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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Great Vegetarian Food in the Old Quarter, Hanoi

What’s a great place for Vietnamese vegetarian food in the Old Quarter of Hanoi? It's got to be Com Pho Co on 16, Nguyen Sien Street! 
If you’re tired and hungry after indulging in some hard bargaining on Hang Duong Street – setting of the famous Night Market (and what a far cry from Tam Coc - all Nature with hardly any shops) – turn off at Ngo Gach and walk straight on; you’ll hit Nguyen Sien Street in a minute.
Walk past the pavement ‘dhabas’ where customers sit on low – maybe a foot high – plastic stools to partake of their fare. 
Welcome the Steam  (Arun Sikka)
Ignore the tempting smells and intriguing sights of open air grills, kettles on stoves, the smoke rising in the chilly air, and you’ll Com Pho Co in about eight minutes – less if you don’t dawdle.

Bright yellow lights and a large open glass door invite you into a hall. Sit on any of the large rectangular
tables – six or eight seaters.
Savour the visual display of the dishes on the buffet spread; place your order for Vegetarian spring rolls, pho (rice noodles), tofu and stir fried vegetables followed by caramel custard with the smiling, friendly, helpful waiters – who look more like family than staff; and enjoy! 
A beer to accompany the meal or a cup of tea to sip helps you absorb the chatter in the restaurant. No it’s not eavesdropping because you won’t understand the languages being spoken – Com Pho Co attracts tourists of all nationalities (who of course don’t stick to vegetarian food).
Oh, it’s good! And we went there again and again. And every time it fulfilled its role of rejuvenating us and getting us ready for the next assault on the shops of the Old Quarter.

So to sum up, here are four reasons to eat at Com Pho Co: 
1. Good vegetarian (and it goes without saying, non vegetarian) Vietnamese food
2. Friendly and warm atmosphere – the ambience, the lighting, the patrons, the staff
3. Convenient location – a few minute’s walk off the main artery (Hang Duong)
4. Friendly on the pocket 

Go and eat! If you know a better place for vegetarian (Vietnamese) food in the old quarter, I'd love to know.

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