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The stinky Hanoi smell that you either love or hate

By Pham Van   June 10, 2016 | 04:52 am PT
Naturally, the pleasant smell of food is the indicator for its tastiness. Hanoi begs to differ with its famous fried tofu, rice noodle and better-eaten-than-smelled shrimp paste. VnExpress follows the trail of scent and takes you to the best ‘bun dau mam tom’ in Hanoi.

FYI: ‘Bun’ is the rice noodle, served dry; ‘dau’ is the fried tofu; and ‘mam tom’ is the shrimp paste. The dish also acquires a shorter name, ‘bun dau’, because there is no other better way to eat ‘bun’ and ‘dau’. To cater for the diverse tastes of Hanoians, all ‘bun dau’ shops boast a few more side dishes such as ‘cha com’ (fried minced pork with green young rice), ‘doi’ (Vietnamese version of black pudding), boiled pork, ‘gia cay’ (fake dog meat), and not to mention the compulsory herb ‘kinh gioi’.

Phat Loc Alley

The first name that pops up when it comes to ‘bun dau’. Phat Loc has been the high street ‘bun dau’ among others. Sitting in the Old Quarter, Phat Loc Alley is the most reachable for anyone craving for a ‘bun dau’.

Ma May Street

Another rival from the Old Quarter. Ma May boasts two ‘bun dau’ shops facing each other, both offering lovely crunchy fried tofu and bubbly shrimp paste. You can even choose soft or crispy tofu.

Hang Khay Street

They say that the best shrimp paste, when stirred with oil, makes an airy soft mixture. That’s exactly what the ‘bun dau’ place at Hang Khay offers.

Thuy Khue

The ‘bun dau’ here is said to serve the most original ‘bun dau’, with each portion coming wrapped in a banana leaf. The service here is also the best thanks to the chewing gums that the owner gives out once the bill is paid.


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