Hanoi might not exactly be Saigon or Bangkok when it comes to partying the night away, but there’s at least one thing you should do when you visit Hanoi: get drinks and street food in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
The Old Quarter of Hanoi, whilst not exactly being Khao San Road, is the main backpacker haven of Hanoi with cheap hotels littering the streets – you can get a decent room for $10, with dorms costing as little as $3. During the day the Old Quarter in Hanoi is hardly crazy, mainly consisting of bad Western food, markets selling crap that you don’t need, and about a million travel agencies.
And what can you expect from these establishments? Classic street food, Bia Hoi (the 20-cent beers), cocktails like mojitos and not hideous rice liquor, but vodka; actual vodka. They all also have fairly decent Western food if you are bored of Asian fare.
At night, though, you start to see the tables getting put out onto the streets with menus on them, and from about 6 it starts to get busy – very busy. Small tables pop up pretty anywhere there’s space, along with the famous Asian kiddy chairs that are used for street food. Hawkers then stand outside and try to drag you in!
Then there’s the funny bit! The police hate them putting tables and chairs outside, so around every 30 minutes or so the police come, and everyone has to move inside until they go. A bit like drunk musical chairs! In fact the top tip from the Street Food Guy on this would be to cut the foreplay and just sit inside.
As with everything in Vietnam, you can get drunk and fed for less than $20! Oh, and there are ladies that will give you a lift home on their scooter. What happens after that is up to you (Street Food Guy condones neither extramarital nor monetised instances of amorous congress)!