Street food comes inside

Vietnam Heritage, August-September 2011, Advertorial -- Azenh in the Old Quarter, Hanoi’s hub for street gourmets, at 31 Lò Sũ Street, Hanoi, offers Vietnamese street food, _including snacks and savoury pastry, that lures diners to Phố Cổ (the Old Quarter). At Azenh, however no more crowds of pedestrians and used paper tissue.
The most memorable food that came to my table was bánh bèo, six little steamed rice pancakes, smooth, three in Hue flavour, three with a surprise garnish and sauce, as invented by the house. To make it suit Hanoians’ palates, there was a clearer, spicy/salty note.
Hanoian bánh tôm [shrimp cakes] were very good, the oil thoroughly drained off, better than at some renowned street spots.
There are plenty of dishes for a wholesome lunch/dinner, with a choice of local and Western. The restaurant recommended beef steak, which was tender and not overdone, and the honey-sweet gravy made for a nice dip, a change from plain, bland, Vietnamese bread.

You may meet the owner of Azenh, Mr Duong. I found out from him that the ingredients for the bánh bèo came all the way from Hue and the dish was prepared basically to a generations-old recipe. An added something new, as in the case of a favourite of mine, Hue-Hanoi bánh bèo set, is the idea behind Azenh.

By Thu Phuong Nguyen
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