Grandma’s home cooking is also the theme at this charming, two-storey restaurant along a narrow shopping street in District One. Opened by brother and sister Ngoc Tu and Tuan Giang, Mam Son, whose name refers to the traditional red lacquer tray introduced during Tet, focuses on Hanoian cuisine—the softer, more delicate, fresh-herb reliant cousin to the more pungent dishes of the south. In a renovated colonial shop house and surrounded by mustard-yellow walls, ornate colonial tiles and cherry-red silk lamps, diners are served an artfully presented array of Northern dishes in an Old World setting. Fresh, hand-wrapped Hanoi spring rolls are stuffed with cilantro, chive, shrimp and pork and served with a nuoc mam dippin sauce, while the signature dish, cha ca—grilled fish—is topped with dill, spring onion, peanuts and shrimp sauce. A bowl of the bun rieu cua—pounded crabs collected from rice fields served with crab roe and a tomato-based broth—will make you feel like you’re slurping away in the heart of Hanoi.