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Travel

The Traveling Man: Hanoi, Vietnam

By: Yang-Yi Goh|September 29, 2015

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Bun Bo Nam Bo

From the moment you step inside this hole-in-the-wall noodle joint, you’re inundated with an intoxicating wave of aromas: beef caramelizing on the grill; fragrant cilantro and freshly chopped peanuts; tangy cupfuls of fermented fish sauce. You’ll find all of that and more in every bowl of their signature vermicelli, which tantalizes and transfixes the tongue with each delicious slurp.



bunbonambo.com

Eat: Banh Mi 25

Best way to begin a day in Hanoi? With a mind-meltingly perfect banh mi from this tiny, family-run roadside cart. For just 25,000 dong—roughly $1.40 Canadian—you’ll get a hefty pile of barbequed pork, savoury sausage, fresh pate and pickled veggies on a warm, lightly toasted baguette. Don’t be sheepish about ordering seconds; it’s not everyday you get a little taste of heaven.



25 Hang Ca, Hoan Kiem

Halia

Halia

This leafy, laidback lunch spot serves up clever interpretations of iconic dishes from across Southeast Asia, like an Indonesian-style beef rendang curry, Thai shrimp satay salad and a spaghetti that uses Singaporean chili crab as its sweet, spicy sauce.



thehalia.com

La Badiane

Don’t be fooled by the spartan courtyard setting at this bistro. The sublime tasting menus—prepared by Parisian wunderkind Benjamin Rascalou—inflect classic French plates with just a hint of local flavor. A duo of beef tenderloin and foie gras, for instance, comes spiked with a zesty kick of Sichuan peppers and mango. And to finish, a serving of blackcurrant pepper sorbet—straight from the coastal island of Phu Quoc—cuts through the richness of the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake.



labadiane-hanoi.com

Stay: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

For well over a century, the Metropole has stood directly at the heart of Hanoi‘s cultural life. It’s the hotel where Charlie Chaplin brought his third wife to honeymoon in 1936; where Graham Greene holed up in 1951 to write The Quiet American; where American presidents, Korean prime ministers and Danish princes have all laid their heads.



Today, it still crackles with the opulence and hospitality of a time long past. White-gloved doormen usher you into a towering atrium of carved mahogany and marble. Fresh flowers and a brass-handled rotary phone (yes, they still exist) adorn the sitting area in your suite. Live jazz complements the sound of tinkling glasses in the stately cocktail bar every evening. After a night or two in its lush embrace, you’ll catch yourself inventing reasons to extend your stay.



sofitel-legend.com

Pots ‘n Pans

In its well-appointed, sensually-lit dining room, Pots ‘n Pans takes Vietnamese cuisine to experimental new heights: tender, traditionally-herbed pork belly gets elevated by a tart apple compote; crispy-skinned seabass arrives on a bed of black sesame noodles with an inventive tamarind-and-coconut sauce. The friendly wait staff is just as praiseworthy—the restaurant exclusively hires graduates of Know One Teach One, a non-for-profit vocational training program for disadvantaged youth.



potsnpans.vn

Drink: Sunset Bar

Though Hanoi’s thick haze renders its name something of a misnomer, this open-air lounge remains a superlative choice for a nightcap. Set directly over the waters of West Lake—the city’s largest body of water—you’ll swill finely crafted cocktails on a plush daybed as the neon glow of the skyline shimmers across the way.



hanoi.intercontinental.com

Tadioto

Tadioto

Hanoi’s thriving creative class congregates nightly at this dark and smoky watering hole, owned by former NPR broadcaster Nguyen Qui Duc. Live music, poetry readings and animated conversations over ice-cold brews combine to give the slightly cramped saloon a heady, eclectic energy that lasts long into the night.



tadioto.com

Shop: Zero Studio

Smack-dab in the middle of X98—a hip enclave of cafes, stores and bars housed in a repurposed factory space—this stark, concrete-walled boutique specializes in forward-thinking menswear from the likes of Belgian minimalist Ann Demeulemeester, Japanese streetwear label Mastermind and their own tasteful in-house line.



Ngõ 97, Hoàng Cầu

aN

aN

aN

You want handcrafted, thoughtfully designed goods? Of course you do; it’s why you travel. Stop by this quirky two-storey shop. Pick up a pair of locally-made sandals for your better half, an asymmetrical ceramic jar for your mantelpiece, and a handsome leather shoulder bag to carry it all home.



8 Ly Dao Thanh, Hoan Kiem

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