As much as I like trying to be brave, sometimes language can be a barrier to exploration.
Local knowledge seemed ideal, so I decided to find a guided food tour we could go on, eventually signing us up for a Hanoi Street Food Tour.
Because one of our number didn’t eat meat, I opted for a private tour. As there were 4 of us, it didn’t turn out that much more expensive ($100 vs $80).
We turned up at the office on time, and were introduced to our lovely guide, who had the nickname Miss Smile. She plunged off into the streets (on foot), and we started the tour.