Incense Travel - BLOG

Confucianism & the Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Confucianism & the Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Confucianism is a social, moral, educational and political philosophy (or simply a way of life), which was initiated by the Chinese scholar, Confucius, who lived from 551BC to 479BC. His philosophy was later developed by his followers with the purpose of building a harmonious and peaceful society. The philosophy was then spread in Vietnam during the 1000 thousand years Chinese domination, and together with Buddhism and Taoism - they became the 3 main religions in the country.


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Where to Find the Best Bún Noodle Dish in Hanoi

Where to Find the Best Bún Noodle Dish in Hanoi

Much of living in Hanoi has to do with eating and loving some of the noodle dishes that have emerged from this exciting part of the world. Naturally, pho bo (beef noodle soup) noodle dish is a popular choice. If you’ve ever tried one Vietnamese food, it’s most likely pho bo. Made with beef stock and rice noodles, the beef noodle dish is a must-try on the streets of Hanoi. But there’s much more to Hanoi’s diverse noodle scene than this familiar noodle dish.


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The Remarkable Hanoi Train Street

The Remarkable Hanoi Train Street

I took some of my food tour clients to the “Hanoi Strain Street” yesterday, and it reminded me of a quote by Mark Twain: “I saw a startling sight today, a politician with his hands in his own pockets”. The Hanoi’s railroad has become an Instagram-famous street, where tourists come in hopes of a perfect picture with a unique background. I saw no politician there, but the increasing number of coffee shops with chairs sitting next the tracks are making it a startling sight.


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Hanoi Pastry Shops and Bakery Cafés

Hanoi Pastry Shops and Bakery Cafés

On my Hanoi food tours, I’m often asked “Where are the best pastry shops in Hanoi?”, which is a tough question. There are hundreds of pastries and bakeries in Hanoi, and it’s hard to whittle them down to just a handful of them. You can find both local Vietnamese bakery and foreign-chef owns bakery cafes in Hanoi, each has its own personality reflecting the neighborhood it’s located in.


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Pho Cocktail: A New Signature Drink of Hanoi

Pho Cocktail: A New Signature Drink of Hanoi

Gone are the days when a fresh margarita and Negroni at a night club or a glass of wine at your hotel bar were the only options for a boozy night out in Hanoi. Thanks to the game-changers like Diageo Reserve World Class, which generated an impressive group of talented mixologists, many of whom went on to open their own bars, so there is no shortage of spots to sip inventive drinks in Hanoi.


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Where to Find the Best Vegan Restaurants in Hanoi?

Where to Find the Best Vegan Restaurants in Hanoi?

When I was first working as a tour guide more than a decade ago, some travelers came to Hanoi and went to a vegetarian restaurant in the Old Quarter. The next day, they told me how stunned they were as there weren’t any mushroom or tofu on the menu. Yes, being a vegetarian used to be a challenge in Hanoi, but it’s not anymore! As the vegetarian dining scene has blossomed in the last decade, and there are more vegetarian (and vegan) places in Hanoi than ever.


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Top 6 Rooftop Bars in Hanoi with Stunning Views

Top 6 Rooftop Bars in Hanoi with Stunning Views

One of the best ways to discover a new city is to be at somewhere high up with a panoramic view, where you can get a visual grip on your new surroundings while sipping on a local drink. Imagine being elevated above the chaos of Hanoi traffic, where you can feast your eyes on the magnificent views and watch the city transform from day to night. There is no better way to experience the city and to enjoy a sundowner than looking down from a rooftop bar in the capital city of Hanoi.


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What’s the Betel Nut that Vietnamese are Chewing?

What’s the Betel Nut that Vietnamese are Chewing?

On my Hanoi food tours, we often walk by a respectful lady sitting by the foot of a giant iron wood tree on Hang Ma street. Her name is Van, 89 years old and she lives by herself. Chewing betel nut in her mouth all the time, she earns living by selling betel nuts and small fresh aroma like pomelo, jasmine and areca followers. A common question I have from my clients is; what’s that betel nut that she is chewing?


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Top 5 Pho Bo Restaurants in Hanoi

Top 5 Pho Bo Restaurants in Hanoi

On a recent survey conducted by the city of Hanoi, visitors were asked which Vietnamese dishes they had enjoyed the most, most responses were pho bo (beef noodle soup). That doesn’t surprise me, because pho bo is not only famous for its tenderness of the rice noodle, the texture characteristics of low fat thinly sliced beef and the sweetness of the stock attained from low simmering rich marrow bones overnight, but pho bo has also been a symbol of the Vietnamese cuisine.


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Hanoi Street Food Tours with Buffalo Joe

Hanoi Street Food Tours with Buffalo Joe

There is no better way to really feel the city of Hanoi and savor the flavorful Vietnamese food than a guided street food tour. This private walking tour with Buffalo Joe is one of the best tours to truly experience the city and appreciate the food, it exposes visitors to not only the authentic flavor but also the city’s interesting history and culture.


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