DIY Hanoi street food tour!

Tefl Travels Abroad

Moving to a new country means learning about a new culture and trying new foods. I’ve been in Hanoi for three months and decided to seek out the very best of Hanoi’s street food. Rather than booking an overpriced tour guide to take us around the city trying different foods, we decided to do it ourselves.
So here you have a DIY Hanoi street food tour: 

1: Bun Cha

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A popular Hanoi speciality. Pork meatballs in a meaty broth, with vermicelli noodles, herbs, lettuce, garlic and chilli. Put in as little or as much as you want and add to it some crispy vegetable spring rolls for a delicious meal. 90,000vnd. 

Where: Bun Cha can be found all over Hanoi but my favourite is at Bun Cha Ta(21 Nguyen Huu Huan street)

2: Cha Ca

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My favourite Vietnamese dish. Fish, vermicelli noodles, dill, basil, spring onions and coriander, in…

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Finding a TEFL job in Hanoi, Vietnam!

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Finding a job in Hanoi, Vietnam was incredibly easy. Much easier than those days we spent strolling from school to school in the sweltering heat trying to find a job in Thailand! I’d heard Vietnam is the place to be if you want to teach English but didn’t realise just how much of a demand there is for native English teachers. Looking online before I left Thailand, I was amazed at how many job vacancies I saw. However the reviews were less than impressive. I’ve heard awful stories where people have taken jobs before they’ve arrived and realised they work for a horrible company. Or working so many hours teaching to then not get paid by their employer. I’ve heard of bad experiences so was not looking forward to this one bit!

I decided to post a speculative message on the Hanoi massive facebook group to see if there were any upcoming vacancies for reputable companies. I had a loads and I mean loads of message telling me to send my resume but I wasn’t convinced they were reliable companies. You see the same people posting their vacancies over and over again and you start to become wary of them, so I decided to steer well clear. One girl recommend APAX English so I applied and had a Skype interview scheduled for the next week, whilst I was still in Thailand.

Passed the interview and I was so happy to have been offered the job. I had to have training for a week which was pretty intense. It’s for a language centre working with children from 5-15 years old which is perfect for me and my previous experience. No lesson planning, I don’t know if you quite got that, NO lesson planning! When I heard this I was sold! I spent so much time in Thailand planning lessons and developing my own curriculum for some classes that this seemed like a massive relief!

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Using a smart board so there’s no lesson planning!

I’ve been working in my centre now for the last 2 months. It’s a new centre I’m based in which is great because the kids are all new to it too. I was promoted to become the Head teacher there so I now take on a lot more responsibility but with less teaching hours. I love this role but it’s so strange because I’m now Lee’s boss (My boyfriend) so I have to critique his lessons along with the other teachers in the centre.

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Decorating my new classroom!

I have to say working for a language centre is great. I already feel much more appreciated than I did in the school in Thailand and the hours are perfect. We work from 5pm-9pm Tues-Sun and an additional 3 hours during the day at weekends. Sounds like a lot but actually we have all the days free to explore and we don’t have to turn up to school with a hangover which helps! I miss the two consecutive days off like I had in Thailand but then the salary is twice the amount so you know, I can’t really complain!


Heres a few tips to help you get started:

  • Language centres are everywhere in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, the most reputable ones are:

-APAX English

-Apollo

-Language Link

-ILA

  • You’ll need a few essentials before you can get a work permit

Degree in any field

Teaching certificate (TEFL, CELTA, TRINITY etc.)

Police check dated within the last 6 months (Don’t worry, you can have a Vietnamese one if you don’t have one already).

Experience – It’s good to have but not essential in Vietnam.

Business visa which allows you to work in the country (they only last for 3 months so be prepared for regular visa runs – you can avoid this by getting a residence card but they come at cost of around 200 USD).


Have you ever thought about teaching abroad?

Or are you thinking of Teaching in Vietnam or Thailand? 

Leave a comment and share your experiences too. Or check out my post on finding a job  teaching in Thailand!

Don’t forget about the all important tefl checklist either!

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Class selfie!

 

DIY Hanoi street food tour!

Moving to a new country means learning about a new culture and trying new foods. I’ve been in Hanoi for three months and decided to seek out the very best of Hanoi’s street food. Rather than booking an overpriced tour guide to take us around the city trying different foods, we decided to do it ourselves.
So here you have a DIY Hanoi street food tour: 

1: Bun Cha

IMG_4926

A popular Hanoi speciality. Pork meatballs in a meaty broth, with vermicelli noodles, herbs, lettuce, garlic and chilli. Put in as little or as much as you want and add to it some crispy vegetable spring rolls for a delicious meal. 35,000vnd + 10,000 for each Nem (Spring roll) 

Where: Bun Cha can be found all over Hanoi but my favourite is at Bun Cha 34 (34 Hàng Than)

2: Cha Ca

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My favourite Vietnamese dish. Fish, vermicelli noodles, dill, basil, spring onions and coriander, in a sizzling hot pot cooked at your table. With chilli and fish sauce to add to your taste. 120,000vnd for one person. Delicious!

Where: Cha Ca Thanh Long (21 Duong Thanh street)

3: Bun bo

Beef, noodle salad in a delicious broth with herbs, fried onions and peanuts for garnish. Not one of the most common dishes in Hanoi so it’s quite difficult to find, but well worth it. 60,000vnd a portion! 

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Where: Bun Bo Nam Bo (67 Hang Dieu)

4: Xoi Xeo

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Sticky rice topped with mung beans and fried shallots. Popular street food snack in Hanoi. The mung beans tastes just like mashed potato. Nice dish but very heavy on the carbs. 15,000vnd. You can also try it topped with meat for added texture and a cucumber salad on the side.

Where: Xoi Yen (35b Nguyen Huu Huan) 

5: Banh goi and Banh tieu

Banh goi – a deep fried pastry parcel filled with glass noodles, minced pork and mushrooms. 7,500vnd for one.

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Banh tieu – or Vietnamese sweet donuts as they are more commonly known. Deep fried pastry balls filled with sesame seeds and a sweet mung bean paste. Tastes like you’re eating a deep fried ball of sweet mashed potato. 3,500vnd, bargain!

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Where: 52 Ly Quoc Su street

6: Pho Bo 

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Vietnam’s most well-known dish. A rich beef noodle soup with vermicelli noodles and chives. You can find this very tasty dish almost everywhere in Hanoi, all for just 50,000vnd! Throw in some quay, deep fried rice donuts for just 5,000vnd, everyone will be eating them too!

Where: My favourite is at Pho Thin (13 Lo Duc)

7: Pho Xao Bo

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The fried form of Pho Bo above. Fried rice noodles with beef and vegetables. Add chilli and soy sauce to taste.

Where: Spicy Pho Bay (162 Xuân Diệu)

8: Banh Mi

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The best baguette in Vietnam. Their twist on both Vietnamese and French cuisine. A french baguette, filled with pork, pate, salad and coriander with hot chilli sauce. Great for a quick lunch and between 20,000-25,000vnd depending on your filling.

Where: There are many street vendors selling these delicious baguettes all around Hanoi but my favourite is at Banh Mi 25 (25 Hàng Cá) 

9. Bo bia

West lake in Hanoi is one of the biggest lakes I’ve ever seen. There’s a bridge that crosses through the lake and all along the edge are motorbike stalls selling Bo Bia. These are my favourite desert snacks in Hanoi. A  thin soft pancake filled with shredded coconut, sugar and sesame seeds. All for just 10,000vnd. 

Where: West lake, Tay ho. (7 Thanh Niên, Trúc Bạch)

10. Egg coffee (Ca phe trung)

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A Hanoi speciality that tastes completely different to how it sounds. This traditional coffee is topped with a smooth and creamy texture which tastes just like warm marshmallow, its delicious! You can try it hot or iced. If your not a big coffee drinker, try the egg chocolate instead!

Where: This recipe was created in 1946 at Giang cafe. There are other coffee shops advertising their egg coffee along the same street but I wanted to try it from the originators themselves. It’s at 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, with only a small sign visible from the street. Look out for it!

So if you fancy tucking into some delicious street food in Hanoi, without paying over the odds for an organised tour – create your own. It makes for a fun day out and a very full belly at the end!

Want to settle in Hanoi and find a job teaching English? Read my guide on how to find a TEFL job in Vietnam

Moving to hectic Hanoi, Vietnam

Having lived in Thailand for 1 year and 3 months, it was definitely time to move on and experience somewhere different. We wanted somewhere similar to Thailand’s cost of living and culture. So after 6 weeks living in Phuket, one of Thailand’s stunning beach destinations, we decided to move to Hanoi in Vietnam.

Flying from Phuket to Hanoi, we had to make a stop over in Bangkok for 11 hours. Such an annoying amount of time, Do we stay in the airport overnight? Or do we book a hotel and checkout at 3am in the morning?  Deciding it would be very uncomfortable and strange to sleep out in the airport overnight, we checked into a hotel just 800m from the airport and sought out our nearest 7-11. These little shops are a life saver in Thailand! The humidity can get beyond unbearable at times, so usually we search for the nearest 7-11 and run inside for the aircon! The beauty about Thailand is that your always around 100m from a 7-11, they’re everywhere! Anyway, taking advantage of our last trip to 7-11, we stocked up on Thai ready meals and toasties, anything that we knew we wouldn’t be able to find in Vietnam.

Waking up at 3am and boarding the plane at 6am, we arrived into Hanoi around 2 hours later. Taxis were expensive on our own, so we met some other travellers and got a taxi together. Dropping us off at our guesthouse 30mins later and stepping out onto a busy main road, I realised just how crazy Hanoi is! The traffic here is insane! Crossing the road is so scary, you literally have to look in every possible direction when crossing and walk across slowly to avoid every driver.

 

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Chaotic traffic in the capital

What strikes me as absolutely crazy is that most motorbikes here have no mirrors, a taxi driver told me the Vietnamese remove them as they don’t want to be seen as uncool! Although, the only way around is by motorcycle so my boyfriend and I unwillingly rented one for just $50 a month. He loved driving in Chiang Mai, Thailand but here it’s completely different, it’s the opposite side of the road for one! It definitely took some time getting used to, trying not to drive up the wrong way.

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No mirrors and five people on one bike!

 

After staying in a guesthouse for the night, we went flat hunting. Contacting an agent seems to be the most common way of finding somewhere to rent here. We followed the agent to several properties and found two we fell in love with. Took an extra day to decide which one to go for, but when we moved in, it was definitely the right choice. Much bigger than the flat we rented in Thailand, with brand new furnishings and living by a huge lake, all for under £400 a month. Accommodation is a bit more expensive than in Thailand and you don’t really find the added amenities like a swimming pool or gym but we found a gym just minutes from our apartment so it’s perfect!

There’s a local fruit and veg market about a 2 minutes drive from our place, we’ve taken full advantage of this and actually started to cook more now too. It’s definitely more expensive to eat out in Hanoi than Chiang Mai and to be honest, by now we’re craving some of our home cooked English dishes!

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Lovely little fruit market

The biggest difference I’ve noticed in Hanoi compared to Chiang Mai is the cultural differences. In Thailand, everywhere we turn there is a Buddhist temple or shrine, whereas in Hanoi it’s there, but it’s a lot harder to find. However, there’s so much character here due to the French ruling years ago. Many buildings have a European design and everywhere sells French baguettes. One of my favourite dishes in Vietnam is Banh Mi, a twist on both French and Vietnamese cuisine. It’s a French baguette filled with pork, pate, fresh coriander, salad and hot chilli sauce, delicious!

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Finding culture in busy Hanoi at Chau long temple

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The European influence at St. Joseph’s cathedral

We’ve also completed training at our new jobs and are now officially employed again. This time we’re both working in language centres instead of a school like we did in Thailand. Our classes are in the evenings and at weekends so we have all the days free in the week to explore. We work just 4 hours a day in the week and a bit more on the weekend but it’s perfect for me and Lee.

Overall, it’s been a good three weeks settling in to our new home in Hanoi. We’ve got a bike, a lovely apartment and a new job. And it gets even better because we’re off to Hong Kong in two weeks for a visa run!

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Vietnam’s culture