We’re seeing some sights while in Hanoi, but our focus is on food. Thanks to the Gastronomer, we’re finding good restaurants. My favorite so far has been Cha Ca Thang Long where there’s only one thing on the menu: Cha Ca. The marinated fish is added along with scallions and dill to a grill pan on the table. You eat it with bun (rice vermicelli), nuoc mam (fish sauce), fresh veggies and peanuts.
We also went to Wild Rice as a last meal with Spice Roads. The food and service are impeccable. Standouts in my mind are the Nem Tom Chuoi (shimp and banana fried eggrolls) and the braised eggplant. Any fried banana dish usually stands out in my mind, and the braised eggplant was perfectly sweet and succulent.
Xoi Xeo at Xoi Yen was another great suggestion from the Gastronomer. You have your choice of one of three xoi (sticky rice) and even more choices of meat to go on top. Perfect (and cheap) lunch if you’re in the Old Quarter.