Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Vietnamese: một ngày mới
Full experience of my visit to Hanoi can be accessed through the list below:
Attractions: St Joseph's Cathedral | One Pillar Pagoda | Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum | Thang Long Water Puppet Theater | Lý Thái Tổ Garden
Dining: Sketch Coffee | Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyền | Dương Hoa Kem Caramen | Thu Nga Kem Xôi & Chè Thái Lan
More about Hanoi can be read through the list below:
The trouble with traveling to a new location where the culture is vastly different and alien to you is the choice of dining spot. Choices were abundant when it came to lunch time in Hanoi, but therein lied the problem. Too many choices created an inability to choose from, and as if anticipating our thoughts, our hostel reception recommended New Day Restaurant as a possible choice. With the location marked on our map, off we went to explore our first Vietnamese fare. And not a bad recommendation it was.
|A rainy lunch day in Hanoi. For foreigners unfamiliar with Vietnamese fare, especially their way of sitting on very low stool for food, dining at New Day Restaurant would be a good choice.|
We approached the narrow shop, an architecture which we would learned in our days to come that was the de facto building style in Hanoi, possibly even Vietnam. Squeezing past the packed interior, we were ushered to the far back and a menu was presented. We sighed a breath of relief to see English translations as well as knowing that the lovely looking waitress spoke passably understood English to explain certain unfamiliar dishes.
There was no worry that we would run out of choices for New Day Restaurant had a lot of choices to offer, from the usual fare of beef and chicken, rice noodles and fried rice, to the more exotic choice of frogs. Choices of drinks were abundant as well, ranging from Vietnam's must-have coffee to fruit juices and smoothies. We of course chose a few of Vietnamese must-have food, including the famed deep fried spring rolls.
|Bò xào cần tỏi (Sauteed beef with garlic and celery) (VND65,000, about RM10.40) had the beef cooked to a tender finish, leaving a highly chewy texture.|
In hindsight after tasting Vietnamese food at various offerings in Hanoi, there were better choices of different individual dishes elsewhere in the city, but none collected them all like New Day Restaurant, and none offered a better introduction as well. Despite the fact that more memorable dishes existed elsewhere, we owed it to this restaurant for allowing us to ensure which food we liked more and narrowed down our future food hunt trail. Dishes offered by the restaurant fared at least above average although their listed prices were not exactly below average.
First time visitors to the capital city would do well to give this restaurant a try to determine which dish suited your palate and which did not, so that you could follow guide books to hunt for that particular dish to further taste it in other establishments.
Another reason I would strongly recommend this restaurant to visitors to Hanoi would be those huge jars on the cashier's counter, a reason which I believed would drive the curious more than the hungry. Displayed within those jars were items which would fit comfortably in movie stills portraying dark arts and witchcraft, for you would find fully immersed moorhen (with a blank eye staring back at you devoid of emotion), geckos and even private parts of a horse, all in the name of increasing the potency of the male specimen.
If you are not intrigued by this, just walk past the counter without looking at them and you would be fine. But then again, you would have missed a cultural lesson on Hanoi.
Suitable for: good for lunch, especially for a break from your wandering around Old Quarter
Cost: Inexpensive for a restaurant, but maybe not for an ordinary lunch; costing approximately 460,000VND (~RM74) for a total of 6 dishes and a few beverages, enough to feed a table of 5 hungry mammals.
Address: 72 Ma May Street, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Operating hours: 8.00 a.m. - 11.00 p.m.