Hanoi: Xôi Yến

This is the third post in an overseas trip to Hanoi, Vietnam.

So when I first knew that I was going to Hanoi, my first reaction was to ask one of my Vietnamese friends where to go eat in Hanoi. She gave me a few recommendations, but one that stood out and that I managed to try (in my very short time there) was Xôi Yến, a sticky rice restaurant. 

My experience with sticky rice is very limited, and really it’s the occasional loh mai gai (chinese sticky rice with pork) that I have for breakfast. Apparently, in Hanoi, it’s a dish in itself. It was also the first time I knew about Xôi, since my previous visit here, I had not seen it at all.

Luckily, Xôi Yến was located in the Old Quarter and near to all the other eating places that I wanted to try. So, very walkable.

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So when I first asked what Xôi was, F replied that it was savoury and fatty.

“Fatty. Chicken oil, but it is worth it”

So I was forewarned about the health value of this dish.

One thing though about this place was that there’s not much english translation on the types of toppings you can get with your sticky rice. So I wasn’t able to gleam the full extent of the variety offered. Eventually, after some mix and match of vietnamese words to the varied english translations, I ordered the mung bean, shredded chicken with sticky rice combination. I also chose this combination as F had shared that this was a combination she usually ordered while at Xôi  Yến.

As expected, service was fast and efficient. I had a nice seat on the second floor overlooking the street. Perfect for people watching. Only bummer – restaurant had no wifi, or refused to share.

The Xôi was accompanied with a small cucumber salad, which I thought a nice balance to the sticky rice. So what did I think? On the face of it, it’s such a strange combination isn’t it – rice, mashed mung bean, shredded chicken, fungus and with a glistening layer of oil. However, somehow, it all came together,that bite of sticky rice, mung bean and chicken. It was weirdly sweet and savoury at the same time. Before I knew it, half the bowl was gone.

Wow.

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Even though it was a small bowl, it was really really filling. Towards the end, I really struggled to finish (but then I did have bun cha about 2 hours before). So glad that I got to sneak this food outing in while in Hanoi!

Add: 35B Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

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