Quán Ăn Ngon, 18 Phan Bội Châu – Hanoi

After a day of touring Hanoi by foot, we wanted to find a place where we could sit, enjoy the ambiance and enjoy a variety of local dishes for dinner.  We had heard of Quán Ăn Ngon, and how this place was almost like a food court.  It has a variety of stalls that serve local Hanoi and Vietnamese specialties.  That’s where we decided to go. We went to the branch at 18 Phan Bội Châu, and it looked so inviting and pleasant.  We knew we had come to the right place. IMG_2812 Once you walk in, you can see that there are people and tables everywhere.  All enjoying themselves.  The stalls are set up on the perimeter, but they are there for show.  You don’t go up and order yourself, you order via the waitstaff and then you can just go around and watch them do their thing. IMG_2811 IMG_2790 Here is the story of Quán Ăn Ngon. IMG_2789 When we arrived, we had our game plan in mind.  We were going to order Hanoi delicacies that we knew we would be unable to try on our visit.  These are dishes that we wanted to try, but knew we wouldn’t be able to get to those stalls or restaurants in our visit.  This made this a one-stop shop deal for us. We started with some drinks, Lotus Tea on the right and a nice Passion Fruit Citrus Juice on the left. IMG_2793 We went looking for items we wanted to try when we came, but knew with out time constraints that we weren’t going to get to eat it.  So first up was Bún Riêu Cua, which is a tomato based broth, infused with herbs and then rice vermicelli is added along with crab paste on the top. IMG_2794 It comes with the ever present herbs, and you can see the lovely crab paste on the top.  The broth was not too tomatoey, not too sweet or salty, but with a real nice touch to it.  Sort of like Minestrone, which I think is the best way to compare it, but not as thick.  Lena really loved this dish! IMG_2795 Next up was Miến Xào Lươn, which can be taken as dry or soup form.  I chose dry.  This is a glass noodle dish, and on top are herbs, vegetables and little crispy fried eels. IMG_2796 As you can see, it’s topped with these little fried items, which are small eels. IMG_2798 Stir it up and away we go!  So fragrant with the herbs and the dressing.  The crunchiness of the eels make it a real nice contrast to the soft glass noodles.  A winner of a dish! IMG_2799 We didn’t want a whole of the Rice Rolls, or Gỏi Cuố, but we found one interesting one, so we had to try it.  It was Shredded Pork and Pork Skin inside the roll.  This is known as Bì Cuốn. IMG_2800 What they do is take the shredded pork and pork skin and roll it in rice flour and then wrap it up.  Here is the insides. IMG_2802 Not a bad roll at all!  Tasty. Next up for us was Hanoi West Lake Shrimp Cakes, or Bánh tôm Hồ Tây.  This is a small shrimp found in West Lake and fried up in a fritter.  So yummy! IMG_2804 And to wind it all up, some coffee and dessert.  A little cà phê đá, which sometimes is so sickeningly sweet, but this time it was ok. IMG_2805 Dessert was some Chè, which is fruits, preserved items, coconut milk, etc, all put into some ice and served. This was was a house specialty, it included some sago, fruits, so refreshing and delicious! IMG_2806This place is amazing.  You can eat a lot, get a lot of variety and sample different things.  If you are a little scared of the street and eating there, this place will definitely give you a taste of Hanoi and all of Vietnam.  Give it a shot, it is worth it!  And it’s quite an experience.

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