Forget chicken, beef, fish and shrimp, time to try out all that’s weird and wonderful on the Hanoi cuisine scene. Edward Dalton hits the weird food hotspots in the capital with not a dog or cat in sight. Photos by Julie Vola
Thanks to Hanoi Taco Bar (6 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem), the city now has a place focused on the unusual double act of tacos and cocktails. The brainchild of founders Leo Smith, Will Reeve and Charles Jeammot, Hanoi Taco Bar (HTB) is situated in a bustling Old Quarter street in the heart of Hoan Kiem.
Tucked away close to the East-West Highway sits a beautifully pristine French colonial facade, patiently waiting to be discovered. Inside, the restaurant is a fusion of east and west, with strategic mirrors that add light and space to the room, and beautiful ceramic tiles on the floor. Even the bathrooms create a luxurious experience with their long mirrors and elegant sinks.
On the edge of the Old Quarter lies a small café that has the power the teleport your mind to Hogwarts. The walls are lined with fake Harry Potter newspapers and butter beer signs; flying brooms hang from the ceiling. You don’t have to be a Potterhead (as serious Harry Potter fans call themselves) to enjoy all the quirkiness and photo opportunities scattered throughout the café. If you’ve been searching for your magic wand, medallion or tie affiliating you to a certain Hogwarts School of Wizardly, Always café has several Harry Potter memorabilia up for sale.
For a city nestled within South-East Asia, Saigon has a lot of fantastic Italian food restaurants, and Pendolasco is no exception. The establishment has been serving up delicious pizza, pasta, and seafood to the city for almost 20 years now and shows no signs of slowing down. With a second location in District 2, delivery, and a gigantic menu, the Pendolasco team has you covered no matter what Italian food it is you’re craving.
BirdCage is probably one of the most unusual late-night spots in Hanoi. In order to get there you have to turn into a small dirt road off Au Co, and drive down a field. You’ll all of a sudden see the lights and hear the music. There is a curtain of vines that you walk through before entering the bar, that with its off-the-beaten-path location, really makes it feel like you’ve discovered a hidden gem.