My never-ending search for a new Hanoi restaurant has reached a new level recently. After over one year of living in Hanoi and always seeking for new and best places, I always feel that the search can be endless. I know there are yet many hidden gems to be discovered.
About a week ago, I was taken to a restaurant in local neighbourhood of Hanoi by my Vietnamese friends. As the winter weather is perfectly suitable for a warm hotpot, we met up for hotpot. Usually, meat hotpot to me is beef meat hotpot. I’ve also tried chicken hotpot and seafood hotpot, but it’s mainly beef.
But this night, we went to a duck hotpot restaurant. Since I had never tried nor heard of duck hotpot, I was quite thrilled to try it for the first time.
Vịt Cỏ Hạnh Béo Restaurant in Cau Giay, Hanoi
The restaurant is called Vịt Cỏ Hạnh Béo and is located by To Lich river in Cau Giay district of Hanoi. Cau Giay district is situated about few kilometres west from Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem district. Although there are quite some expats living in this area, it’s a local neighbourhood with many homes, offices and life. Also, it’s a place with amazing restaurants that can be listed on top in Hanoi.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I was immediately excited with the local location and vibe. It was full of people in and outside and liveliness told me that it was going to be a great foodie adventure.
Fresh Duck Blood Pudding
I am very lucky to have local friends who take me to new places and try new dishes. Also, I can rely on them to order the best for me. And they introduce me to some of the most exotic dishes in town. So we ordered duck hotpot, two different types of duck dishes and this crazy food – blood pudding!
I had heard of the existence of fresh blood soup in Vietnam and I remember reacting with eyes almost about to pop out when I heard it. This time, I saw it in real life. Fresh duck blood pudding!
While I was fascinated to finally see it in a restaurant in Hanoi, I was in great shock by the idea of eating fresh blood because it sounds too foreign to me. But when the pudding came, I was quite intrigued by the visual of it.
Honestly, I had not planned on trying it, but my friends were telling me that it’s so yummy. So I thought maybe it’s a chance to dare myself to give it a try. I closed my eyes and had a tiny bit of it expecting it to smell and taste yuk. But I was absolutely surprised how it didn’t taste anything like blood but like some flavourful pudding.
Although I quite liked the flavour of it, I couldn’t continue eating it because my mind was still very reluctant to fully enjoy it. But I think my level of courage to try some food beyond my limit has been upgraded once again. And it was worth it!
I don’t know how other restaurants in Hanoi or Vietnam do this, but the blood pudding here was really delicious, at least for a try.
Variety of Duck Dishes
After a very challenging but fascinating appetiser, we had our mains coming on the way. While waiting for the hotpot to boil, we ordered fried duck with saffron and grilled duck.
I liked the crispy fried saffron and its flavour with super tender duck meat. However, the grilled duck was something beyond words can describe. It was a huge portion of duck that just came from the hot grill to our table. The meat was so juicy and tender. I loved it so much as well as all of my friends. We enjoyed it from the first bite to the very last. My boyfriend said it’s the best grilled duck he’s ever had in his life. And in my opinion, I agree with him on this note – 100%!
Then we had our hotpot! By the time our hotpot was ready, I was already almost full from all these amazing duck dishes – especially the grilled duck. But, the hotpot was also amazing. The broth was deep and slightly sour from chops of pineapples in the soup. I mean hotpot usually never fails me. I’d say what differentiates a good hotpot from a mediocre one is the broth.
This one has a really good mix of ingredients and the soup was rich in flavour. It was such a perfect end of the meal.
The blood soup is 20,000VND per bowl. I was told that the prices of hotpot increased since this Lunar New Year, hence, the bill paper isn’t updated yet. There are three different portions for the hotpot and we chose the middle one, 270,000VND, which was a good amount for 3-4 people.
I cannot tell which of the duck dish is 90,000VND and which other is 110,000VND. But these are the prices of grilled duck and saffron duck.
We were four people and we ordered a lot! But the total was 615,000VND (roughly 30USD), which is not bad at all.
To conclude, I was so satisfied with every dish I had here (the least probably the blood pudding although it was delicious) and was worth every VND! If I were to choose one favourite from this meal, you can probably guess, it’s definitely the grilled duck.
The restaurant is not very near where I live, but I know for sure that my boyfriend and I will be back here again for that grilled duck.
So if you’re looking for amazing duck dishes as well as some really local dining experience, I highly recommend you this restaurant. I can say it’s the best duck restaurant in Hanoi! Also, you might want to try that blood pudding and find out if you’ll happen to like it!
Vịt Cỏ Hạnh Béo Restaurant
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00
Menus I had: Vịt Nướng (grilled duck), Vịt Rang Riềng (duck with saffron), Tiết Canh (blood pudding), Vịt Om Sấu (duck hotpot)