I met up with my friends in the evening. They had spent most of their day with a local tour guide from Hanoi Kids, a clever culture exchange group. They send students along with tourists free of charge to show them the culture and sights of Hanoi. In exchange, the students get to practice their English. Most of them are college students and the brief time I spent with the guide, the more I noticed that with the other groups we ran into. Every so often our guide would run into a colleague and their group. We’d all do our greetings and continue along. They were in fact all students. Neat. I’d book their food tour next time. I’d figure college kids would know where all the good cheap eats would be. Oh, and if you’re in another Vietnamese city, there’s most likely a similar group.
After our guide took us through the French Quarter, she brought us to a small street Ho Hoan Kiem. Obviously named after the lake, but it had a street vendor that took up both sides of the street. We sat like any other street patron on those little plastic chairs hunched around those flimsy folding tables. Street dining at it’s best.
I figure our guide had specifically picked out this vendor given the relative cleanliness of the area.
Ho Hoan Kiem Street
Verdict: Thumbs up for me. The papaya salad was very fresh.