It's already been a couple of weeks since my Hanoi Food Challenge, and despite the difficulties I encountered, I'm looking back at it with nostalgia and looking forward to doing it again!
During my week I had a wide range of feelings about the restaurants I visited, so I'm going to do a simple recap of places that I will definitely go to again, places I'll probably give a second chance to, and places that I'll only go back to if I get dragged there for someone's birthday or something!
I'll definitely go back to:
1. Jade restaurant (Day 6) - while the setting could have been slightly better, the food was fantastic!
2. Hanoi Panic (Day 7) - the best Thai food in Hanoi
3. The Bun Dau place near work (Day 3) - a tasty, cheap lunch, and in fact I've already been back a few times!
4. Linh & Ben (Day 3) - rich and delicious sandwiches and paninis, and again, I've already been back!
5. The bánh mỳ trứng from the lady outside of work (Day 5) - on those mornings when I've forgotten to buy yogurt for my usual muesli, fruit and yogurt combo!
6. The pho place around the corner from home (Day 4) - simple, tasty, and ridiculously convenient.
7. The che place around the corner from home (Day 4) - there was so much on the menu to try, and makes a nice post-pho treat!
8. Sushi Aozora (Day 2) - I'm still not a sushi lover, but this was good, it's close to home, and there was a teriyaki chicken rice bowl on the menu that I need to try.
9. Ha Noi cafe (Day 5) - for the cheap, delicious margaritas!
10. Commune (Day 7)- the food was only ok but the peaceful rooftop with a great view means it deserves another try for sure!
I'll probably try again, at some point:
1. Love Chocolate cafe (Day 7) - because I DO love chocolate, and I feel that the circumstances were just all wrong for it that day.
2. Khazaana (Day 1) - the food they delivered to me was tasty, so one day I'll have to go try the actual restaurant!
3. The vegetarian place Sam took me to near work (Day 6) - because I hang out with Sam a fair bit so sooner or later we'll end up back there, and the food was decent.
4. Buon Dua Le Cafe (Day 1) - because I like the balcony seating and while I wasn't too impressed with the falafel, I feel the place deserves another chance.
I'll probably skip:
1. The bún chả restaurant near work (Day 5) - why would I go there, when I know Celebrity Bún Chả is better and just as close?
2. Espanol (Day 5) - I wasn't impressed with the food, so I'd only go back for the Sangria. However, I think I can get Sangria much cheaper elsewhere!
3. The Middle Eastern Beef sandwich from the Deli (Day 4) - The Deli has a pretty decent Philly cheesesteak, and the Tandoori chicken sandwich is quite tasty too, so they haven't lost all my business! I just won't be ordering that one again!
That's 16 new places and one new dish from an old place that I tried within a week! Considering the number of places I found that I really enjoyed, I'm going to say mission accomplished! It was surprisingly difficult at times, and I have to say, having to stop and take pictures of everything and everywhere that I ate got old pretty quickly, and I really felt like quite a tourist at times. However, I did enjoy doing this and it was amazing how much, when I told them what I was up to, people would start opening up and sharing their own favourite places to eat in Hanoi.
My original thought was that I would do this again at some point in the future, maybe once a month or something. Then I thought that the danger of that would be that I might "save" new restaurants for my next Food Challenge instead of going and trying them immediately, and that goes against the whole reason I did it in the first place! I decided instead to make myself try at least one new place per week. So far, I've failed miserably at that, so there's a good chance you'll see another Hanoi Food Challenge in the future!