Vietnam is a country that I have been wanting to visit for awhile but I could never find a travel partner for it. I finally found one in YQ, an old friend of mine, who happened to be free at the same time as me. So off we headed off to Hanoi for 5 days, 4 night. It was a really packed itinerary because we really wanted to go for a Halong Bay overnight cruise and a day trip to the Perfume Pagoda (more on that later).
We stayed at the Art Trendy Hotel for all the days that we were in Hanoi. They provided excellent service even before we checked-in, patiently answering all our questions especially when we asked them for cruise operator recommendations. (Tip: Sometimes hotel recommendations come with a discount so be sure to ask!) Immediately after checking in to our room (code for exclaiming over the huge bathroom, an in-room laptop, and flower petals on our bed), we hot-footed it out into the streets of Hanoi, ready to explore the Old Quarter.
Our first target on the "Vietnamese-Food-We-Must-Eat" list was Cha Ca La Vong (grilled fish). We headed to the original 100-year old restaurant at 14 Cha Ca Street (yes, there is an entire street named after the dish!) Because we were there at the odd hour of after lunch and before dinner, we had the place to ourselves. The fish is cooked at the table in a pool of fragrant oil, with vegetables mixed in for a bit of a crunch. You then eat it with the rice noodles, nuts and some fish sauce. Absolutely delicious! (Tip: Each portion is priced at 170,000VND (10SGD) which is pretty pricey for budget-friendly Vietnam.)
With one food item scratched off the list, we headed outwards of the Qld Quarter.