What is the purpose of this website?
Hanoi Food is an attempt of mine to help travellers to find amazing street food in the touristy parts of Hanoi.
I have spent a number of months in Hanoi, and I found it quite amazing how the city really opens up once you get to know a few different foods. I am a massive foody, and there are classics such as noodle soup and vietnamese style sandwiches that anyone can find, but until I knew where to look, finding new and interesting local food was quite difficult because of the language barrier.
There's some key questions which a traveller asks when they want to eat:
What can I eat?
You can see people eating on small stalls all over Vietnam, but it can be a bit intimidating to ask for something new - it's embarrasing to point at some food that someone else is eating, and trying to ask that you want that. Many authentic Vietnamese food stalls don't have menus and only offer one meal. Since they often don't speak English, knowing what you're ordering is difficult until you start to learn the language.
Where can I eat?
I found it easy as a foreigner to fall back on the food that I knew rather than finding something new to eat. However, there are some meals that you can't get unless you go to a certain street in Hanoi. So knowing where to go is just as important as knowing what you want to eat.
How much should it cost?
My personal view on Vietnamese is that in every day life, they're quite selfish - if you give them too much money out of confusion, there's a good chance that they'll take the money if they can get away with it.
Learning to speak the numbers (although possible and very helpful) is difficult because Vietnamese is a tonal language. Getting used to how much things shoudl cost in the city is a bit difficult, so having a guide (or website!) tell you the rough prices helps a lot.
How do I eat it?
We've been eating our home cuisine all our lives, so coming accross something as fresh and different as Vietnamese is quite the experience.
I remember sitting down in a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris and ordering some soup. At first they brought a bunch of vegetables and I was quite embarrased as I didn't think it was what I had ordered. Either way, I started tucking in and didn't think much of it. A minute or so later, they brought out the soup (of which it turns out I'm supposed to add the vegetables to depending on my preference). I felt very silly.
Having the website tell you what should be dipped where makes the whole experience a little less scary.
The website is definitely not finished but did begin to shape up before I left Hanoi. I think there's real potential in such a website - not just for Hanoi, but all of Asia.