All photography by Kien Be Duy
Located on the second floor of the Flower Garden Hotel, Spice Viet Hanoi welcomes hungry patrons with fresh takes on classic fare. The chic and minimal decor may feel contemporary, but the homemade fish and chilli sauce on the table immediately gives that homey Vietnamese vibe. Pull up a chair and get ready to feast, starting with a simple vegetarian soup to satiate the stomach or if you are in a group, an assortment of appetizers and bites from north to south.
When it comes to the menu, the most important thing at Spice Viet is authenticity. Choose from either the regional or local specialities, munching on delicacies normally tasted in the alleyways of Ho Chi Minh City or the seaside stalls of Da Nang. Spice Viet researches local favourites in every major Vietnamese destination, sampling dishes at street stalls specializing in one dish, in order to recreate as accurate a flavour profile as possible.
Another essential element in all the Spice Viet restaurants is freshness. Vietnamese cuisine is noted around the world for its ultra-fresh ingredients. Locally sourced produce is the star of the show in Spice Viet’s dishes. Each protein is elevated with herbs, greens and vegetables.
Spice Viet Hanoi features some of Vietnam’s most-loved dishes, from the northern-style grilled smoked snakehead fish, served on a hot stove seared with dill and green onion (chả cá Lã Vọng) to the central speciality of Quảng noodles, made from turmeric-infused rice noodles with pork, shrimp and peanuts. Fresh southern spring rolls (gỏi cuốn) stuffed with vegetables, noodles and bright, juicy prawns are served along with a sweetened fish sauce. In one meal, you can taste your way through the nation.
There’s something simply wonderful about the plating at Spice Viet. Garlic shoots jut out of classic gỏi cuốn, beef rolls in betel leaf (bò lá lốt) come out encrusted in sesame seeds and sizzling on a small charcoal stove. Watch as the leaves wilt under the heat, before popping one of these juicy bites into your mouth. When betel leaves are grilled, they transform into crispy and peppery vessels of flavour. Spice Viet carries that special something about Vietnamese cuisine, as each dish becomes an experience of all senses, engaging you with playful presentation, aroma, touch and taste.