Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city, features a unique blend of East and West cultures, with a touch of French influence. A rich history and strong culture aside, food is also at the heart of the ancient city. Unlike Ho Chi Minh City where the cuisine has many foreign influences, the gastronomy scene in Hanoi has stayed truer to tradition.
When it comes to having a things-to-do of how locals eat, the closest you can possibly get to an authentic experience is having a home-cooked meal in the home of a native. Luckily, the people of Hanoi are very friendly and are often happy to invite foreigners to visit their home and enjoy some green tea and delicious food.
So, you won’t want to miss out on a chance to visit the Nguyen family’s home in the heart of the Old Quarter. The home still retains its original structure, trading width for height and depth; and is one of Vietnam’s unique ‘tube houses’ – towering, narrow structures jammed closely together for a more efficient use of space.
Up until today, seven generations of the family have lived in their home. The two will welcome you with their warm and wide smiles as you sit down to engage in a conversation over some lotus tea and local snacks. From the history of the ancient home and their ancestry, to the lotus tea preparation, the Nguyen family will be generous in sharing their knowledge with you.
You will then visit a local market near their house. There is a saying that ‘to understand a culture you should learn from the local market’. And here you will see Hanoians going about their daily lives, bantering with the sellers next to them and offering all sorts of colorful produce.
After picking up some key ingredients from the market, you’ll come back to the house to enjoy a Hanoi cooking class with our hosts, preparing a feast of home-cooked Vietnamese classics.
Food is an integral part of the culture in Hanoi and a way for locals to share stories, knowledge, tradition and wisdom. Don’t miss out on this special opportunity to look Hanoi right in the eye.
Please contact our helpful journey planner if you would like to include this experience in your holiday.