Cumulus is a small yet lovely restaurant on Hang Be street in Old Quarter
Located on the second floor of a coffee shop, you need to walk through a tiny entrance then climb some steps before reaching the place. Though the decoration seems quite simple, Cumulus has its own outstanding features which truly impress customers. Cozy atmosphere, typical Northern Vietnamese cuisine, and an inspiring story are some of them.
Cumulus is decorated only with some Dong Ho Paintings (Vietnamese folk painting originating in Dong Ho village) and some slogans telling stories of William Cuong – the restaurant owner, such as “I have a dream”. No fancy decoration, no garish lights, Cumulus’s all about simplicity and coziness. You will feel like eating at home here.
The Inspiring Story
William, the owner of the place, was just a poor street kid before entering the food service industry. Being born in an HIV-infected village and living below the poverty line with no proper education, he spent most of his childhood working as a shoeshiner on the street to make ends meet. In 1999, with the help of the Australian ambassador and KOTO (a social enterprise for disadvantaged children in Vietnam), he started going to school and working for some local restaurants. His life has changed completely since then. In 2000, William even got the honor to serve the then-president of the United States, Bill Clinton during his visit in Vietnam. That was also when Cumulus’s owner first had his dream of having his own restaurant someday, where he can serve delicious meals to people. After gaining several years of valuable experience and working hard in the industry, his dream has finally come true. Cumulus is the result of William’s relentless effort, blood, sweat and tears. From nothing to something to everything, he proudly proved that a poor street kid could also become a successful entrepreneur if you keep working hard and never give up. He has a desire to succeed in making a chain of restaurants and turning them into social enterprises, he would help as many street kids as possible just like how he was helped in the past.
Don’t forget the food
As special as the story is the food served here. The menu is extensive with the main theme of Northern Vietnamese cuisine. Most of them are typical dishes that locals would have in their daily meals. The food will definitely give you a sense of a Vietnamese homemade meal, basic yet cozy and tasty. Each portion is big enough for 2 so keep that in mind when ordering. We had the chance to taste Bun Cha (noodle with grilled pork), fried spring roll and fried noodles with beef. So far we loved them all! Bun Cha comes with fresh raw vegetables, tender pork and rich, savory broth while the spring rolls are crispy outside yet amazingly soft inside. Just scrumptious!
If you come in with a big group, we suggest you give “hot pot” a try. While the hot pot is kept simmering, all kind of ingredients from veggies to meat and seafood are gradually put into the pot and are cooked right at the table. You get to taste a variety of delicious ingredients while having some popular local drinks such as Hanoi beer or rice wine.
Price range: VND 100,000 – VND 200,000 per person.
Address: 2nd floor, 43 Hang Be street, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi