After checking into our hotel, we speedily made our way out to look for the famous Bun Bo Nam Bo whose beef vermicelli was said to be one of the best in Hanoi.
If you’re staying in a hotel in the Old Quarter (recommended!), it’s very easy to get around on foot as most of the best local eats are located within walking distance in this same area. Just get a SIM card and use Google Map to navigate your way around.
At the same time, there are lots to explore in the Old Quarter which also gives you the opportunity to experience the daily life of the Vietnamese. I will blog more about the Old Quarter in a separate post later.
Those were bowls of rice vermicelli at the back. And in the middle were the condiments/toppings of pickled green papaya, fried garlic and ground peanuts. The thin, long rolls on the front that were wrapped in leaves were Vietnamese sausages.
1.30pm in the afternoon but it seemed like lunch hour was over so it wasn’t crowded at all.
The menu was very simple. Basically they only specialised in Bun Bo Nam Bo which was Beef Noodle Salad but they also had herbal chicken soup, sausages and some mantou-looking buns. The moment you’re seated, someone will come to your table to take order. Don’t worry if you don’t speak their language. Just point to the picture on the wall and tell them the number of portions you want in English.
Thought we would try the sausages so we ordered one of each that came with a chilli dipping sauce.
The one on top was Nem Chua (6,000 VND) which I didn’t like because it was sour in a rancid (‘chao sng’) way but Hubby totally enjoyed it (weird tastebuds, haha). The one below was Gio (6,000 VND) and it tasted much better – like a chewy ham with banana leaf aroma.
The Bun Bo Nam Bo (60,000 VND) looked like an ordinary beef noodle salad but when I had my first mouthful, I was totally sold and started smiling away. It was really good and the more I ate, the more I wanted it, lol. Not sure why they would consider this a salad but it was actually served warm like a dry beef noodle. Well, it wasn’t like totally dry either because it came with a flavoursome dressing that was both sweet and salty and I could definitely taste fish sauce and sugar in it. The key was really the balance of the flavours and I must say they nailed it.
Portion of the beef was really generous – you would get meat in every mouthful. Not extremely tender but not very chewy either. There were also ground peanuts, fried garlic, bean sprouts, lettuce, pickled green papaya and herbs that really added textures and crunch. The whole combination was just delicious beyond words.
Once you’re done with your meal, just gesture to one of the staff or stand up. Someone will come by to calculate your total bill and you just have to go to the front and give cash to the lady boss. This is generally how most eateries in Hanoi work. Staff don’t handle money, only the boss does. And it’s quite easy to tell who’s the boss. He/she would likely be sitting behind a drawer with cash inside or holding a stack of notes in his/her hand.
Though their Bun Bo Nam Bo was one of the most expensive ones considering others were priced around 35,000 VND or so, they were very generous with the beef and the portion was really substantial for the price paid so I would say it was still very value-for-money. Plus this bowl was way more tasty than some random ones I had elsewhere. Must try!
Bun Bo Nam Bo
67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem
Opening hours: 11.00am to 10.00pm daily