It has only been a little over a week since I returned from vacation in Vietnam and it already feels like a distant memory. If I could hop on a plane and go back to Vietnam tomorrow I happily would.
the people and the buzzing energy
the incredible food lining the streets
the lazy afternoon coffee sitting at a corner café
We sampled everything we could and were amazed by how spectacular each bite was. With so many memorable dishes, I enjoyed surprisingly few sweet treats. On a morning in Hanoi we visited Café Kinh Đô for Vietnamese coffee and French-influenced Vietnamese pastries.
The café is simple and quaint, with a convivial atmosphere. We nestled into our plastic chairs and placed an order for coffee and sweets. The coffee in Vietnam is addictive. Rich, sweet, chocolately and smooth, it is scarily easy to drink and you may find yourself wanting more than one.
After many enjoyable cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese black coffee with sweetened condensed milk over ice) experiences around Hanoi, Hue, and Hoi An, I noticed that each cà phê is slightly different; some cà phê is sweeter than others, some richer, some thicker.
At Café Kinh Đô the coffee had a nice frothy touch.
We started with a Bánh Nhân Táo (apple tart) that was wonderfully flaky. The apple center was nicely spiced with a vivid caramel flavor.
We also enjoyed a gato chuối (banana cake). Can I just tell you that the bananas in Vietnam are so much better than the bananas here in the US that I couldn’t get enough of them? When I found them in cake form I couldn’t help myself. This cake was gooey, sweet and full of yummy caramelized banana goodness.
Café Kinh Đô is also known for their sour yoghurt, but after some many sweet treats we had little room for yoghurt. If you find yourself wandering the streets of Hanoi, this is a great little spot to stop into. Plop into a seat under a large fan and slowly savor cà phê sữa and a pastry.
Café Kinh Đô
252 Hàng Bông
Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi
P. S. if you are looking for something savory nearby try:
Bún Chả is grilled pork served with a sweet tangy broth, rice noodles, fresh herbs and bean sprouts. This dish will be something you crave. The meat is chared and succulent, the rice noodles comforting, the broth fragrant and the herbs bright.
Hà Nội, Vietnam
Chả Cá is Vietnamese Style Fish with tumeric and dill. You heat the fish yourself with spring onions and fresh dill. After it all sizzles together you scoop it on top of your rice noodles and add crushed peanuts, fish sauce and peppers. The fish is tender and the whole meal filling!
Chả Cá Lã Vọng
Hà Nội, Vietnam
AllisonOctober 5, 2011
I went to Vietnam last year, and your photos are making me nostalgic, even though we spent most of our time in Saigon, with a short trip to Hue/Da Nang/Hoi An.
I totally agree with you about the bananas, and ohmygoodness the watermelon in Vietnam is the most amazing ever! (Heck, all of the fruit there is amazing!) Hopefully next time I visit (my boyfriend is from Vietnam, so I’m sure there will be a next time one of these days) we’ll be able to go to Hanoi as well. 🙂
Baker StreetOctober 5, 2011
I sure miss the food in Vietnam! We were there a few months ago and had a fabulous time. Lovely pics N!
lynn @ the actor's dietOctober 5, 2011
i don’t feel like i got NEARLY enough banana action in vietnam!
oops. that sounded dirty.
EsiOctober 5, 2011
Lol, love the pic of you carrying fruit. I want Bun Cha and Cha ca NOW
GastronomerOctober 5, 2011
Damn good eating, Nastassia!!! Cha ca is my favorite thing about Hanoi.
NastassiaOctober 6, 2011
Allison – you’re right all the fruit is incredible, especially the fresh fruit juices! We didn’t make it Saigon but we did visit Hue and Hoi An as well.
Lynn – Looking back I now feel like I didn’t get nearly enough of anything I wish I would have eaten double everything before coming home 🙁
Esi – I wish there was the same kind of bun cha in LA maybe we should try and make some 🙂
Cathy – Thanks! I got so many great recs from you all fantastic!
Bianca @ South Bay Rants n RavesOctober 6, 2011
Nice recap! I like the pic of you in the hat w/ the fruit. I’ve tried Vietnamese coffee here stateside & the peeps I was with said it was rocket fuel, they were right. It left me bouncing around the house & I wanted more! I bet it’s even better in Vietnam. Oh & that apple fritter looked pretty tasty too.
NastassiaOctober 6, 2011
Bianca – The coffee in out of this world delish. Being back home I can hardly drink coffee without being disappointed. I actually go to nearby Vietnamese restaurants now when I need a coffee fix 🙂
DianaOctober 13, 2011
Oh wow, that banana cake looks incredible! Cathy always says the fruit is so much better there. It must be hard to eat our bananas now!