Among the many local food Vietnam has to offer, BBQ was never on our list to try. Even more so considering we have plenty of such restaurants back in Malaysia. But looking at how the street side BBQ establishments were packed to the brim with mostly locals, we decided to give it a try.
Ultimately, we chose to eat at Xuan Xuan located on Ma May street. The overall experience was surprisingly enjoyable and remarkably different from initial expectation. This was one of the more memorable stuff we did in Hanoi so I am glad for it.
Xuan Xuan does not employ hustlers to bring in the customers and that’s a good thing. If a restaurant employs hustlers then it might be a clear sign to stay away. Once seated, you are presented with a simple menu with only a handful of meat to choose for the BBQ sets (VND100,000/pax): beef, pork, chicken or goat udders with fresh vegetables such as okra, onion, tomato, spring onion and egg plant.
The staff speaks basic English so it wouldn’t be a major problem for travellers. Service is fast and efficient, as food arrives within minutes of ordering.
One of the unique thing about Hanoi-style BBQ is that banh (baguette) is served as accompaniment to the meal. You could wrap the cooked savory meat into the banh and create your own sandwich, or fry it in the pan and let is soak up the all the flavors – just like the how the locals do. If you are totally clueless, the staff is more than happy to show you how to enjoy their BBQ. You just need to ask.
The dipping sauce is a simple mix of red chilli, salt, pepper and lime juice. It just complements the meat well and proved to be a winner on its own.
Drinks are cheap here. A bottle of Hanoi beer is only VND15,000. Just the perfect stuff to enjoy BBQ with.
47 Ma May Street
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi