right to be there so please don’t single those dishes out.
But what would be wrong to serve what is in the eyes of most Filipinos our local street food? Taiwan did it, Vietnam did it, Singapore did it, so what’s wrong with ours? I came there as a consumer with an open mind with no bias. It seems our usual Street Food is not enough for this Congress.
Insight 2: Street food by nature is relatively inexpensive but the prices in the Congress was from 150 PHP to 300 PHP. In Filipino standards, that should already get you a good meal in a casual dining establishment.
Overall, It was a good experience and event to try all these different kinds of Street Food, all in once place without the need of getting on a plane. We’re just cringing to the fact that the Philippines, given that we’re the hosting country had been misrepresented. Nevertheless, this event is a good experience and we’re looking forward to next year.
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