My husband and I traveled to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand in December. If you were to ask each of us our favorite part of the trip, this Motorbike tour would be the top of both of our lists. Luckily, we did this tour on our first full night in Hanoi.
Lily & Mia picked us up at our hotel with their motorbikes and our adventure began. First off, Hanoi is a crazy place. There are literally no stop lights or signs in the old town and traffic comes from all sides into each intersection and just figures it out. No one waits, or slows down for the other cars. They just avoid each other. Crossing the street as a pedestrian is an pure act of bravado and faith. So we were excited/scared to be an active part of this chaos.
Lily is the brains of the operation at the ripe old age of 22. She runs one of the top rated activities in Hanoi on Tripadvisor and knows it. Her tour is on top for a reason.
She first took us to a noodle place near our hotel to give us our first lesson in Bun Cha. This is a Northern Vietnam specialty that features pork patties served in a vinegar & sugar broth with veggies and noodles. It quickly became our favorite meal for the rest of the trip.
We then hopped back onto the bikes and scooted over to another restaurant. When we arrive at each of these restaurants, the owner are expecting us and they are out front to handle the motorbikes and guide us to a table prepared for us. Lily confirms what she wants us to eat. Each place is specially chosen because of their specialty.
They then took us to a part of town where “you will be the only foreigners in the entire neighborhood”. She takes us to her favorite egg pancake place (Bahn Cuon). They use a crepe style machine to make these egg pancakes. He even let me try to make one myself, but I failed miserably and it had to go to the trash…
In the same neighborhood, we stopped at a place that sells yogurt, sweet fermented black rice, ice and fruit. It is called Sua Chua, although I searched for this variation the rest of our trip and was unable to find it served like this. It was amazing and I have tried to recreate it at home with some success.
We then went on a bit of a food-binging break and did some sightseeing:
Top: All of the motorbikes at a stop sign. Mid-Left – Jon & I at the famous Pagoda. Mid-Right – Jon & Mia as we speed past the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Lower-Left – Hanoi’s famous power lines. Lower-right – the lake where John McCain supposedly crashed.
Finally, we ended with egg coffee. This honestly was a bit of a stretch for me, but then I tried it. It was so yummy. It is like a thick eggnog latte.
At the end, Lily wrote up this handy sheet with everything that we ate in Vietnamese and English and the addresses of each place. They then dropped us off near “beer street” with some bar recommendations.
This food tour is one of the best things I have ever done on any trip ever. It was that good. I loved it because I got to eat food I would never have tried without a guide. We also went to neighborhoods and restaurants that tourists just don’t go. Our guides were funny, smart and told us lots of stories. Jon really loved the thrill of being on a motorbike in Hanoi.
Here is a video of our Hanoi trip that features a lot of our food tour: