Wrap and Roll
On our quest to eat Hanoi, we heard from a few people that Wrap and Roll is the place to go! Delicious and fresh ingredients and the fun of wrapping your own rolls sounded appealing to us. We ended up on the 5th floor of the Trang Tien Plaza (later we found out that there is another one even closer to the Old Quarter, which may or may not be better priced). What do we think of this place?
Meh! It was good, and yes the ingredients were fresh, but overall the taste didn't blow us away. What did blow us away were the prices, and not in a good way. Yes, we are very spoiled by $3 dinners and were really grumpy about having to pay $20 for lunch!
The concept isn't even all that interesting. You get a few rice papers and some ingredients. You are then supposed to put the herbs and greens on a rice paper first, top it with noodles, then the meat, then roll it, dip it into sauce and eat it. You can also order pre-made rolls, which just means they roll it for you and bring it to the table. We got a mixture of both, and they all tasted good, but none of them really blew us away.
We saw lots of good reviews on Trip Advisor for this place, but I'd say unless you REALLY want to wrap your own spring rolls, then save your money and eat elsewhere. We have had better spring rolls in Hanoi, and at a fraction of the price. This place seems more or less like a tourist trap. Take our advice, Don't Wrap and Roll.
Thang Long Water Puppet Show
Yes this is definitely another place mainly for tourists in Hanoi, but it is worth the money, mostly because it is very unique. The show is only about 1 hour long, which was great because since all the songs are in Vietnamese (all very traditional songs), the kids were starting to get a little antsy towards the end.
There is a group of musicians that sit to the left of the stage and sing and talk for the puppets. Behind the scenes, the puppets are controlled by people who are standing in water. It seemed like they controlled them from behind and the sides of the stage. I was also really glad that we went to Ngoc Son Temple yesterday, because one of the scenes showed King Le offering the sword to the tortoise. It was a very neat experience, and I would say money well spent at just a few dollars per ticket (Hannah was free), plus an extra dollar to be allowed to take photos of the show.
After another very well priced dinner at one of our favorite local "restaurants", we checked out a small dessert store right by our house. The shop is tiny, but it does have some yummy desserts.
The matcha green tea crepe cake reminded me of the Lady M cakes back home. Though this was much much much cheaper, it actually wasn't as delicious as Lady M's cakes.
Regardless, we enjoyed our desserts and ended our evening on a sweet note.