Tracking down cheap and delicious food in Venice – Where I ate…

The charming city of Venice is a popular tourist destination, and rightly so, but with so many tourists it can be a struggle to find some authentic cuisine that is budget friendly!

This being my first trip to Italy, let alone Venice, I wanted to try some proper Italian food. I asked around, did some research and here are my favourites:

1. Fresh pasta – Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go

Area: San Marco

Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go is a great place to go to get your pasta fix in Venice. It’s fresh, it’s fast and it’s very reasonably priced. You get to choose your type of pasta and sauce e.g pesto, carbonara, tomato and my personal favourite – squid ink. Being a city on the sea, seafood is a big thing in Venice, so you kinda have to try the squid ink pasta.

Eating black food was actually pretty good, though it took a while for my brain and eyes to adjust to eating something that really doesn’t look like food.  The added bonus is that squid ink has the same comic effect as a mouthful of blackjacks. So try it and entertain that child in you.

What to try: The squid ink pasta.squid ink pasta venice2. Gelato – Gelatoteca Suso

Area: San Marco

Despite it being winter, it was no excuse not to try some delicious gelato. The best gelato I had was from Gelatocea Suso. They had lots of great and decadent flavours to choose from. We went for the peanut butter and the pistachio – both were exceedingly rich and delectable.

What to try: The silky smooth pistachio gelato

best gelato venice

3. Cicchetti – Osteria Al Squero and El Rofolo

Area: Osteria Al Squero – Dorsoduro

El Rofolo – Castello

Venice is renowned for its great cicchetti – basically small plates of food. Tapas really. It’s what the locals eat and is great because you get to try lots of different foods.

The best thing is that it is all very reasonably priced, normally around €1.60-2.00 per cichetti. Wine is also a big deal at these cicchetti bars, so you can basically just stay there all evening drinking and eating, eating and drinking. Pretty great, eh?

I didn’t get to visit as many local cicchetti bars as I would have liked but I did enjoy a lunch and an espresso at Osteria Al Squero (a stone’s throw from the Peggy Guigghem) and an evening at El Rofolo, located away from the main tourist hub in the charming Castello region.

What to try: Fresh and hot arancini balls from Osteria Al squero and later on grab a cheese and meat platter to nibble on as you wine away your evening at El Rofolo.

venice cichetti bars

4. Pizza – Crazy Pizza

You can’t visit Italy without grabbing pizza and you don’t have to fork out at a fancy or overpriced tourist restaurant to grab a really good pizza. We really liked Crazy Pizza, located in San Marco. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but this takeaway shack served us up some great pizzas. It was all made in front of us, using fresh, delicious ingredients and again, was really reasonably priced. Just under 6 euros for a decent sized margherita.

What to try: The classic margherita.

5. Coffee Torrefazione Cannaregio

Being a coffee lover I was really keen to try coffee in Italy.  I really liked Tmorrefazione Cannaregio. Here these coffee mavens roast their own beans on site and have a coffee selection extensive enough to cover coffee grown in all corners of the globe. As well as a few tourists, we also spotted some locals in here, who were either sipping their strong espressos at the bar or knocking them back in one fell swoop before heading to work. A good way to start the day.

What to try: Knock back an espresso.

Coffee in Venice

Where have you eaten in Venice? Let me know for next time.

 Exploring London’s lost Mail Rail – A secret beneath our feet

London's mail rail blog.jpeg
Think you know all of London’s underground lines? Well, think again. You may be surprised to hear that from 1923 to as recently as 2003, London had its very own ‘Mail Rail’ an underground line designed for carrying post. Today, on September 4th, 2017, The Postal museum re-opened up that old, abandoned railway. Not for the letters this time, but for people, and I felt very lucky to ride it!

Distributing post between Paddington and Whitechapel, the mail rail was once a vital artery in Britain’s communication network. Hidden from view and with only a small number of staff managing its operation, the average Londoner was simply unaware of its existence beneath their feet. Until now, of course.

Following closure in 2003, because it became too expensive to run, The Postal Museum has now replaced the old, teeny-tiny, self-driving post trains, with sleek, teeny-tiny trains for people.

mail rail tunnel london

The trains are really, pretty small and that is part of their charm because the original trains were small, designed for sacks of letters.  We got inside the train and sat in a chair each,  in single file. If you have kids, you could squeeze side by side. It’s definitely not a train journey for claustrophobics or tall people. Think of those miniature trains you get at a holiday park combined with a spaceship because the whole ceiling is clear plastic – perfect for viewing the inside of those tunnels!

emmy_travels mail rail

The whole journey lasts around 20 minutes as you crawl deeper and deeper beneath the city. An audio guide featuring a former mail rail employee plays, pointing out features and reeling off bits of history as you ride through the dark labyrinth. The air is heavy, cool and damp down there. In its heydey, the train carried 4 million letters a day!

There are a few informative videos throughout the ride, cleverly projected onto the original platforms you stop at (one extremely cheesy one detailing the journey of a letter).

You start and end your journey at an original mail rail site – Mount Pleasant, located opposite The Postal Museum in Clerkenwell. After the train journey you pass through an interactive exhibition revealing further secrets and information on this charming railway. Being an enthusiastic Londoner, I had read about the mail rail before my visit, but here I was able to learn so much more about it and gain a real sense of its history. It’s funny to think, that without its reopening the mail rail it would’ve remained a mystery to many. What else are you hiding from us down there, London?

Information Bits: 


Info: Open everyday from 10:00 am to 5pm.

Tickets: You can even get a combined ticket for both the Postal Museum exhibitions and Rail Mail ride, cost £14.50 while kids’ tickets cost £7.25.

Bite of the Month: The Grand Howl – Homerton, London

This month’s ‘Bite of the Month’ is The Grand Howl cafe in Homerton. It is my local cafe which I am so pleased about, due to their extremely good life elixir (aka coffee) and their super tasty vegan and veggie brunches.

Firstly, let me start of by saying I don’t think Homerton gets the appreciation or footfall it deserves. Yes, there are many things I don’t enjoy about living in Homerton; the loud, crazy man who shouts and plays music outside his flat all day and night – I don’t enjoy that, the birds that are living in the GOD DAMN WALL of my bedroom and squeak in the morning – I don’t enjoy that, the amount of rubbish laying around and the fact that the overground is ALWAYS down at the weekend – I don’t enjoy that either.

However, there are some real gems in Homerton, and the longer I live here the more gems I uncover. One of my first discoveries was The Grand Howl cafe on Well Street. Now, even if you don’t live in Homerton it is worth travelling here (by bus, the overground will probably be down), just to taste some of their delicious coffee and tuck into their tasty vegan and vegetarian brunches.

The Grand Howl, Homerton
The Grand Howl, Homerton

I cannot recommend their coffee highly enough, it is just so good!  They roast their own beans on site and have the machine in the coffee shop and that must be a good sign, surely?

vegan full english London
Vegan Full English

Next is the food. After living in Melbourne, brunch has become my favourite meal of the day (thanks ‘Straya). The Grand Howl rustles up some excellent brunches, sure to satisfy any and all poached egg, smashed avocado or wilted spinach cravings.

The vegan brunch burrito with tofu, salsa, avo, beans and jalapeños comes out on top in my books.

Grand Howl Vegan Homerton
Vegan Brunch Burrito

Space is somewhat limited at peak times, but I have never had to wait more than 10 minutes to nab a table.

You won’t be overwhelmed with food choices, but everything they cook is done with consideration and done well. Somehow they manage to cook it all in a tiny slice of a kitchen next to the coffee machine. It’s very impressive to watch actually.


Cuisine: Vegetarian and Vegan

Price: Reasonable.

Try: Vegan Burrito and grab a slice of the toasted banana bread with cinnamon butter.

Atmosphere: Relaxed

Food: Delish.

Where to find them: 214 Well St, London E9 6QT

Other places to check out whilst you’re in Homerton are – The Kenton arms (pub), Mother Kellys bottle shop (complete with private, board game basement), The Castle Cinema and Well Street Market (on the first weekend of the month).

Bite of The Month: Bodean’s BBQ, London Soho

Bodean’s BBQ in London, go here to satisfy your American BBQ cravings or directly after watching an episode of Man Vs Food.

The first great thing about this place was that we didn’t have to queue to get in! There’s ample space up stairs for the snacking of brisket sandwiches or hamburgers, and downstairs is a full seating restaurant, but be aware it is dimly lit down there! The menu is Southern US of A, through and through e.g fries, brisket, burgers, chicken breasts, baby back racks – basically it’s not a place to take your veggie friend!


We ordered the Bodean’s meat platter’ ( with five kinds of meat) to share, this came with fries and coleslaw. The BBQ sauce to accompany it was pretty delectable with a great ratio of smokey and not too sweet flavours. The meat was all very well cooked, but I found the platter, dare I say it, had a bit too much meat! It definitely needed something else to break up the mighty meatiness of it all.  So order extra corn cobs, beans, fries or something!

If you’re after good honest, does what it says on the tin, American BBQ food, head to Bodean’s and you can’t go wrong. For a savvy saving, you can also get a Bodean discount Q card, which gives you different discounts or freebies every day


Cusine: MEAT. American style.


Description in one word: Barbequlicious!

Highlights: Meat, not too sweet BBQ sauce.

Price: Standard.

Lowlights: Too much meat, not enough carbs!

Locations: Soho, Fulham AND Clapham


Finish it Feb – Reading Challenge #finishitfeb

Whilst browsing the Twitter airwaves last week I discovered ‘Finish it Feb’ – a month long event where you aim to read as many unfinished books and series that you can. Perfect – I have a whole heap of those books! Also I approve of the alliteration. Thinking about it, more months should really have alliterated book theme events to encourage you to read more – Micheal Morpurgo March anyone? Science Fiction September? Dystopian and Death December?

My Goals

I’ve been realistic with my goals – I aim to complete one book in a series and two new books!

Book Series

Last year when travelling and had left London I really got into a book series by Ben Aaronovitch set in London, which made me miss it even more! The series is about a policeman – Peter Grant, who works for an undercover branch of the Metropolitan Police that deals with magic and the supernatural! So good! I’ve read three of the books in the ‘Peter Grant a.k.a Rivers of London series’ – Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho and Whispers Underground. That means there’s 3.5 books (the 0.5 is a short story set in London Olympics 2012) left to read in the series atm. So my aim is to finish book no.4 Broken Homes, which I will be reading via listening on audible.

Finish it Feb book

I really got into audible when I was travelling, mainly because I did a lot of coach/bus/train/plane journeys and I suffer badly from travel sickness. I find audio books a good way of distracting me from sickness and keeping me entertained. Now I am back at home I save the audio books for my work commute and washing up. My washing up has never been so thorough!

New Books

Last month I was a book competition winner! I won two books from W&N Books and Orion Publishing, so this month I thought it would be good to read them:

Emmystock twitter

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North

The Version of Us by Laura Barnett


To get involved with #finishitfeb, it’s not too late, join here:–sign-ups/



Bite Of The Month – Roti King, Euston, London

I was recommended the Roti King, near Euston station in London, by a friend who sent me off with this warning: “The food is great, but it looks like it could be a bit nasty from the outside.”

roti king

Outside the Roti King hangs an old, disused yellow sign for a Chinese takeaway and by its entrance sits an outside toilet in some sort of shed-like structure, which must surely be hell in the winter?! Thankfully I didn’t need to go). So no, it doesn’t look like much from the outside. Inside, however, the place was packed!

Roti King is a small restaurant, seating perhaps only 30 people at a time. We were informed by a sign on the door to queue outside, not inside where it’s warm and you can feel your toes. (The sign may not have said that last bit). So although it was cold, a little damp, and we had to queue facing opposite the outside loo in a shed, I was hopeful that the food inside would be worth it all.

Spoilers… it was.

When you visit the Roti King you must try the Roti Canai, which is their most famous dish. Roti Canai is a type of Malaysian fluffy flatbread, that’s chewy and made up of layers. Kind of like layers of a very thin pancake. It’s normally dunked in curry or lentil sauce. With the bread acting as an excellent sponge soaking up the traditional Malaysian flavours.

The food at Roti king is as authentic as you will find outside Malaysia. In fact, I had my first Roti Canai in Georgetown, Malaysia and have really fond memories of that experience. I’d been having a hard time finding roti as tasty now I was back in London, until I’d tried Roti King.

Roti King, London

Like the food stalls in Malaysia, Roti King is simple, no frills, and is all about the food and the flavours.

Roti King also serves a wide range of other hawker style dishes, such as nasi lemak – a Malaysian coconut milk rice dish, served with sambal, fried crispy anchovies and toasted peanuts. Also mee goren (fried yellow noodles with vegetables).


But for me, this place is all about the Roti Canai and perhaps, maybe some Kopi Putih (Malaysian coffee with condensed milk) to wash it down with.

Roti King


Cusine: Malasyian Food

Price: £. Good.

Try: Roti Canai and a sweet Roti with bananas.

Service:  Bit slow.

Atmosphe: Relaxed. Odd art work.

Food: Delish.

Where to find them: 40 Doric Way, Kings Cross, London NW1 1LH

Bite Of the Month – Pho & Bun, London

Having worked in a Vietnamese restaurant for 6 months when I was living in Melbourne and having travelled in Vietnam for a month in 2014, from North to South, I like to think I have a pretty good understanding of Vietnamese food and culture.  That’s why I can safely say with (some) credibility, that the food I had at Pho & Bun in London, was pretty great!

Now, I’ve never had a good dining experience in Chinatown, London. Food poisoning –  yes, great food – no. (If anyone has some good Chinatown tips please let me know). So I entered Pho & Bun situated on Shaftesbury Avenue, lying on the outskirts of Chinatown, with very, very low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. It’s now one of my ‘go to’ places in that area.


Now first I must confess, this place isn’t for  authentic vietnamese food, no. It’s better than that. Like ‘brunch’, the ‘phone camera’ or  ‘Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt’, some of the best things have been created from amalgamating different things together. Pho & Bun fuses Vietnamese food with a western, modern twist. It serves up classic Vietnamese flavours – lime, coriander, chilli, ginger but cooked up how we like it with quality cuts of meat.

The dish that epitomises this ‘East meets West’ relationship comes in the form of a steamed bao burger – of course it does. We ordered a range of dishes – rice paper rolls, spring rolls, pho, but for me the tastiest dish was this honey glazed pork belly served in a super soft steamed bun. The bun was so soft you’d wish you could sleep on it.

I am keen to go back there and try out other dishes and other flavours of the steamed bun burger.burger pho and bun.png

One thing I will say is try not to go there when it’s too busy – so prime dinner time on Fri/Sat. They seem to want to accommodate everyone but once this was to the detriment of the food. Take your time Pho & Bun, and keep doing what you do best.

Oh and the sweet potato fries are pretty great too.

And if you do head further afield from London for some Vietnamese grub, say Vietnam? Be sure to check out this previous blog entry: My Top Food Experiences in Vietnam


Living in Melbourne Guide: What I love to do in Northcote

A friend of mine and her partner recently moved to my old patch Northcote, Melbourne on their Australian work/holiday Visa and asked me for some tips of things to do in Northcote. As soon as I started thinking I realised I had a lot of great memories in Northcote and had quite the list!

The Herbert
Northcote, Melbourne. Photo Source: Herbert, Northcote.

For me Northcote is a great place to live, it’s cheaper than trendy Fitzroy, has great transport links – the 86 and 11 tram and a train station, and it’s easier to get to Fitzroy than it is from popular Brunswick.

Northcote has a lot to offer, so here is what I loved to do most when I was living there:

  1. Local Coffee Shops

Living in ‘coffee loving’ Melbourne means you have a local, independent coffee shop rather than a local pub. My local was The Herbert, located next to Northcote train station.  They brew local coffee – Padre, and serve up delicious Aussie brunches – i.e lots of options involving avocados.

herbert coffee

Some other coffee shops worth checking out are Espresso Alley and The Breakfast Club 

2. Eating 

Melbourne really is a foodies’ haven. My British friends and I would often joke that a proper ‘Melbourne Day’ consisted of a day of travelling round the city and eating. Why did I leave again?

There’s some really great places to eat in Northcote, here’s my favourite:

  • Wild Yak, Tibetan Restaurant – My first experience at Tibetan food, delicious and lots of vegetarian options. (Don’t be put off by the god awful website)
  • Lentils As Anything – There’s a few of these in Melbourne and technically this is in Preston, but it’s on the same stretch of road from Northcote, so you can walk there or get the 86 tram. I regret not getting round to volunteering at Lentils As Anything, it’s a great community project where patrons ‘pay what they feel for the meal.’ All the food they serve is vegan or vegetarian. The service is terrible, but remember the whole project runs off volunteers and food donations.  Be sure to try the fried vegetable pakora and the chai latte!  Yum!

lentil collage

  • Open Studio – This french themed creperie offers up a tasty selection of savory and sweet crepes. There’s also, because it’s Melbourne, some great GF and vegan options available too. What I also love about this place is the atmosphere! Come evening time there will often be a live brass or swing band playing and someone will probably pull you up to dance with them. A fun place to visit in the evening.

open studio

3. Drinking                                         

The Northcote Social Club is the place to go for cheap drinks and to check out Melbourne’s live music scene. They have a huge seating area and a big beer garden too. On Mondays its free live music all evening!

Representing the Northcote Social Club in the UK with my tee. The Aussie Echidna approves!
Representing the Northcote Social Club in the UK with my tee. The Aussie Echidna approves!

4. Parks

There’s some really nice parks to go for a run, walk or to even Geo Cache in Northcote.

Merri park is probably the most beautiful, as you can follow the Merri Creek . There’s also a baseball pitch here if you’ve never seen a game.

merri creek

All Nations park is definitely worth checking out in the Summer, there’s some free to use BBQs (such a good idea) and a mini skate park. You’re right near Coles and a bottle shop too if you need extra supplies. That’s Sundays sorted then.

5. What Else: 

Ceres Community Environment Park – it’s perhaps the epitome of what it’s like living in Melbourne! Ceres’s park is all about sustainability, community, and mindfulness of our planet.’ There’s a permaculture and bushfood nursery here, a book exchange in an old bread cove, a daily, organic market selling goods from local suppliers including ‘biodynamic sausages’  and a cafe where you’ll find many vegan and gluten free options. I never made it to one but I know there’s plenty of workshops and live music gigs here too.

There’s also the ‘bike shed’ which looks like a place where old, rusty bikes have come to die. But in reality, it’s a place where you can fix up, modify or even create a bike from scratch using these old bikes and with the help of the lovely volunteers. All you need is patience and  an annual membership for $10 and you can go and take all the second hand parts you want! Here I got a chain fixed, a new bike pedal and my handle bars and brakes serviced.

ceres park collage northcote

So there it is, a little slice of my life living in Northcote, Melbourne and what I recommend about the place. Let me know if you have any suggestions – I’d really love to hear them.



Australian Christmas VS British Christmas

My 2015 Christmas was much, much different to the Christmas I had the year previous in super sunny Australia! For that Christmas I traded in my cosy Christmas jumper for a Christmas Tee. So after experiencing both, how does an Australian Christmas compare to a traditional cold Christmas here in Britain? Here’s how:

What Australia has got right:

1.The Beach

You have time off over Christmas, the days are long and the weather is hot, hot, hot! So the Beach is a pretty great place to be with your friends and family.
You can even wear your Aussie Christmas gear:12399808_10153792438813866_724924307_o
2. Dining Al Fresco

On Christmas day we had breakfast, dinner and dessert outside. In fact we spent the whole day outside. This means we didn’t run out of space round the dining room table, no one had to be designated to sit on the piano stool, and no one’s elbows went into my Christmas dinner – Huzzah!  Aussies have a lot of garden and a lot of garden furniture – plenty of room for those big family get togethers!

3. Making things that aren’t Christmassy, Christmassy

Poor Australia, I feel when it comes to Christmas they are a bit left out. When we think of Christmas we think ‘snow, snowmen, robins, reindeer, Christmas Tree, Santa in his big winter suit.’ These are images we see everywhere at Christmas time. So it feels so odd when you’re standing in a supermarket in shorts and flip flops, surrounded by giant decoration snowflakes, baubles, and a guy in a full Santa suit and you’re deciding whether to get wrapping paper with Santa’s sleigh on or an overweight Robin sitting in the snow, when all the while it’s 40C outside!

Saying that, some Aussies do try to represent a more accurate ‘Australian Christmas’ and I very much enjoyed seeing the odd Surfing Santa, building Sandmen (not snowmen), wearing a Christmas tee and using a snow globe cool cup!

Australia Christmas

What Australia hasn’t got right (yet):

1. Cheesy, awfully amazing Christmas songs

Maybe it was just me but I really didn’t hear those Christmas classics. No Wham, no Slade, no Wizard, not a note from Cliff Richard! None of these songs in every damn shop I went in from December 1st. And I really missed it!

2. Mulled Wine and Advocat

Now I do get why there’s no steaming hot mulled wine, but no Advocat?! None of the ‘bottle shops’ I searched had even heard of it! Is it really Christmas without a snowball at 8am on Christmas morning? I’m really not sure.
christmas in melbourne
Introducing Aussies to Mulled wine

3. Getting in shape for Christmas

Christmas is about eating and then eating some more right? Oh and of course some other stuff about love, kindness and spreading the joy etc…
The beach is great, but not on actual Christmas Day! Who wants to go after over indulging in Christmas lunch? Put me in a woolen jumper and let me sit in front of the T.V eating Quality Street, despite being uncomfortably full. Thanks.

All in all an Aussie Christmas certainly was an interesting one. One I wouldn’t be opposed to celebrating again, but mainly for the novelty factor.
Until then I’ll stick with a traditional winter Christmas in Ol’ Blighty:

My Top Food Experiences in Vietnam – Travel Blog

A fellow traveller once told me “I’ve had better Vietnamese food in Shoreditch than I have Vietnam.” Whereas other travellers when I was backpacking South East Asia  said to me “You’re in for a real treat when you get to Vietnam, the food is great!”.

For me, both these statements appeared to be true. Unlike Thailand where I had pretty good Thai street food all the time I was there, Vietnamese food was very hit and miss!  I’m a foodie and part of travelling for me is all about eating to understand the culture better; even better if the food is cheap! So  I was very disheartened when food stall after food stall we tried in Vietnam disappointed us. It took a while, but for the month I was in Vietnam we did manage to find some great and unforgettable food, which I now can look back on and crave without any chance of fulfilling that craving! Not even in Shoreditch.

So in the interest of sharing what I have learnt to my fellow traveller and for those who want to see what Vietnam has to offer,  here are My Top Food Experiences in Vietnam:

1. BBQ Food in Sapa

Sapa was probably my favourite place in Vietnam! Not because of the food, though it certainly helped, but because of its stunning view and carved up mountains! I’ll save that for another blog post, back to the food – the best food in Sapa is BBQ!

sapa bbq

When the evening comes there will be lots of little street stalls in Sapa, sizzling up to order meat sticks such as pork and chicken and vegetables. There’s lots of choices and you pay per stick, around 10 – 20 VND,  so nice and cheap and you can try a variety of skewers at different stalls. One of my favourites was fragrant beef with mint leaves. You’d wrap the beef in the mint leaves giving a nice freshness to the rich meat. Sooo good.

2. Pancakes in Ninh Binh

Despite being the place to go if you want to visit Tam Coc, Ninh Binh is one of those places that really doesn’t get many tourists, so prepare to stick out! It’s here we found a little food place run by a man and his daughter who spoke very little English. We had no idea what we were ordering, but pointed to a few things on the menu and hoped for the best! Luckily one of the dishes we ordered turned out to be the Vietnamese pancake – banh xeo.


A banh xeo literally means sizzling cake.  It is a savory fried pancake made of rice flour, water, tumeric powder, stuffed with slivers of pork, shrimp, diced green onion, and bean sprouts. So a nice and light change to all the pho we had been eating!

Unfortunately the three of us can’t remember the name of the place we ate in apart from it had a yellow sign. Like I said, Ninh Binh isn’t very touristy, so there’s not much to go on on tripadvisor. But lack of tripadvisor means you get to explore and stumble upon your own little great finds. Yep that’s my excuse, I’m sticking with it.

3. Cooking Up a Storm in Hanoi

As it was Graeme’s birthday, Sar and I decided to surprise him with a Vietnamese cooking course. We ended up on The Home Cooking Class Hanoi by VietnameseAwesomeTravel and it was one of my favourite activities we did in Vietnam!

cooking course hanoiBefore we went here the food we had in Hanoi was pretty darn awful. On the course however, we cooked a wide range of Vietnamese dishes from scratch and our lovely host/chef Trang, taught us about Vietnamese flavours and what food she liked to eat. The course even gave us an introduction to the Vietnamese language (really, the Vietnamese need 5 tones?!), and taught us some pretty handy bargaining words like discount please – “giảm giá” and too expensive  – “đất qua“.Hanoi cooking course

Trang told us about her favourite eateries in Hanoi which we checked out the following  day – finally some decent food! I can’t recommend the course enough, not only did we learn more about the Vietnamese culture, language and food, we also got some tips of where to go in Hanoi for a good bite. As for the best dish we had on the course? Well that was hands down the Vietnamese coconut beef curry, served in a coconut (of course it was).

Hanoi cooking course

4. Egg Coffee in Hanoi

Coffee is such a big thing in Vietnam. Fun Fact: Vietnam is the second largest exporter of coffee in the world!

Vietnamese coffee is very distinct, very strong and often accompanied with a thick layer of condensed milk (trust me, it’s better than it sounds). Graeme and I often reminisce about a Vietnamese Ice Coffee we had in Bac Ha market, near Sapa. But for me, hands down the best coffee I had was an egg coffee at Cafe Giang. Recommended by our cooking course host Trang, Cafe Giang is tucked between two large buildings and is definitely a proper local Vietnamese hangout. You can get its famous egg coffee hot or cold, I went for hot and it was delicious. Creamy, sweet, caffeine goodness. So good I think I’d go back just for that.

egg coffee instagram

Address: cafe giảng 39 nguyễn hữu huân

5. Beef Noodles in Hanoi 

Another recommendation from Trang was Bun Bo Nam bo,  a delicious Vietnames noodle canteen. We went here for the lemon grass beef noodles (Bun bo) which was delicious, fresh and a very good price – 60VND. It comes covered in a traditional Nuoc Man dressing.

food hanoi

Not only was the food tasty and of good quality they didn’t skimp on us because we were tourists – our food was as good as what the locals got!

Address: Bun Bo Nam BO 63 – 79 hang dieu St

6. Western Treats in Hoi An

One rule I stuck to when I was away was: “Avoid food poisoning – don’t eat western food, they don’t know how to cook it!”  Now I’m not normally one for stereotyping but I feel this is a good rule to follow in South East Asia when the chances of you getting food poisoning are 50% (according to my Lonely Planet guide). However, after 3 months of rice, noodles and more rice and noodles you really do miss Western food. I remember going crazy over a box of cornflakes I found in a supermarket in Loas and I don’t even eat cornflakes normally at home!

The good news is there is a place where you can forget the rule and satisfy that Western food craving – Dingo Deli in Hoi An.  It’s great quality produce, it’s cooked fresh and done properly. Established by a Canadian / Australian family who relocated to Hoi An Vietnam in 2010, Dingo rustles up some great Western food like burgers, sandwiches and milkshakes!Dingo Deli

It’s obviously a bit more pricey than the street food, but it’s nice to treat yourself every once in a while, right? Also they have board games there. Who doesn’t like to play Uno whilst they wait for a burger?

Address: 277 Cửa Đại Cẩm Châu tp. Hội An Cẩm Châu tp. Hội An Quảng Nam Vietnam,

So there you have it my top food experiences I had in Vietnam. Like I said the food was very hit and miss but when you do hit, you hit good!