The Hanoitimes - Hanoi is a fascinating city with combination between classic and youthful city, but if you want to explore the Vietnamese people and their culture, you must delve deep into its street food.
For anyone who has been to Hanoi, nom bo kho (green papaya salad with dried beef) is an excellent dish. No one knows where nom bo kho came from or when it first appeared. However, this dish has gone popular for Hanoians and visitors.
In Hanoi, you can find nom bo kho in many streets or alleys, but beating all of the above is the tiny restaurant in Ham Long street or Thanh Ha alley, O Quan Chuong street. My recommendation for you is nom bo kho Ba Gia in Thanh Ha alley, O Quan Chuong street. The presentation of the dish is quite similar to that in Ham Long street. However, nom bo kho Ba Gia is said to serve the most excellent beef and sauce.
Nom bo kho Ba Gia in Thanh Ha alley, O Quan Chuong street. Photo: Ha Phuong
Groups of young students and families comfortably sit on plastic stools on sidewalks, and enjoy a fresh salad on small plastic plates. The dish must be so good that they don’t mind motorbikes and cars passing by their tables.
Vietnamese, especially Hanoi food, is also considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. The use of fresh herbs, meat, fish sauce combined with a right balance of spices is what makes Hanoi food taste and smell so good. Nom bo kho served on the streets is the best example of the balance, like the name, it combines dried beef, green papaya, peanuts, perilla leaves with mixed fish sauces. Among those ingredients, the salad dressing really stands out.
There is no denial to say nom bo kho is a popular street snack. A good dish of nom bo kho is strongly influenced by the sauce. If the sauce tastes good, then this dish will become more delicious.
Located in Thanh Ha alley, O Quan Chuong street, nom bo kho Ba Gia outlet makes the Hanoi’s shortest street always crowded with local and foreign visitors. nom bo kho Ba Gia is open from 3:00 – 6:00 pm, each plate of nom bo kho costs you VND25,000 (US$1.07).
O Quan Chuong is the only remaining gate of the ancient Thang Long citadel. According to historical records, this gate was built in the 10th year of Canh Hung Dynasty (1749), called Dong Ha Mon (Dong Ha gate orthe gate of Dong Ha ward). This work was restored twice, in 1804 and 1817, under the reign of King Gia Long. The current architecture is the result of the first repair in 1804.
Nom bo kho – one of the best street foods in Hanoi.
O Quan Chuong was designed as a vong lau - a typical architecture of the Nguyen dynasty, with the front facing O Quan Chuong Street and the back looking to Hang Chieu Street. The gate has 2 storeys. The first storey has three doors: a door in the middle of 3m high and 3m wide, and two side doors of about 1.65m wide, 2.5m high.