Who can succumb to the beauty of Hanoi autumn?

The sky is strikingly turquoise, the sun filters through yellow leaves and flowers are sprinkled with dewdrops. You feel the breeze caressing your face, sunlight lingering on the streets and smell the ethereal air. This is the most wondrous time in Hanoi and you cannot find this nostalgic and harmonious feeling anywhere else. And this is a perfect time for you to discover the exquisite and tranquil on a city tour around Hanoi. Here are top 3 things to do in Hanoi during autumn:

1. Wandering around the streets

Tiny white daisies in Hanoi - Things to do in Hanoi autumn
Tiny white daisies in Hanoi

Autumn is the most photogenic season of the year with its gorgeous clear color. If you are looking for a traditional place with ordinary people working right on the street, Old Quarter is the first place for you to check out. There are many sidewalk vendors who sell freshly-picked tiny white daisies. Their bicycles add unique and intriguing patterns to Hanoi autumn.

Phan Dinh Phung Street - the most romantic street in Hanoi - Things to do in Hanoi autumn
Phan Dinh Phung Street – the most romantic street in Hanoi

Unlike the Old Quarter with traditional features, the French Quarter is more modern with five-star hotels, government agencies, and office buildings. Idly strolling around the streets, you will be enthralled by the sweet fragrance of milk flowers in every corner. Especially, the trees are streaked with yellow leaves, which transforms our city into a retro and exquisite place. Phan Dinh Phung street, the most romantic street in Hanoi, is the ideal place to take photographs of this scene.

2. Sampling cốm (young green sticky rice)

Sampling local cuisines is a cannot-miss part of your family trip to Vietnam. Cốm is one of Hanoi’s culinary specialties which conveys elegance and purity of land and water. The process of making cốm remains to be the families’ secrets in Vong Village. All we know is that only young glutinous rice is chosen and roasted with meticulousness. Thach Lam, one of the most well-known Vietnamese author, wrote appealing and lyrical prose dedicated to this special cuisine:

Cốm - a must-try food when visiting Hanoi - Things to do in Hanoi autumn
Cốm – a must-try food when visiting Hanoi

Cốm is a unique gift of our country, a gift of spacious green paddy fields, carrying the simplicity, modesty, and tranquility of Vietnamese countryside.

Cốm is not for busy people; it has to be enjoyed slowly, patiently and contemplatively. Then you can feel inside the taste of cốm, there is the freshness of young rice, of wild grass and flowers; inside the green of cốm, there is the crispness of young leaves; and inside its sweetness, there is a delicacy of herbs.

Cốm can be served with either ripe bananas or persimmons and only eaten by hand. You can also purchase bánh cốm (sweet cake made from cốm) and dried cốm as a gift for your friends and family.

3. Enjoy special foods and drinks made from eggs – Top thing to do in Hanoi autumn

What is better than enjoying a hot coffee or hot food during breezing autumn? Hanoi is where you can try anything made from eggs you can imagine. Here is where coffee can be mixed with eggs to multiply the fatty taste of this drink. Here is where beaten egg folks are the most delicious breakfast for every child from generation to generation.

Egg coffee - Things to do in Hanoi autumn
Egg coffee

Egg coffee seems to be unappealing and fishy to newly-visited foreigners when traveling to Vietnam. However, all travelers confess that it does not smell eggs at all, the eggs are light-tasting and buttery. This drink can be served either hot or cold. For the hot version, a small spoon is included so that connoisseurs can blend sugar, eggs, and coffee together. Giảng Cafe, Dinh Cafe, and Old Town Cafe are famous coffee shops which serve the best egg coffee. Sitting in a historic coffee shop and observing slow, peaceful pace of life are ritualistic to Hanoians who expect to detach from the hustle and bustle of this capital city.

Well-beaten chicken egg (trung danh kem) - Things to do in Hanoi autumn
Well-beaten chicken egg (trung danh kem)

When the sultry weather is replaced by cold breezes, daylight becomes shorter and the streets are more vibrant than ever, that is the retrospective time for us to reminisce about our peaceful childhood. Well-beaten chicken egg (trung danh kem) is associated with childhood memories of many Hanoians. This food is easily made, just two egg yolks with some sugar are beaten until they are frothy, light and even in color. Served with bread, this breakfast is extremely addictive and will warm your body up all day. Many flavors can be added, such as green beans, coffee, cocoa, and even durian. Mrs. Khanh Beaten Eggs (55 Hai Ba Trung Street) should be at the top of your list of things to do in Hanoi during autumn.

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A Hanoian lover of art, cuisine and culture, Chi Nguyen enjoys exploring all elegant aspects of this city as well as discovering off-the-beaten-track destinations in the beautiful S-shaped country.

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