Pocket guide to Hanoi's Old Quarter

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					Pocket guide to Hanoi's Old Quarter

                                     It's Southeast Asia's ultimate maze of good eats, great shopping,
                                     beer bars and local color -- we've condensed it for you

                                     The Green Tangerine in Hanoi's Old Quarter meets all expectations
                                     of colonial Asian seductiveness.

                                     When you think of Hanoi, you’re really thinking of the 36 meandering
                                     13th-century streets of the city’s storied Old Quarter.

                                     Here are some of the best in-the-know addresses to call at in the Old

Contemporary quarter

Modern Vietnamese style lights up the interiors of Tan My Design. Hanoi's designers choose the
antiquated setting of the Old Quarter to showcase their work.

See the best of Vietnamese style in clothes, jewelry and homewares on the streets of Nha Tho and Ly
Quoc Su on the western fringe of the Hoan Keim Lake.

Some shops feature updates of traditional Vietnamese aesthetics, some are trendy and cool, all are
original products, distinctly local, if a little pricey.

Quaint boutiques like Song are packed with elegant garments and soft furnishings in natural fabrics like
cotton and silk. Designer Valerie Gregori McKenzie employs independent local female seamstresses to
do hand stitching.

Mosaique is a home decor treasure trove of beaded cushions, lamps, and throws.

Glass-fronted labyrinth Tan My Design on Hang Gai is a great spot to try on the collections of local
designers such as Minh Hanh and Ha Truong.

Song, 27 Nha Tho; +84 4 3928 8733;

Mosaique, 22 Nha Tho; +84 4 3928 6181;

Tan My Design, 61 Hang Gai; +84 4 3938 1154;

No pressure over "ca phe"

 Vietnam is one of the world's top producers of coffee, exporting 1.2 billion tons in the first seven months
of 2012. Hanoi’s coffee joints may be Parisian in style, but those glasses of "cà phê" are as
quintessentially Vietnamese as the "non la" conical hat. This is after all, the capital of a country that is
second only to Brazil in the coffee production rankings.

Moca, with its exposed brickwork and classical movie stills, is a great place to take some time-out and
people-watch while discovering Hanoi’s robusta bean buzz. The food is not bad, but not great either, with
a mix of Western and Vietnamese dishes.

The city’s hipsters can be found reclining amid old gramophones and a jumble of 1960s kitsch at Bar
Betta from morning cuppa to night cap.
The ever-busy Avalon Café’s balconied lake-view lounge and sky garden is a great place to rise above
the street-level motorbike melee.

Moca, 14–16 Nha Tho; +84 4 3825 6334

Bar Betta, 34C Cao Ba Quat; +84 4 3734 9134

Avalon Café, 73 Cau Go, 9 Dinh Tien Hoang; +84 4 3926 0801

The streets are your restaurant

The best restaurant for bun cha in Hanoi is the streets of the Old Quarter.Going local is the best way to
eat in Hanoi's Old Quarter.

The most popular joints are open to the streets, with low tables and seats spilling out onto the pavement.

Cha Ca La Vong claims to be the oldest restaurant in Vietnam, purportedly serving since 1873. Their
specialty is "cha ca," a butter-coated fish sautéed with dill, turmeric and spring onions with sides of
peanuts, vermicelli noodles and assorted leafy greens.

The cramped, grimy but good Bun Bo Nam Bo does a roaring trade in southern-style beef with noodles.

For bun cha, the charcoal-grilled pork patties with vermicelli noodles and herbs, try Bun Cha Dac Kim and
head to Ngo Phat Loc, a small lane along Hang Be, to try bun dau, bite-sized bits of fried tofu served with
packed rice noodles, herbs and your choice of sauce.

Sugar cane juice, or "nuoc mia," is a standard pick-me-up and mobile vendors patrol the streets all day

But for something with a little more kick, head to the corners of Luong Ngoc Quyen and Ta Hien streets,
affectionately know as bia hoi corner, a hub for home-brewed “draft beer.”

Cha Ca La Vong, 14 Cha Ca; +84 4 3825 3929

Bun Bo Nam Bo, 67 Hang Dieu; +84 4 3923 0701

Bun Cha Dac Kim, 1 Hang Manh; +84 4 3828 5022;

Dress for dinner, if you must

Vietnamese summer beef salad at Highway 4. As well as hawker stalls and street kitchens, the Old
Quarter has its fair share of haute tables.

The food at these funky restaurants is top-notch and dress codes are not enforced, but you wouldn't look
out of place if you swapped your flip-flops for shoes and tank top for a collared shirt.

At the Parisian brasserie-like Green Tangerine, French specialties and traditional Vietnamese fare like
spring rolls and fried fish in tamarind sauce are served alongside chef Stephane Yvin’s menu of
experimental concoctions. There's the marinated pigeon with cocoa and coffee or duck with orange candy
After years of success with his fusion Vietnamese outlet La Verticale, Brittany-born, award-winning chef
Didier Corlou opened the more relaxed Madame Hien in April 2010 as a tribute to his wife’s grandmother
and “all of Vietnam’s hardworking women."

The menu at the gorgeous white and orange colonial villa is centered on fresh market produce and the
story of the Old Quarter’s 36 streets. Instant standouts include fried sweet-and-sour lobster with orange
and beef pho served Hanoi-style -- but without the usual lashings of MSG.

Highway 4 takes patrons on a culinary journey through the mountain regions of Northern Vietnam by way
of an extensive menu of delicious familiar-sounding and more exotic meat and seafood dishes. If you
have a hankering for crickets roasted in pig fat, home-cured buffalo or crocodile ribs, you’ll find it here,
along with House of Son Tin rice liquors.

Green Tangerine Cafe & Restaurant, 48 Hang Be; +84 4 3825 1286;

Madame Hien, 15 Chan Cam; +84 4 3938 1588

Highway 4, 3 Hang Tre; +84 4 3926 4200; one of four outlets,

Take-home traditions

 Few streets in the Old Quarter retain their original purpose. Hang Bac was once the guild street of
silversmiths, now it's tombstone carvers.The Old Quarter has trinkets in spades. Gifts and conversation-
starters for the folks back home are all on sale here. The more traditional the gift, the better.

Vietnamese street signs in the Old Quarter reveal what craftsmen originally sold along each thoroughfare
600 years ago.

While few of the streets have stayed true to their original trade, these still hold on:

Head to Hang Manh, "bamboo blind" street, for traditional handmade Vietnamese instruments.

The owners at Thai Khue are happy to let you try before you buy, and while 16-string zithers and dan
gaoI, a fiddle with coconut shell resonator, are a great challenge for musicians and do look cool on the
wall, it is easier to learn to play the four-string dan tu.

Traders along the aromatic Lang Ong street, named for an 18th-century physician, still purvey every kind
of herb and spice, heaped everywhere in buckets and bins and encased within hundreds of tiny drawers
within vast, dark wooden cabinets lining the walls.

Hanoi’s frenetic buzz wearing you down? Try some well-roasted tao nhan, or Chinese apple seed, to
soothe raw nerves and promote sleep; or dan sam, “the soothing stick” reputed to reduce anxiety and
stress without drowsiness.

Hang Gai, or "silk goods" street still is home to shops stacked to the rafters with multi-colored rolls of
fabric. It is a good place to shop for silk scarves and clothing.

Thai Khue, 1A Hang Manh; +84 4 3828 9469

For more information about Vietnam travel tips and advices: please visit travel agent in Vietnam

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Description: It's Southeast Asia's ultimate maze of good eats, great shopping, beer bars and local color -- we've condensed it for you