Meet the Chefs
Susan Tung &
Hanoi House &
by Karen Irvine
1. Hanoi House
Fresh Shrimp Rolls with rice paper wraps, shrimp, lettuce, vermicelli noodles, pickled vegetables, cucumber, mint in a peanut dipping sauce.
2. Hanoi House
Vermicelli – chicken marinated in lemon grass, mint, lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, pickled vegetables, peanuts and green onions with sweet fish sauce on the side.
Tonkotsu Ramen with pork bone broth, chashu pork, marinated egg, woodear mushrooms, green onion, bean sprouts and nori
I have been following Susan Tung since 2019 when she opened Hanoi House, a Vietnamese restaurant on Hunter Street in downtown Peterborough. I have eaten there on numerous occasions and love the fresh tastes. Oh, and the Vietnamese coffee is exceptional!
Susan Tung has been in the restaurant industry all her life - her family owned the Golden Wheel in Cavan until they retired in 2018. Thought she was only going to be back for a couple of years and go back to Toronto, but it didn’t work that way. She met her husband, who was a customer at the Golden Wheel and ended up staying. Susan felt there was a lot of opportunity in Peterborough in terms of cultural diversity in cuisine here.
During Covid, Susan opened another location for Hanoi House on Lansdowne Street and kept Hunter Street as a second restaurant called NAKA, a trendy Japanese restaurant. She says, ‘I actually had my eye on the Lansdowne Street location for a while, and when I saw the ‘for lease’ sign I jumped on it. It was very challenging during Covid to open a restaurant. The Lansdowne location is bigger with good parking and better wheelchair accessibility than the space on Hunter Street.
Morgan Bell is the Head Chef and explained the difference between Hanoi House and Naka. She said, ‘The biggest difference is the ingredients used and the flavours. Vietnamese food is very light, fresh, healthy, lots of herbs and more casual with an additional dinner menu with bigger, more entre items to appeal to the dinner crowd. Vermicelli, pho, etc.’
Naka is more Izakaya, which means gastropub in Japanese. Its heavier, deep fried, comfort foods - tempura, fresh shucked oysters, karaage, udon, ramen, etc - more of a late night, cocktail vibe. Naka has a bigger cocktail menu, Japanese liquors, so it’s more of a bar vibe.’
Morgan is born and raised in Peterborough. Cooking was always a family thing for her. She learned cooking at the George Brown Culinary program and the business side with menu building and admin at the Fleming Culinary program. Prior to Covid, Morgan worked for 7 years at Kettle Drums with the past owners, then at the Casino in the restaurant.
The atmosphere is very upbeat and the staff work well together. Morgan said, ‘My favourite part of the food industry is the comraderie you build with the people you work with – it’s amazing. It’s not an easy job, you work really hard and going through the hard parts makes you a stronger team.’
If you haven’t tried Hanoi House or Naka, I suggest you try both. You won’t be disappointed and you will keep it on your Best Restaurants list.