Many people are drawn to a destination just because of how well it triggers their appetite, and for that reason, Hanoi is one of the world’s greatest cities to visit, The Telegraph recommends.
The U.K. newspaper published a list of “the world’s 17 greatest cities for food” on February 26 and the Vietnamese capital grabbed second spot, after Tokyo.
“Hanoi’s compact old center is arguably the better place to sample the balance of salt, sweet, sour and spice in Vietnamese cuisine,” it said, comparing the city with the popular southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, which is “more international”.
|"Pho tiu" in Hanoi. Photos by Ngoi Sao/Shironeko
Hanoi is where one can take to the streets and eat like a local, it said.
The city offers some of the most popular Vietnamese dishes such as "banh mi", a baguette usually filled with grilled pork, meatballs or cold cuts, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, liver pâté and a swipe of mayonnaise, or "com tam", which is broken rice with grilled pork, pig skin, egg and fish sauce.
But tourists can also jump into more exotic dishes like "pho tiu", a sweet and sour noodle dish originating in China and arriving in Hanoi via Ho Chi Minh City.
It is an assortment of roasted pork slices, bean shoots, herbs, crushed nuts and dried shallots on a bed of noodles, topped off with fish sauce, vinegar, thickened pork bone broth and light brown oil.
For dessert, the newspaper recommended egg coffee, an unlikely beverage favored particularly on cold days. It is a blend of coffee and egg whites, folded with sugar and drunk hot or cold. Say “café trung” and you will be served.\
The Telegraph did not mention "pho" or "bun cha", although both are among tourists’ favorite things to try in Hanoi.
US news site Business Insider last October published a bucket list with 50 attractions, foods and experiences one must try in Asia, and among them was “a steamy bowl of pho in Hanoi”.
In May last year, a plastic stool restaurant near Hanoi’s Old Quarter also earned global fame after serving "bun cha", a combination of grilled pork patties, cold dipping sauce, fresh vegetables and rice vermicelli, to Barrack Obama, which made him “so happy,” according to his companion celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.
The Telegraph list mostly focuses on Europe and America. Other Asian cities that made the list are Jaipur in India, Bangkok in Thailand, Singapore and Chengdu in China.