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WanderWoman: Getting around Hanoi

Hello everyone! This is my third WanderWoman post about my Hanoi trip. I am very much excited to show you fragments of Hanoi through local transport. Vietnamese people have several ways to roam around and they’re not just about cabs and buses. Let me show you different ways to explore the country (some in three wheels or less).

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CYCLOS

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Above is a photo of cyclos famous among tourists in Hanoi. It is a three-wheeled vehicle that can carry up to two people. This kind of transportation is endemic in Asian countries like Vietnam. In China, they call this rickshaw. Unlike the typical bicycle with sidecar, the cyclos have a seat at the front for passengers and the driver at the back.

XE OM

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Xe om (say ohm) is known as motorbike taxi in Vietnam. But what I like about it more is the real translation of the word which means “motorbike hug”. Since Vietnam is filled with two-wheeled vehicles, it is expected that local transport like xe om are used by tourists for sightseeing. Even though xe om is faster and more affordable majority still prefer cabs not just for the safe option for transportation but because English speaking driver can be a great guide as well.

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CITY BUSES

Buses are currently the only means of public transportation around Hanoi. Each buses have different numbers that corresponds to different towns and bus stops. Although few travelers deal with buses to the evident language barrier, I find this convenient, safe and cheaper than xe om.

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PIG OUT: Vietnamese Street food

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Aside from the different sights to see in Hanoi, I am excited to share my first hand experience on Vietnamese street food. From food carts to food bikes to vendors rolling out in droves, the choices of yummy food seem to be endless. My friend and I tried everything we saw on the streets. We had breads, noodles and different kinds of desserts. In between our stay, we also looked out for different cafés to enjoy their classic cà phê.

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FIRST STOP. 

Bánh mì  has become one of my go-to food while strolling around Vietnam. It is a full tasty bread meal consists toasted baguette, your choice of meat or tofu, fresh cilantro, sweet pickled carrots, daikon radish, sliced cucumbers and mayonnaise spread. Customers can also request for jalapenos. Every serving of bánh mì looks like a classic order of Subway.

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SECOND STOP.

One day, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and my vertigo was killing me. Since I was feeling under the weather, my friend and I agreed to have noodles for brunch. In Vietnam. Phở is the most famous rice noodle soup you could ever find. Each bowl is made out of homemade rice noodles, beef stock, beef cuts, spring onions, onions and cilantro. The server will also give you limes, chili, mint and bean sprouts to add on the soup. I may not know a lot about Vietnamese noodles but this one was amazing. We savored every ounces of broth inside the bowl. The serving was very inexpensive and totally worth it.

THIRD STOP.

Vietnamese Desserts. I call the first two photos above as a foreign version of Pinoy Halo-Halo. Chè thập cẩm is a sweet dessert that contains coconut milk, beans and jello. Some may have once scoop of ice cream on top depending on the customer’s liking. Also, they put shaved ice on top to be refreshing. The preparation of this dessert can be pretty tedious but it’s delicious. On the other hand, the third photo is known as the caramen (Caramel). Similar to chè, this dessert has beans, jello and coconut milk. But instead of having shaved ice, you have some form of sticky rice below and a custard flan on top.

My overall food escapade in Vietnam was promising. It was definitely proven that Hanoi is a street food haven for tourists and it’s own people. The food are affordable and they have generous amount of servings. Each food we tried consists of intensive labor and great flavor. Everything is a must-try and you’ll definitely come back for more.

 

Until next time,

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