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Vietnamese food is rightly popular in the West and Hanoi is the perfect place to savour the traditional taste. Start your day with noodles in a meaty sauce served at any of the pho stands around town. Alternatively try Chau, a porridge served with fish or meat, scallions and herbs.
Lunch tends to be a leisurely affair as many locals enjoy a two-hour siesta. Select from rice stalls which sell grilled meat, fish, tofu and green vegetables mixed with rice or chose a restaurant for crabs, prawns or fish or the grilled fish cakes which are a specialty of Hanoi.
Dinner can be an expensive affair if you frequent the classy Vietnamese restaurants housed in old French villas. Alternatively, there are a few Vietnamese buffets such as the one at Brother's Cafe. Whichever you choose, eating a dessert of ice cream or a creamy mixture poured over ice, while sitting by Hoan Kiem Lake is a wonderful way to finish the day.
Naturally, if Western food beckons, there is plenty of choice. The major hotels and some restaurants serve Western breakfasts. International lunch buffets are available at many large hotels and some of the up-market clubs. Non-Asian dinners are popular at Luna Autunno (Italian), at expensive La Verticale (French) and the much cheaper Le Cafe des Arts (Continental).