Having planned to arrive in Hanoi airport from Saigon just after midnight I opted for a hotel. A hotel that wasn’t only very near, but also offered airport pickup. I waited 2 hours and the hotel didn’t pick me up . I got a cab to go there instead.
Saigon might well be known as a city that does not sleep, but Hanoi? It sleeps and it sleeps pretty damned early. I went to explore the area at 2.30 am. Whilst I did find 3 places that were “open”, only one was serving food. I opted for Vietnamese style soupy noodles. As standard in these parts, it came with a side salad that you can add to the soup, as well as limes, and arse burning super hot soup. Not bad for just over a $1.
I spent the next day working and hanging out at my hotel (who I had now forgiven for not picking me up). Before deciding that I should go eat before city of Hanoi, it was already time for bed. Now, I don’t speak Vietnamese, but I did long ago. Once upon a time have lessons, so I knew that “banh my” (which sounds like Bang Me) was bread, so for under a dollar ordered a Vietnamese style Hot Dog in bread. Really quite tasty.
I then decided to carry on my culinary adventure and further down the street discovered some huge dumplings for under a dollar. The bread was less plain than you would find in China, and it was huge and filled with minced pork.
I was neither full, nor starving at this point, so on my way back when I was invited into a wedding, I jumped at the chance and waded into as much food as I could, whilst I was whisked around 8 tables being asked to down a drink at each one. By table 8, the hotel owner (who happened to be there) came up to me and said “We all like a drink, but not too much. You leave before they have too much”. It’s important to know when your time is up.
Hanoi might be a capital city, but this felt like being in the countryside, and I could happily spend a few days relaxing in the airport district of Hanoi. I’m sure there was a lot more food available if only I went out a little bit earlier.