Happy new year! 2017 was so incredible, and I can’t wait for what 2018 brings.
One of the things I’ve realised is that I really enjoy exploring places on my own, something I didn’t realise until I went on my trip to Mexico City last February. Being able to set your own pace is really nice, and I find you end up getting to know a place in a different way when you go alone. So when I was given the option to spend a day in Hanoi before meeting up with everyone else in Hoi An, I jumped at the opportunity.
I booked my flight through Vietnam Airlines, arriving at 7.00 am or so on a Friday. My flight to Da Nang was scheduled for 11 am the following day, giving me around 24 hours in total to explore. While I wanted to make the most of my layover in Hanoi, I didn’t want to add too much pressure, and I had such a great day.
I ended up booking a cheap room near Hoam Kiem, the Old Quarter near the lake. I’m glad I did, as there was so much to see and do – and after checking in and having a shower, I started off my day walking round the lake after picking up an egg coffee.
The combination that makes up egg coffee was unlike anything I’ve tried before. It’s basically like someone dumped an egg custard (egg yolks, condensed milk, sugar, cocoa powder) in a coffee, drank it anyway, and started a trend. While it was far too sweet for my taste, I’m really glad I tried it, and definitely see the appeal – it’s incredibly rich, sweet and creamy. If you’re into eggnog lattes, I’d definitely give it a go!
I was in too much of a jetlagged stupor to remember where exactly I picked up my Hanoi egg coffee fix, but I’ve heard great things about Cafe Pho Co.
While I was aimlessly wandering around I came across a shop that had the most beautiful ceramics – I found it incredibly hard to leave (I ended up buying several pieces). I came away with several beautiful pieces, and all so reasonably priced (around £3-£7 mark for most items I bought). The Authentic Battrang Ceramic Shop (62 Hang Hom) is definitely worth a look if you’re in the area – just make sure you clear out enough space in your bag.
At this point I’d killed a few hours just aimlessly wandering and exploring, and so I made my way to make it in time for my only appointment for the day – a cooking class at Madam Yen’s.
It was just around the corner from my hotel, and when popped in to see if I could book onto their 2pm class a couple of hours before. I’m so glad I did! I love exploring markets in other countries, but am always so curious about ingredients, so being able to get the answers to my questions was something I really appreciated.
After the market tour, the other students and I headed back to the restaurant for our class – it was a small one, just the three of us, but a lovely way to pass a few hours.
At the end of it, I came out with a delicious meal – spring rolls, banana blossom salad, and pork bun cha. According to the chef, they are also able to cater for vegetarians, too! The experience set me back $45, which I thought was great value given the quality of the lesson (we were given recipes to take away), and the length of the food tour.
After my delicious meal I ended up heading back to my hotel to get a proper nights sleep. If I had longer in Hanoi, I would have also checked out the Green Tangerine (which came highly recommended by several people with excellent taste), Sentosa, and a Taste of Hanoi food tour.