Streetside Desserts in Hanoi

K and I have a habit of joining any queue of locals that we see on our travels. Is there a queue winding around a street and no one can explain what it’s for? We’ll join it, and see where it takes us. Luckily, it hasn’t really failed us yet and we’ve been able to try some amazing food because of it!

On one of those occasions, we lined up to try some chè made by a lady on the side of the road in the Hanoi Old Quarter. With one pot full of lotus paste rice, and other pots full of sweet puddings and soups, she was making soupy desserts on demand for passerbys who ate it sitting on little stools in front of her.


With some miming and pointing (with the associated giggling from those nearby), K and I managed to get ourselves a bowl of the lotus rice with a sweet ginger soup, and a bowl with a red bean soup. They were absolutely heavenly, and just large enough to fill that little hole in your stomach that only exists at around 4pm.

It was probably made just that little bit tastier and satisfying knowing that it had been cooked up in her kitchen at home, and we were eating someone’s genuine home cooking. That’s what I love most about travel – really taking the effort to eat where the locals eat to ensure that you’re having as authentic experience as possible.

How do you ensure you have an authentic experience when you travel?

6 thoughts on “Streetside Desserts in Hanoi”

  1. That sounds delicious! Granted, I haven’t traveled extensively, but when I do, I try to do as you do — follow the locals, talk with them as much as possible and hit up their favorite spots and hidden gems (especially food, as eating is a huge part of what I do, and not only when I’m traveling, but also shops, nature, nightlife, etc.) instead of limiting myself to touristy areas and missing out. This has the added benefit of not only ensuring an authentic experience but also helping to avoid huge tourist crowds!

  2. Oh I love this, you’ve just taken me back to my stay in Hanoi last month! Sadly I didn’t get to try this sweet treat but it sounds fab. Aside from trying authentic dishes, I love chatting to the locals when I’m travelling – I find that such a great way to get a good feel for the country and culture.

  3. I looooove eating street food and queues are always a good sign because it generally means locals give it the thumbs up! When I was in Vietnam, we asked the concierges, etc to give us recommendations on certain dishes and they always had great ones!

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