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Hanoi Corner: The Closest You Can Get To Vietnam’s Northern Capital

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Southeast Asian cuisine is on the rise as one of the top global foodie trends, and Vietnamese food is no exception. In Manila, we’ve long been acquainted with the quintessential pho and the French-influenced banh mi, the latter especially being tied to Saigon or Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s capital in the south.

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Though what our city seems to miss out on is Hanoi’s cuisine, which food critics hail as flavors also worth diving into. Hanoi is known for its slow cooking and more laid-back ways, and is the true homeland of pho.  If that should be any indication, this means that there are more simple yet flavorful dishes to explore from Vietnam’s erstwhile Northern capital.

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Hanoi Corner opened quietly in November 2016 as a hole-in-the-wall eatery offering Manila its first taste of true Hanoi cooking. Its owners, Bob and Anna Nguyen, have a long history with the northern city’s cuisine — their family has owned Hanoi Corner in Hanoi since 2000, widely popular for their bun cha, the same dish Anthony Bourdain and former US President Obama had in the northern capital.

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With Hanoi Corner coming to the shores of Manila, we can only expect the best of Vietnamese heirloom dishes from the first restaurant to serve Hanoi flavors in the city.

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Here are our recommended dishes worth trying at Hanoi Corner:

Bún chả

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This grilled fatty pork dish with rice noodles, herbs and dipping sauce is your best foray into Hanoi cooking. Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama had the iconic bún chả while in Hanoi, an iconic northern Vietnamese dish. Hanoi Corner’s Hanoi branch sells over 100 kilos of bún chả noodles every day, and they brought this exact same recipe to the Philippines.

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Hanoi Corner cooks their phở broth for 24 hours, allowing the flavors to simmer and fully come together. The result? Naturally flavorful broth without the use of additives, and tasty with every slurp. Here are some of our favorite phở offerings:

Phở Bò Sốt Vang (Special Beef Noodle Soup)

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The flavors of phở are usually subtle, but if you’re looking for something more savory, we recommend their special beef noodle soup. Red wine and tomato sauce allows a slightly punchier taste to the phở.

Phở Bò Tái (Half-Done Beef Noodle Soup)

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The same way we like our steaks medium rare, the half-done beef allows the meat’s natural flavors to shine through, providing more depth to the phở’s mild taste. Its tender texture is also a welcome bonus.

Phở Bò Chín (Regular Beef Noodle Soup)

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Fans of the classic Phở Bò Chín will definitely not be disappointed with Hanoi Corner’s version.

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Nem Rán / Phở Cuôn (Fried Spring Rolls/Fresh Rice Noodle Rolls)

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Nem Rán (Fried Spring Rolls)

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Phở Cuôn (Fresh Rice Noodle Rolls)

Bob and Anna shared that the nem rán, or their fried spring rolls, are one of their best hits among their regulars. This writer’s personal favorite, however, is their phở cuôn or their fresh rice noodle rolls, with the wrapping made from the same ingredient for their phở noodles.

It all boils down to choice.

Com Gà Rôti (Sweet Chicken Rice)

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We Pinoys love our fried chicken, and the com gà rôti is a sweeter version of the recipe we know and love, yet still close enough to harken memories of nostalgia.

Cafe Trứng (Egg Coffee)

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Once ubiquitous in every Hanoi café, the cafe trứng or egg coffee has since faded into obscurity. This delicious drink has made its way to the Hanoi Corner menu, made with dark Vietnamese coffee and topped with thick egg cream. A must-try on your visit to Hanoi Corner.

They also serve a matcha version, too, for all you matcha lovers.

Hot-Ice Black/Brown Coffee

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This Vietnamese coffee is first drip-brewed into a cup, and poured into a glass with ice. You can either have it on its own (black), or with condensed milk (brown).

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Photos by Glenn Paolo Imperial

Whether you’re looking to relive your memories at Hanoi, or searching for an introduction to Hanoi cuisine, Hanoi Corner is the closest you can get to the northern city without booking a plane ticket.

Hanoi Corner

https://www.facebook.com/hanoi.corner.2000/

Open daily from 11AM-12AM

Unit 111, 8760 Residences, Santol cor Aranga Sts., San Antonio Village,, Makati,, Makati, Metro Manila