Restaurants in Hanoi: Madame Hien

March 31, 2012

In a beautiful French colonial building you will find Madame Hien, a restaurant offering traditional Vietnamese food in Hanoi.

We had a business lunch there (May 2011). Therefore, I could not take many photos of the surroundings and the food. Please forgive me. I promised myself that I would come back to the place when I’m in Hanoi next time.

The gate to Madame Hien

Madame Hien is owned by the celebrated French chef Didier Corlou. He comes from Brittany and owns another restaurant in Hanoi called La Verticale.

The lunch menu

As you can see from the menu above, a three course meal costs about 200,000 Dong only. The dishes one can select offer a wide variety of Vietnamese delicacies.

My main course

I took something light and enticing. As starter I selected the grapefruit salad with prawns, followed by the grilled fish “Cha ca” Madame Hien style. I finished with the cheese “Le Corlou” to honour the chef. All of the dishes were delicious, excellent.

Trip advisor gives 4 of 5 stars to the restaurant. There you will find as of today 210 reviews, 90 of which rank the place as “excellent” and 72 as “very good”.

Unfortunately, the most recent reviewers seem not to have had a good time at the restaurant. No idea what happened. Sure is, that I will come back, next time with a bit more time on my hands, and so that I can have a glass of wine with the food. See you there, maybe.

Madame Hien
15 Chan Cam, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Between Ly Quoc Su and Phu Doan, just south of Hang Gai
Tel.: +84439381588,

Restaurant review: Quán Ăn Ngon, Hanoi, Vietnam

October 4, 2010

Quán Ăn Ngon and the tents in the garden

My favourite restaurant in Hanoi is Quán Ăn Ngon. When I went there recently I indulged in delicious Vietnamese food. The pity is if you are just one person it is difficult to just grasp the full potential of a Vietnamese meal. Who can eat five-six dishes all by himself?

The place was packed with people when I got there, but the friendly waiters found a table just for myself. I started with a Hanoi beer, then ordered some Chinese rolls, some soup, some salads and had a jolly good time watching the buzzing place and the happy people around me.

Hanoi Beer

My meal

The picture one of the very friendly waiters took of me

Postscript: This is the place to go to when in Hanoi. A people’s place. I just love the food. They have also a branch in Ho-Chi-Min City but I find the Hanoi one much more appealing.

My verdict: five out of five.

Caution: Not much for wine drinkers. Hanoi Beer is the go.

Quán Ăn Ngon
18 Phan Boi Chau,
Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel.: +84-4-3942-8162
Fax: +84-4-3942-8164‎

Bacchus Corner: wine shop in Saigon, Vietnam

June 26, 2010

One of the many good things in Vietnam is, that there is plenty of wine available (another one is that the Vietnamese seem to have capitalism in their blood – I love capitalism). When strolling through the streets of Hanoi and Saigon I was always on the lookout for wine shops.

In Saigon I found Bacchus Corner, not far from the Rex Hotel, the hotel with the famous terrace. The internet says that there is also a Bacchus Corner in Hanoi, but I did not manage to get there.

Thanks god that he Vietnamese have no local wine industry to protect like the Thais, and therefore wine prices are not too high, though still far higher than in Australia or Germany.

Bacchus Corner

When I took the photo above I was overcome with joy. I had walked the city for about one hour and could not spot a single place where wine was on sale. Alas, Bacchus Corner came into sight. But first I had to cross a busy street with millions of motorcycles – after more than 20 years in Asia I am experienced at that.

The inside

The staff was extremely helpful and very friendly. I browsed through the wine on offer and settled for a bottle of Four Sisters 2006 Merlot. For 380,000 Dong (US$ 1 = 19,000 Dong) it did not come cheap. Most wines were beyond my reach financially. But there must be a market for such pricey wines.

Bacchus Corner also offered excellent whiskeys, cognacs, brandies and other spirits. If you are looking for a hard to get vintage wine, go to Bacchus and ask them to get it for you. Since the shop is still in the setting-up stage (one room was still being renovated), you will have great prospects to get a real treat, I guess.

Bacchus Corner
17/11 Le Thanh Ton St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: =84-8-829-3306

Liberty cuisine in Saigon

June 21, 2010

We liberals love liberty, and if there is an opportunity for Vietnamese food in Liberty Plaza, we just cannot resist. Please see below what delicious dishes we tasted.

The ultimate Vietnamese cookery book

March 21, 2010

Unfortunately, during my recent visit to Hanoi and Saigon I had no opportunity to check out the various culinary highlights of these fabulous places. I was part of a large delegation and had no choice regarding the food, or almost no choice. Not that we had to eat bad food. However, I could not explore the local cuisine. There are some truly extraordinary places to be found, from traditional Vietnamese cuisine to all kinds of fusion cooking.

“The Songs of Sapa” is the title of a Vietnamese cookery book which is most amazing. Luke Nguyen an Australian from Sydney whose parents came as boat people and refugees, has produced a marvelous book summarizing his various travels to Vietnam. He collected many recipes and reproduced them in this book. The pictures are outstanding, really.

Luke is very well known in Australia. He runs Red Lantern, a Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney. I would love to taste his cooking. For the time being I have to be content with the cookery book and because it is so magic, it will do for me here in Bangkok.