NEWS: In 2017, we will not be available to conduct tours at the following times:

July 1-3, August 20-23, October 20-23, December 2-10

The food available in Hanoi's narrow alleys and tree-lined boulevards is just as much a part of the city as its lakes and old world architecture. In fact, all of these elements combine with the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people to produce a lively culinary scene that is both diverse and confronting.

Over the past twelve years, 'the god' (Van Cong Tu, author of the blog 'Vietnamese God') and 'Sticky' (Mark Lowerson, author of the blog Stickyrice) have been traversing the streets of Vietnam's capital, as well as cutting a wider arc through other regions of Vietnam and beyond, wolfing down between us virtually everything on offer.

Tu is an accredited tour guide with more than 17 years experience in the tourism and hospitality industry. He is an expert on the cuisine of the south-central coast, having grown up in Nha Trang and frequent visits to Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc Island make him very well-versed in what people are feeding their faces with in the south, too. But Hanoi is where he dwells and its chaotic web of lanes and alleys are where he eats most. Tu knows the market vendors and they like him.

Mark has been resident in Hanoi since January 2002, eating on the streets here from day one. The blog 'Stickyrice' is one of the longest running foodblogs, with the first post dated May 2005. Named in The Times Online's 50 Best Foodblogs in 2009 (at #22), 'Stickyrice' has been featured on 'Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie' and as part of SBS's Featured Foodie series.

We specialise in Vietnam's streetfood and wet markets and have recently designed a series of itineraries for travellers and food enthusiaists. These tours have been carefully planned to give visitors to Vietnam an authentic taste of a country very attuned to the rhythms of food through the day and through the seasons. Together, we visit the street stalls and markets, sampling the produce and eating from their dishes and bowls, as well as cooking with the ingredients at home.
Our tours range from three hour morning, afternoon or evening walks to a full-day eat-a-thon. The most popular tour is the 3 hour (8.30am-11.30pm) morning tour which typically includes a street market walk (with ongoing explanations of food practices, strange food items, some delicacies), a visit to ceremonial cake stalls, a special French dessert, the food sections of Hanoi's main Dong Xuan market, a streetfood alley for a noodle lunch, fruit stalls and coffee at an historic old quarter cafe.

A full day (9am-3pm) itinerary for foodie tragics (including more market visits and more street snacks and drinks) is also available. It encompasses a deeper look at ingredients and is ideal for those in the food industry, whether they be chefs, food writers, indeed anyone with an enthusiasm for food, whether it be in the eating or the cooking! All tours are inclusive of all food/drinks and are conducted entirely on foot after Tu meets and greets at the hotel.

Tu and Mark can also customise tours for particular interests if given sufficient advance notice. For more information and/or to book a tour, email both Tu: tuvancong2003@gmail.com and Mark: lowiemark@yahoo.com.au


Friday, 23 September 2011

Eat Walk Love

Dong Xuan market

Since we started our first street food tour offically a few months ago, this is the first time we've written about the experience with our clients (with their permission, of course).

Loretta

Mrs Loretta joined our morning tour and she wanted the experience to be a surprise so Tu didn't show her any of the itineraries. Tu took her by motorbike and started the day by trying a delicious fish noodle soup called bún cá. This dish incorporates crunchy pieces of fried fish with different herbs, including dill, bean shoots, mustard leaves and of course, the noodles.

Dong Xuan market

The tour continued through one of Hanoi's wet markets where Loretta enjoyed the atmosphere very much, saying it was very different to the markets back in Australia. More streetfood followed in the form of Hanoi's signature lunch dish, bún chả, which combines grilled pork belly and pork patties with noodles, herbs in a wonderful warm fish sauce based broth. A stop at a traditional Vietnamese coffee house rounded out the tour and Loretta was definitely full by the end.

Tu - Viola

Another client was Viola, a Canadian expat who has been living in Hanoi for a long time. We did the tour on a pretty cool day and she enjoyed the hot chicken noodle soup (phở gà) to start. We walked through a wet market and Tu explained the different ways of cooking in Vietnam, something Viola appreciated a lot as she loves spending time in the kitchen. After that, Viola also learned about wedding and offering culture in Vietnam which is something unique to this part of the world. We finished our morning trip by having coffee and exchanging our coffee experiences.

Sometimes I learn a little something from my clients, too.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Braised Eggplant with Pork

Eggplants

Like most Vietnamese people, I can cook some basic daily dishes but I really enjoy cooking for my good friends. I love trying new recipes but I always put my own interpretation in there and don't always follow the recipes or the rules for cooking. Luckily the dishes normally turn out pretty tasty. I would like to introduce this recipe on our Street Food Tour website one of the dish called Braised Eggplant With Pork. I cooked it over the weekend for some friends.

Vinh Long - Eggplants

Cooking Vietnamese food doesn't take lots of time or preparation. I cut preparation time by asking my vegie vendor, who is fantastic, peel and sometimes chop the vegetables at the market. This dish takes next to no time to prepare but the key is allowing the eggplants to soften and take on the other flavours.

For 4 to 6 people:
Eggplant 4 : slice into batons
Pork 200 grams : slice into batons
Gala Thau - Pickled dried radish : slice into batons
Ginger : thinly sliced
Chilli : thinly sliced
Onion : diced
Garlic : finely chopped
Chicken powder
Oyster sauce
Sugar
Soya sauce
Coriander to garnish

Eggplants

Stir fry the eggplants in oil for a few minutes for color and tenderness then put them on a plate. Stir fry garlic, add pork then Gala Thau for three minutes. Add chicken powder, oyster sauce, a little bit of sugar and soya sauce. Keep stir frying for 5 minutes then return the eggplants, ginger, onion and chilli and stir fry for a minute or two more.

I think this is such an easy (but very tasty) dish in which eggplants are the star.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Taste of Hanoi Street Food

Banh xeo - pancake(Crispy)
The food available in Hanoi's narrow alleys and tree-lined boulevards is just as much a part of the city as its lakes and old world architecture. In fact, all of these elements combine with the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people to produce a lively culinary scene that is both diverse and confronting.


Thit Nuong - Hoi An
Over the past ten years, 'the god' (Van Cong Tu, author of the blog 'Vietnamese God') and myself (Mark Lowerson, otherwise known as 'Sticky' in the pages of his blog, 'Stickyrice') have been traversing the streets of Vietnam's capital, as well as cutting a wider arc through other regions of Vietnam and beyond, wolfing down between us virtually everything on offer.


Grilled pork with noodles at Duong Dong market - Phu Quoc
Tu is an accredited tour guide with more than 15 years experience in the tourism and hospitality industry. He is an expert on the cuisine of the south-central coast, having grown up in Nha Trang and frequent visits to Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc Island make him very well-versed in what people are feeding their faces with in the south, too. But Hanoi is where he dwells and its chaotic web of lanes and alleys are where he eats most. Tu knows the market vendors and they like him.


Seafood seller
Mark has been resident in Hanoi since January 2002, eating on the streets here from day one. The blog 'Stickyrice' is one of the longest running foodblogs, with the first post dated May 2005. Named in The Times Online's 50 Best Foodblogs in 2009 (at #22), 'Stickyrice' has been featured on 'Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie' and as part of SBS's Featured Foodie series.


Dong Xuan market
We specialise in Vietnam's streetfood and wet markets and have recently designed a series of itineraries for travellers and food enthusiaists. These tours have been carefully planned to give visitors to Vietnam an authentic taste of a country very attuned to the rhythms of food through the day and through the seasons. Together, we visit the street stalls and markets, sampling the produce and eating from their dishes and bowls, as well as cooking with the ingredients at home.


Macleod's family
Our tours range from a one hour market familiarisation to a full-day eat-a-thon. The most popular tour is the 3 hour (9am-12pm) morning tour which kicks off at Hanoi's old East Gate, and includes a typical street market walk (Tu explains food practices, strange food items, some delicacies), a visit to ceremonial cake stalls, a special French dessert, the food sections of Hanoi's main Dong Xuan market, a streetfood alley for a noodle lunch, fruit stalls and coffee at an historic old quarter cafe.


Dong Xuan market
A full day (9am-3pm) itinerary for foodie tragics (including more market visits and more street snacks and drinks) is also available. For those more in tune with the evenings (5pm-8pm), we also offer a tour of snacks, beers and street noodles, followed by streetside dessert. All tours are inclusive of all food/drinks and are conducted entirely on foot after Tu meets and greets at the hotel.

Beef salad
Tu and Mark can also customise tours for particular interests if given sufficient advance notice. For more information and/or to book a tour, email both Tu: tuvancong2003@yahoo.com and Mark: lowiemark@yahoo.com.au