Hanoi teems with sidewalk life. Motorbikes beep as they zoom past, pushing you closer to the woman washing chickens on the sidewalk who's crouched in front of a cafe packed with people drinking egg coffees or local beer.
It's also a city where the crammed sidewalks will have you tripping over tiny blue chairs. The plastic seats are ubiquitous on streets where food is made on grills and carts and tops of buckets, just waiting for someone to plop down with a bowl of food from one of the myriad vendors.
For someone who would not self-describe as an adventurous eater, the prospect of street food was both exhilarating and frightening. That's why we decided to start our trip with a guided street food tour, leaving it to an expert to pick the gastrointestinal-friendly places and explain the unfamiliar options.