The restaurant’s nostalgic is like a “low note” enveloping people in the noisy streets.
Every weekend, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is bustling as people and visitors flock here to enjoy the culinary essence of the land and thousands of years of civilisation. Amidst the noisy streets, Anh Tuyet Restaurant, with horizontal lacquered boards, wooden tables and chairs, antique wall fans, paintings of the old quarter and Bat Trang pottery products, has attracted many visitors. The decorations were inspired by the thinking that Hanoi’s food should be enjoyed using all the senses. The dishes imbued with the traditional cultural identities of the ancient capital city are arranged on wooden tables in a traditional house and will create a highlight ensuring visitors remember them forever. Culinary artisan Anh Tuyet, the restaurant’s owner, supervises the cooks and guides them on how to make the typical dishes of Vietnam’s capital city.
As the seventh generation of a Hanoi family, Tuyet was carefully taught housework by her grandmother and mother since she was very young, from small things like picking vegetables and selecting fresh fish and meat to preparing delicious and beautiful dishes. Over time, her knowledge and cooking skills have improved gradually. She possessed many recipes that have been highly lauded. Tuyet triumphed over many famous chefs who worked in luxury hotels to win first prize with her roasted honey chicken at a culinary fair held at the Horizon Hotel in Hanoi in 1990. After the event, she decided to open a small restaurant, her contribution to promoting Hanoi’s cuisine.
Following the success of her first restaurant, Anh Tuyet artisan opened her second one at 22 Ma May Street in 2008. It has become a destination for people and visitors to learn more about the capital city’s traditional culinary arts. Since 2002, hundreds of foreign visitors have enjoyed the dishes there. They have been also guided on how to process Vietnam’s traditional food. American and Australian customers like to make nem (spring roll) and roasted honey chicken, while Japanese are eager to try traditional food such as banh chung ((square glutinous rice cake), and canh bong nam tha (soup with vegetables, fresh pork paste, black mushrooms and dried shrimp). Guests from many far-away lands are interested in cooking the dishes and enjoying their time at the house in the heart of the Old Quarter. The participants are also awarded certificates afterwards.
Artisan Anh Tuyet has also opened courses for young women to learn about housework. Mai Hong Nguyen, who participated in a course, said: “I used to choose a familiar shop and ask its owner to pick the goods. However, after participating in the course taught by Tuyet, I can choose fresh, quality materials myself and pay the right price”.
Although many fast food restaurants have appeared in big cities, artisan Anh Tuyet persisted in prioritising traditional dishes. She said that no matter how modern life is, Vietnamese people still always want meals full of Vietnamese-flavours.. For decades, the restaurant at 22 Ma May Street has been always an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign guests who love Vietnam’s traditional cuisine.