| STAFF – Hanoi is many things. Search online and you’ll find lists upon lists of positive, often superlative, descriptors. To me, I’ll say it’s my favorite city in Southeast Asia and one of the reasons is its cheap, high-quality food. At an eatery called Xoi Yen, near the pleasant and value-for-money lodgings play Golden Spring Hotel (CAD 28 a night with a very good breakfast spread, fairly-priced laundry, and excellent customer service) in the Old Quarter, walk towards Sword Lake (Hoàn Kiếm Lake) and about 2 blocks down, for about two Canadian dollars and fifty cents, you can get a balanced meal that is as follows:
(a) a bowl of not just rice, sticky rice with
(b) not just pork, stewed and marinated tender pork (there is also a moist, grilled chicken option)
(c) nutritious and fibre-packed yellow bean,
(d) a side of pickled cucumber chunks whose tangy sweetness and acidity add a flavor dimension, cut the fat from the pork, and offer texture variance to the density of the rice
(e) a cup of tea
Sit like a local (and among them) in one of two sections:
(1) main floor street-side with pedestrian passers-by and the bustle of a world-class prep-area launching dishes rapid fire before your eyes or
(2) second floor – home to one of the smallest bathrooms ever and an open eating area without windows offering an airy experience so you can hear sounds outside and in.
Seats and tables are low to the floor so prepare to hunch and bend those legs. With this down-to-Earth chow time, Hanoi has all the bases covered making it just one of many reasons I loved this city when I was there last December.
Tags: chicken, food review, hanoi, pork, sticky rice, value eats, Vietnam, vietnamese, vietnamese cuisine