A PHOTO ESSAY
Hanoi is crazy. The kind of crazy that swiftly lifts you off the ground and whirls you around in its very own tornado of chaos, slowly shaking off memories of other Asian travel, until it roots itself firmly at the top of your best-visited cities. Motorcycles whir past at a dizzying speed, hawkers look at you with preying eyes and young backpackers stand at street corners looking entranced or bewildered. Maybe that’s the reason that food here has adapted to a vegan palette-so many backpackers and Instagrammers stormed Vietnam in the past two years, demanding their share of delight, that restaurants and take-aways started to notice the need for greener foods.
VEGAN COOKING CLASS
I lovvvvveeee cooking classes, albeit, having only done one prior to this during a 2018 Thailand trip. The spices used, procedures followed in cooking and attitudes towards food in any country are of the most authentic, honest and insightful indicators of that land’s culture. And so, I signed up for a cooking class before even arriving in Hanoi, having never really tried Viet food before, and with almost no knowledge of what Viet cuisine entailed. I usually sign up for classes on AirBnb Experiences. The photos below were all taken during that class, conducted by Rose Kitchen. (https://rosekitchen.com.vn/#/)
Above, left, fruit salad, right, Viet spring rolls.
I had truly never seen a mango-steen (bottom right) before this trip.
Banh Mi is Vietnam’s famed sandwich, which can be bought at roadside hawkers, little take-aways and almost all sit down cafes. Layered toppings are squished between a sinfully satisfying toasted loaf. I managed to find a particular cafe, An Bread, a little away from where I was staying, and to which I returned to every day for my daily indulgence. The cafe had an incredible variety of vegan and vegetarian options for their fillings, which I didn’t quite see anywhere else. The Cafe can be found here https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g293924-d12415514-Reviews-An_Bread-Hanoi.html. I often accompanied my Banh Mi with a freshly-made towering pineapple juice.
Vietnamese markets are incredibly vibrant and bustling. Street hawkers line the road, offering up an array of fresh fruits and vegetables; many vendors peeling the fruit for you. While being out and about and breathing in the electric Viet air, munching on fruit is a sure way to subside hunger.
To date, Vietnam remains one of my most treasured travel memories, and I would whole-heartedly recommend a trip to any traveler. I, personally, can’t wait to return.