Lunch options around where I work are fairly limited. You can go and have Pho, the omnipotent Vietnamese staple made of rice noodles and lumps of occasionally undistinguished and indistinguishable meat. You can have Bun Cha which I do love of course, but not every day. There is a place over the road colloquially known as ‘the clay pot place’, because they serve the rice for their dishes in clay pots.
But last week we ventured a little further afield and came across a point and rice place, which was so good we went back to it for lunch today.
The reason we call it ‘point and rice’ is because, the way they serve food here is to give you a plate of freshly steamed rice. You then walk to a counter laden with various bowls of food, and thus lacking the vocabulary to explain to your Viet host what you want for dinner, you simply point at the bowls and they gradually pile it on top of the rice until you’re left with a steaming plate of food.
Point and rice. See?
There are point and rice places everywhere in Hanoi, some good, some bad. This one is particularly good. If you want a bit of cow tongue then they’ve got your back. There are bowls full of nondescript meat and random fishes. There are even a range of vegetarian options, if you really want them, and often its not a bad idea. The tofu is a particular highlight.
But today they won my heart completely and utterly with their nem – deep fried spring rolls. I do love a few good nem. I also got a load of tofu (naturally), spinach and some egg omelette stuff, topping my rice with a spicy soy sauce to help dampen the palette. I didn’t bother with any meat today, but I’ve had both the beef and chicken here before, and they’re both entirely edible.
And the cost of a plate piled high with rice and food? 30,000 Dong, or 85p. Which isn’t bad at all really, is it?
If you want to give it a go yourself, head south along Lang Ha and take the last right before the flyover opposite Language Link.