Before you head off to Asia to eat everything in sight, consider this your tasting menu.
This may come as a shock, so please brace yourselves: There is more to Chinese cuisine than chicken chow mein, and more to Vietnamese food than pho.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with a good dish of chow mein or pho. In fact, I think I just decided what I’m having for lunch).
From Hanoi’s street eats, to Hong Kong’s wine-and-dine scene, we have taken it upon ourselves to eat our way through two of our top Asian destinations — Hong Kong and Vietnam, separated by a 1.5-hour flight with Hong Kong Airlines.
Your food tour starts in the air, which is why Hong Kong Airlines offers a self-serve Skybar for Economy class and a signature Business class menu designed by award-winning Dynasty Seafood Restaurant for its passengers from YVR-HKG, including a Baked Mince Pork Pie and an in-flight version of the Hand-Shredded Smoked Chicken. From takeoff to landing, you’ll be in for a true Hong Kong experience during your entire trip.
Once you’ve landed, it’s time to eat! Here are some of our favourite spots for must-try eats in Hanoi, Vietnam:
Egg coffee: Cafe Giang
While you’ll notice a handful of copycats on the streets of the Old Quarter, Cafe Giang is the OG egg coffee spot in Vietnam. We spoke to Hoa Chi Nguyen, the son of founder Giang, who shared that his father originally came up with the concept when he worked at a five-star hotel in Hanoi as a bartender and found himself making a lot of expensive cappuccinos for many French patrons.
Giang came up with the idea to create the foam using yolk from a chicken egg, cream and butter as a more affordable alternative for locals. And just like that, a legend was born.
Pro tip: ask the server to add rum for an extra little zing.
Local delicacies: Dong Xuan Alley
Hanoi’s best-kept secrets can be found in its alleys, but many of the locals already know of the delicacies of Dong Xuan alley. Try out a banh tom (prawn pie — yes, you eat the entire prawn, shell included) or stop by Thuy’s snail shop for the most authentic snail soup in the city.
Address: Ngõ Đồng Xuân, Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 94 839 00 07
The best pho in town: Pho Thin
If you’re in Vietnam, that means there are countless options for pho (yes, it is pronounced “fuh”), which for those of you who don’t know, is a warm noodle dish in steaming hot meat broth that is traditionally consumed in the morning.
Hole-in-the-wall pho spot Pho Thin is no-nonsense and no-frills, and it is truly authentic. Get in, get your delicious bowl of pho, get your Insta snap and get out. Another gem of an option for delicious pho is called Pho Ly Quoc Su.
Address: 13 Lò Đúc, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Modern Vietnamese dining: Cau Go
This area is more developed and tourist-friendly, and is great option if your taste buds are craving something a little closer to home than the street food delicacies. Located on the 5th and 6th floors, Cau Go is a spacious, family-friendly restaurant with a gorgeous view of Hoan Kiem Lake. Reservations are preferred.
Pro tip: head over to the back corner of the patio to get a view of Ham Ca Map intersection, the busiest crossroads in Hanoi!
Entrance 1: No 1/3/5/7 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Entrance 2: 73 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Entrance 3: No 9 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Street market: Thanh Ha
This street is for the yolo-minded traveller, so get ready to take your taste buds for an adventure. With many wholesale options from vegetables to fruit to seeds to meat to flowers, this is an authentic Vietnamese market with all the fixings. We encourage you to try the raw jellyfish, or mix yourself up a nice dish of balut! Tastier than it looks, right?!
Address: Thanh Ha Alley, between Nguyen Thien and Thuat street
Now that you’ve eaten your way through Hanoi, it’s time to hop on a quick and easy Hong Kong Airlines flight over to another side of Asia. Please enjoy your tasting guide to Hong Kong!
Modern fine dining: Mott 32
You’re in Hong Kong, and you deserve to treat yourself. Located right in the heart of Central and down the stairs of the Standard Chartered Bank Building, Mott 32 boasts sleek modern decor and upscale local eats. This is a great spot for a business dinner, cocktail night, or date if you’re trying to impress someone!
Michelin-starred dim sum: Tim Ho Wan
You are not the only one to seek out an authentic dim sum experience in Hong Kong, so we recommend making a reso for this place if you plan on coming during peak hours. Now with 45 locations around the world, the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan originated in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok district, and is still one of the city’s best spots for a budget-friendly spot to stuff your face with local eats. Make sure to try the baked buns with BBQ pork or steamed eggcakes!
Food stall central: Stanley Street
Although located right in the middle of the highly developed centre of the city, this street encapsulates the essence of “real” Hong Kong thanks to its open-air food stalls and local street eats. This contrast of old vs. new is what makes Hong Kong so truly unique! Try a scrumptious serving of steamed fish at Sing Kee for a tasty treat.
Address: 9-10 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
Mexican speakeasy: Brickhouse
Hong Kong’s expat scene is thriving, which means its international food scene is next level. A speakeasy-style Mexican restaurant found down a back lane off Lan Kwai Fong, Brickhouse offers a flavourful variety of appetizers, main courses, and cocktails (try the Diabla — jalapeno vodka, raspberries, pomegranate and lemon).
The décor is funky, the atmosphere is upbeat, and the crowd is friendly. Open until 2am Monday-Wednesday and 4am Thursday-Saturday, this place has got your post-partying munchies on lock. Reservations not accepted.
Funky Chinese diner: Happy Paradise
Chef Mary Chow introduced Happy Paradise as a neighbourhood hang out — a re-imagination of a wildly creative yet casual Chinese dining experience. With unique inventive dishes and cocktails in a full neon setting, this is a great spot to come kick back with friends. Culinary adventurers should try the whole tea smoked pigeon; if you get past its eyes and beak, it makes for quite a tasty meal.
There you have it — some of our favourite spots to grab some grub in Hanoi and Hong Kong, which you’ll have to get your hands on during your next trip with Hong Kong Airlines. Look for Hong Kong and Vietnam flight specials from Hong Kong Airlines here.
For more information on Hong Kong, visit Discover Hong Kong.
Enter for your chance to win the following prize:
- 2 x Economy class return tickets from Vancouver – Hong Kong – Ho Chi Minh City, provided by Hong Kong Airlines
- 3 x nights accommodation in Hong Kong for two people on a twin-sharing basis, provided by Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB)
- Airport-hotel return transfers
- Two tours for two people in Hong Kong (choice of hotel and tours are at the discretion of HKTB)
- A trip for 2 people to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, provided by Bestway Tours & Safaris
- 3 x nights accommodation for two people (choice of hotel and program are at the discretion of Bestway Tours & Safaris)
- Transfer services
- Entrance fees and boat fees where applicable
- Vietnam Visa on Arrival Approval letter
- Pre-arranged meals
- Guided by an English-speaking local guide
Blackout dates: 11 December 2018 – 5 January 2019, 29 January – 17 February 2019, 16-25 April 2019, 22 Jun – 10 Sep 2019, 11 December – 5 January 2020
To enter for your chance to win the prize listed above, courtesy of Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Tourism Board, and Bestway Tours & Safaris, fill in the Google form below:
Contest entries will be accepted from the time and date of publishing until 11:59 pm on December 10, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted directly from Hong Kong Airlines.