Free Food Tour in Hanoi, Vietnam – how cool is that!

Two tourist guides of the HanoiKids Free Food Tour with tourists in Vietnam.

One of the most improbable things about Hanoi (or Vietnam in general) is their “Free Food Tour” campaign. “Improbable” mainly because in life, most things come at a price.

Well, as it turns out, there is such a thing in Hanoi.

The many different “clubs” that offer Free Food Tours operate under a similar motto – in exchange for the services of tour guides, who are usually university students, tourists pay for their meals.

Besides a free meal, these tour guides also get the opportunity to practise their conversational English with foreigners.

This particular experience in Hanoi was provided by HanoiKids. After booking their services online through their website, the guides – Mint and Mok – showed up at the hotel lobby as promised.

Both are students from Foreign Trade University, located just a few kilometres away. In fact, they didn’t even know each other prior to the appointment, which is actually pretty interesting.

First meal – Herbal Chicken Noodles.

The first destination Mint and Mok headed to was a spot that specialised in cooking Herbal Chicken Noodles or My Ga Tan.

This dish is rather similar to the Malaysian version of Herbal Chicken Mee Suah, but with a darker broth that was almost halfway in taste to the Bak Kut Teh we know and love so much in Malaysia.

Also, instead of mee suah, they use “instant” noodles instead in Hanoi.

The chicken was tasty and really tender. There was also a side of salt and cili padi for those wanting to kick it up a notch.

Mỳ Gà Tần
24 Hàng Bồ, Hàng Gai
Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Dry pho with steamed chicken.

Next up was none other than the most famous dish in Vietnam – pho. In Hanoi this is usually served with chicken instead of beef, and Pho Ga Khanh Beo, serves the more unique dry version.

The chicken was very soft, with the overall flavour here more subtle than the beef version in Ho Chi Minh City.

It did make for good comfort food and wasn’t entirely unlike the dry version of kuey teow soup in Penang, but with more vegetables and nuts.

Phở Gà Khánh Béo
22 Hàng Hòm, Hàng Gai
Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Open: 5.30pm to 11.30pm

Grilled quail eggs at Nguyen Quang Bich Street.

Now for more traditional street food – three to four quail eggs cooked with cheese, meat floss, fried shallots, green onions, sausages and more, and served with tamarind sauce.

It did take quite a bit of effort to “grill” those tiny plates up but the end result was quite unique in taste and experience. Now if they could only serve this at the hotel’s breakfast egg station!

24B Nguyễn Quang Bích,
Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm
Hà Nội, Vietnam
Open: 4pm-10 pm

Delectable desserts are worth every one of its calories.

Of course, no meal is quite complete without dessert, and the ones at Hoa Beo are lip-smackingly good.

Their yogurt, fruit jelly, and even mixed fruits with condensed milk did not disappoint.

While they weren’t exactly the sophisticated around, it delivered a delicious sweet note to this rather awesome free food tour.

Thank you Mint and Mok for the wonderful hospitality.

Do check out HanoiKids if you’re heading to Hanoi anytime soon.

Hoa Béo
17 Tố Tịch Hàng Gai,
Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Trying to influence your cravings since 2005, Kar Yeong was Guest Judge on Versus 1001 Rasa Baba’s 2018, R.AGE Food Fight Judge 2015 and NTV7 Foodie Blogger 2014. To read more about Kar Yeong’s food journeys, visit his blog at www.KYSpeaks.com