This is my last post from my trip to Hanoi and today we’ll start off by walking into the Old Quarters after the early morning shower where we were “forced” to hideout in KFC (the one near Hoan Kiem lake).
Maybe it was the weather (Vietnamese see rain as luck), maybe it was a coincidence, but we came across 3 couples getting married that day. Marriage in Hanoi was an interesting affair. A car will stop in the middle of a narrow road to allow the couple to alight. At the same time, other cars will start blaring their horns due to the road hold-up while motorcyclists calmly navigate through the road obstacles. The couple would alight to a medley of poppers releasing confetti as they walk down the short aisle to a temporary tent where the ceremony would be held. It was an interesting blend of road obstruction, joyous ceremony and popping confetti.
I just pitied whoever had to clean up the roads, way to many confetti everywhere. After the unexpected ceremony, we wandered into one (of the many) coffee shops that littered the streets. We had a latte made from weasel coffee beans. It was good and the coffee high was right smack in the ass.
Of course, after the coffee break, there was a mad scramble for the loo amongst the four of us. There’s not a lot of washrooms in the old quarters and when we found one, despite how dodgy it looks (it was in a narrow “alley” between two shops), we went in as the bladder call was waay too urgent. Lol! There’s 2 kind of toilets here, the normal sitting kind and then there’s the squat ones. For the sitting one, you get to have some privacy as it is in one little room/cubicle. But for the squat kind, it’s a full-on open concept. Firstly, there’s two squat toilets facing each other. Next, there’s absolutely NOTHING giving you any form of privacy. People can just go in and out of the washroom and see you doing your business. Can we say awkward… It was a serious toilet culture shock to me, hahaha.
So after the toilet break, we wandered about the market section in the old quarters where I saw the slaughtering of a porcupine. Wanted to take a picture here, but I couldn’t get my camera to focus. Apparently, my brother switch it to manual focus without letting me know and he didn’t switch it back to auto-focus. So irritating! Do anyone else get like that? I mean I get really annoyed when people borrow my things and don’t return it in its original state or promptly. It’s like I lend something to you and I still have to prompt you to return it to me??? I feel it’s basic/common courtesy to just return things promptly and in its original condition after you’ve finish using it.
Enough of my short rant and let’s continue :). We eventually came across Hang da galleria (somewhere within the old quarters area) and saw some art works/pictures and did some shopping before lunch.
Lunch was at Old Hanoi restaurant that my uncle had introduced to us and I’ve also seen a number of reviews raving about this place on TripAdvisor.
Old Hanoi Restaurant
Address: 04 Ton That Thiep, Hanoi
They certainly do have a wide array of dishes. Maybe we didn’t order the correct ones, but the food held no wow factor. Though they did have this crab soup pho (I can’t really remember the exact name now) but it was interesting. The tomato taste is quite strong though and I couldn’t really taste any crab so….
Anyway, one of the dish we ordered was fried tilapia and we were kinda expecting a single, big fish NOT small baby tilapias. Seriously, it’s kinda disturbing and cruel to kill so many tilapias just to make a single dish 😦 .
After lunch, we headed over to the Temple of Literature. It was here that I got my first taste of tourist influx within the Hanoi city. It’s a beautiful temple compound with too many tourist in a single location. Maybe I was jaded from the past few days where contact with other tourists were kept to a minimum. Yes, there were tourists around but there’s a limit to the number of tourists that can seat in a single boat in Halong Bay or even interested in seeing the perfume pagoda on a rainy day.
Here’s an interesting pattern on the roof-top of the temple
After the temple visit, we got lost, wandering in circles trying to find the Hoa Lo prison. The prison provided some information to the Vietnam War but it was severely biased in their POV especially regarding the American prisoners, which is expected, so I would take things with a pinch of salt.
We ended the day by walking over to Hoan Kiem Lake to shoot some night shots of the turtle tower (see below) which I remembered seeing in Running Man so heh.
We practically crawled down the street in search for our dinner venue like a bunch of starving zombies. But, where it was supposedly located, you’ll find a missing 34 shop. Just continue walking further down the street and you’ll be able to find the restaurant.
Address: 34 Gia Ngu, Hoan Kiem
I think the dish below is called Chả cá thăng long. It’s a Vietnamese style fish pan-fried with tumeric and dill and eaten with noodles. It’s definitely one of the best dish we’ve ordered from the place (or even Hanoi). Their chicken pho was nothing much to rave about while the other dishes were mediocre but nothing too crazy. If you’ve a chance, you should definitely try out this dish!
The next morning view, I visited the lake to get some pictures to portray the difference in day and night scenery. Plus, it is nice to see so many old folks coming out at 5-6 am in the morning to exercise. The way the flowers adorned a portion of the lake really added live and beauty to this place. If I had the time, I can definitely see myself having breakfast by the lake, chilling.
And I’ll end this post with the empty streets of Hanoi that is rarely seen unless it’s early in the morning. Bye!