|Hoan Kiem Lake
I have reserved to stay in Hanoi 3 nights and I have basically 2 full days to explore what the city has to offer.
In the first night of my arrival I just went out to grab something to eat. I was too tired to do anything else.
|Cha ca - fish dish @Hong Hoai's Restaurant
The next day I explored the Old Quarter. Hanoi's historic heart, the Old Quarter is home to over 1000 years of trade, commerce and activity, with no signs of slowing down.
The streets uproar never ends but this is what makes the city feel alive!
|The famous egg coffee @ Cafe Giảng
Egg coffee first hatched (pun intended) in 1946 in Hanoi, Vietnam. An individual by the name of Giang worked at the Metropole Hotel as a bartender. During this time, it was unusual for locals to work for foreign companies, but Giang was a real go-getter. He was passionate and very talented in his pursuits; so when a milk shortage struck Vietnam, he figured out that creamy egg yolks and sugar would make a perfect substitute.
Giang then started making the curious concoction for hotel guests and they LOVED it! Soon, word got around of his talent, and he left his job at the Metropole to open a small coffee shop serving his now famous Vietnamese egg coffee (ca phe trung).
To continue the food tour, for a quick bite to get my energy level up, I tried bahn mi sandwich. It was delicious and exactly what I needed to continue my stroll.
|Banh mi @Bánh Mì 25
|Phung Hung Mural Street
|Pho bo - beef noodle soup
On my way back to the accommodation I wandered on Ta Hien Beer Street.
|Ta Hien Beer Street
Popularly known as the 'International Intersection', the Ta Hien Street in Hanoi is where the western culture meets the eastern. Foreigners and tourists come to this place quite often. A beer and food heaven, this crowded street is full of small alleyways with luxury restaurants, sidewalk shops and local vendors selling affordable beer and delicious Vietnamese dishes.
I've started my second day in Hanoi at Hanoi Coffee Station to have breakfast and some coffee. This time I've tried another speciality. Vietnam has a rich coffee heritage and the ‘Phin’ (filter) is a key element in the Vietnamese way of enjoying coffee. Roast and ground coffee is placed into the metal filter that sits over a cup collecting the rich coffee liquid slowly dripping down.
|Vietnamese Women's Museum
|Heritage House interior furniture
|Bach Ma Temple
Formerly, the temple was named Lon Do. Then, it was changed to Bach Ma to tell the story of King Ly Thai To’s relocating the imperial capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (Hanoi nowadays) in 1010 AD.
Plenty of historical records say that the King kept failing in his attempt to build the new citadel without any clear explanations. Only when he got his courtier to pray did he notice a white horse coming out of the Lon Do temple, wandering and leaving tracks on the ground before vanishing. From that moment, Ly Thai To ordered to build the citadel walls alongside of the marked tracks and succeeded in moving forward till completion. Since then, he decided to change the name of Lon Do Temple to Bach Ma (meaning “white horse”).
Another highlight of the tour was the house where Ho Chi Minh stayed from August 23, 1945 to read the Declaration of Independence marking the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, on September 2 the same year.
|The living room
After the tour I was starving so I went to try another Vietnamese dish, banh cuon, steamed rice crepes with minced pork, mushrooms and shrimp. It sounded delicious, and it was, but not that fulfilling. This makes it a good appetiser.