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Street Smart Eats

We’ve all been there. You’re on vacation and walking by a local restaurant or food stall, and are either captivated or disgusted (or both) by what you see. Your brain says try it but your digestive system screams and runs away. What to do?

Do you take that chance, knowing that in 12 hours you will be a captive audience on a 14 hour flight home, or with your guide checking out the local hot spots? Some would, some wouldn’t. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and it is sometimes a gamble that ends with you discovering something wonderful and new. Other times, you shake your fist in the air and curse the stomach gods above. Well, we have a solution… in Hanoi anyway.

Vietnam has always been known for its vibrant culture and unbelievably tasty and fresh food. The vast majority of what you eat has literally come from a farm hours earlier and is so fresh it would put our fanciest grocery store to shame. The best place to sample Vietnamese cuisine? Why the street of course, just like all the locals. While this may be a simple idea, it can be daunting for some. Which is why we love Hanoi Street Food Tours; the brain child of Mark Lowerson (author of food blog Sticky Rice) and Van Cong Tu (known to his readers as “Vietnamese God“). The tours aim to educate travellers on the fine points of local food in Hanoi. And boy, are there a lot of choices.

Whether you want to sample the light stuff (a good bowl of pho or a bahn mi) or something a bit more adventurous (like duck embryos and some creepy crawlies), they will help you find the best of the best. You are not likely to see any other tourists on an outing like this, so be prepared to stand out a bit. But hey, that’s half the fun. Why not get out and explore, and prepare your backside for those tiny plastic stools you’ve heard so much about.

Mike Poppe spends his days planning trips here at Trufflepig, and his nights arguing for street food permits in Toronto.


A gamble that ends with you discovering something wonderful and new.

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