Sherman's Food Adventures: Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter

My very last meal eating out at a restaurant before the shutdowns was with Jacqueline at Hanoi Old Quarter.  For those who are unaware, they are part of the same group as the ever-so-popular Mr. Red Cafe.  Hence, the menu at Hanoi Old Quarter serves up some of the same goodies with a Northern Vietnamese flair.  This location used to be Happy Man Restaurant which was a HK-style cafe.  Some subtle renovations have given it a Vietnamese look but the overall layout stayed the same meaning seating is on the tighter side.  Loved how the staff were so welcoming and pleasant throughout our meal.

Getting to the food, we had the outstanding Crab Spring Rolls.  Exactly like the ones you'd find at Mr. Red, these were bursting with filling including a generous amount of fluffy crab.  Beyond that, there was also a good mix of sweetness, brininess and umami elements.  This was all encased in a legit thin and crispy rice paper wrapper.  One of the best things to eat in town period.  Next up, we had the Banh Cuon with minced pork with a side of Vietnamese ham.  These rice noodle rolls were super thin and buttery soft.  At the same time, there was a pleasing elasticity to them.  Loved the moisture content as it was just enough without being wet, and not overly dry either.   There could've been a touch more pork and wood ear mushroom, but that wasn't a huge deal. This was topped with aromatic and crispy fried shallots.

Onto some bigger dishes, we had the Beef Stew in Clay Pot served with a baguette.   Although it didn't look very big, there was plenty of tender beef slices nestled within the flavourful stewing liquid. Along with a hint of curry, the onions and five spice really came through.  I personally love it with bread rather than noodles, so I like how this is the way they serve it.  Lastly, we tried the Vermicelli Noodle Soup with egg, chicken, prawn, ham and herbs.  As you can see, this was a bevy of ingredients that totally hid the noodles.  Very filling bowl of noodles despite the "light" ingredients.  The broth itself was clean and sweet with some of the flavours from the ingredients blending in.  I found the noodles to be perfect being slippery with a chew.  Although there could be a variety of meals as my last before I stopped going out (this was mid-March), this was both satisfying and delicious.

The Good:
- Love those crab spring rolls
- Nice people
- Different than the usual Southern Vietnamese spots in town

The Bad:
- Seating is tight


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