Hem 1 Ly Tu Trong dubbed Hẻm Vit Nau Chao, the Hot Pot Alley, is one of the attractions for locals and students in the Xuan Khanh Quarter. It is still a kind of secret tip in Can Tho but starting to become popular with expats as well and travelers (especially with those who are not afraid of Vietnamese only menus). The alley hosts about a dozen restaurants all offering the same specialty, Can Tho Hot Pot in different styles with fresh fish from the Mekong river or with Duck (also a local specialty).
Hot Pots are served on a fire cooker on your table. As the soup gets cooking you can add different vegetables, leaves, egg noodles or rice noodles, tofu and eggs. You only pay for the side dishes you use and you can order more of any dish you wish. You also get free refills of the hot pot soup. Ask for "them nuoc" meaning more water. It might seem unusual to put in some of the leaves into the hot pot, but try and you will love it.
As the menu is usually only in Vietnamese, you can just look around at other tables when you enter the restaurant and point out, that you would like to order the same. You will also often find a friendly local who speaks some English or German and will be happy to help you. They will probably cheer to you with beer and will be glad to talk to you more afterwards.
Some places are very full. These are the best. Do not be afraid to enter a place that looks like there are no more tables available, just take your time, look out for the waiter and indicate the number of people you are all together (e.g. show two fingers and say "hai nguoi" meaning "two people"). They will then find a table for you or clean up some space.
A more romantic restaurant than the usual neon light places is located in the alley towards Ly Tu Trong street. They have some colorful lamps and you can also sit outside. If you are up for an even more local experience choose one of the restaurants further down the alley.
The Hot Pot Alley (Hẻm Vit Nau Chao) is located between Mau Than Street and Ly Tu Trong Street.
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