Situated right next-door to Home38, and with an almost carbon copy menu, 36A Tran’s is a delightful little café that serves up a host of western pub-classics such as English and American breakfasts, fish and chips, bangers and mash, as well a choice of sandwiches, all very much cooked in the same vein your mom would make them, which is surely a good thing. The breakfasts come in at an affordable 120,000 VND, and the sandwiches (bacon and egg, ham and cheese, grilled chicken, etc.) are cheaper at 70,000 VND.
There is also a slew of Vietnamese dishes available including, grilled pork with noodles (65,000 VND), bung bo nam bo (stir fried beef with noodles, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, and a sweet and sour dressing) for 55,000 VND, and deep fried spring rolls 59,000 VND.
Open just over 3 months, the café has a quiet, peaceful atmosphere, and there is a beautiful mural of an empty Vietnamese lane on the wall, which almost feels as if you can walk right into the scene. The food is fresh and made to a high-standard; for Chào the standout dish was undoubtedly the homemade Australian meatloaf with mash, gravy and mushy peas, a steal at just 100,000 VND. Honestly, we were not necessarily expecting such a quintessentially western dish served up in a Vietnamese mom-and-pop café to hit all the right notes. We were wrong. It was utterly superb: the meatloaf was well-textured, moist and slightly fatty, the gravy excellent and it was all served with the freshest mushy peas you could ask for. Could there have been a bit of extra butter in the mash? Probably, but you can’t have everything.
The bacon and egg sandwich was also great, toasted bread, crispy bacon, generously packed with a delicious sunny-side egg: a mini-breakfast wrapped in some toast, and as good as any we have tried around Hanoi’s Tay Ho district of late.
“My husband was the chef next-door and decided to open his own place,” owner Tran Vuong told Chào, finally solving the mystery as to why the food was so similar to the neighboring restaurant. “We want customers to enjoy good quality food and perhaps some dishes they are missing from the UK.”
It is unclear whether residents in and around the popular Quang Ba Street create a big enough bloc for there to be two places serving up English greasy-spoon breakfasts, but it is a dish of such joyous perfection that we sincerely hope they can. There can never be too many fry-up joints in the world.
“The food is pretty much the same, but I prefer here as it is a bit quieter, and there is black pudding on the menu,” an Irish diner told Chào. If you are in the area and need a dose of western comfort food then 36A Tran’s is a very solid bet.
36A Quang Ba Street, Tay Ho, Hanoi,
036 813 8838
9 a.m. to 9 p.m.