A list of most popular local foods that should not be missed in Hanoi, take a look and find out what are they.
1. Phở (Noodle soup):
This universally famous food is best enjoyed in Hanoi, where it was “invented” in the early 20th century. Phở rice noodle soup- is omnipresent in Hanoi, appearing anywhere from street vendors to high end restaurant chain Pho 24. Some is served with chicken and some with beef. Each type of meat entails a variety of subdish, using from beef tenderloin to beef brisket, chicken wing to chicken thigh. The tip is, look for the place where locals gather the most and you know where you should order and sit down.
Where to try:
Pho Ly Quoc Su at 10 Ly Quoc Su street or Pho Cuong at 23 Hang Muoi are two local restaurants famous for its pho bo (beef rice noodle soup). Located in the Old Quarter “jungle”, the store easily stands out for the long line of people waiting to be served. You are highly recommended to join the local, line up for the pho bowl and bring it to a selected table to eat (Read more about Pho – Noodle Soup).
2. Bún thang:
If Pho is compatible to linguine in shape, Bun is more like spaghetti. Bun thang is one of the most popular yet hidden fares in Hanoi and one can hardly find it outside of the Old quarters or a few special restaurants scattering across the city. The chicken broth is artistically done and the dish is beautifully served. Bun thang is a harmonious blend of color- the yellow of sliced egg; the white of bun; the off-white of chicken and the green of onions and herbs.
Where to try:
Bun thang Ba Duc on Cau Go street (from noon) or Bun Thang at 13 Gia Ngu (till noon) is a great place to try the dish. This street vendor has a limited number of seats on the pavement but you will be surprised how many people can fit in the two storey old house behind the stall. Enjoy bun thang in such a setting gives the meal enormous highlights in your trip to Hanoi.
3. Cha ca La Vong:
You think you have read about this name somewhere and yes, you are right. Cha ca La Vong is listed as one of the top 100 things you gotta try before you die by many cuisine experts. It is exquisitely grilled fish served with bún, peanut, green onions, dills and shrimp paste. The fish is carefully chosen so that there are not too many bones and fishy smells. A glass of bia hoi or tra da will definitely give your meal more flavour.
Where to try:
Cha ca La Vong restaurant on 14 Cha Ca street is renowned nationally and internationally for its tradition and quality ofserving the dish. It is much more expensive than other local food but the fact that you are sitting in one of the oldest house in Hanoi, served by the most traditionally styled chef is all worth it.
4. Bun Cha (Grilled Pork)
Bun cha is the signature dish of Hanoi. At lunchtime you’ll find just about all of Hanoi sitting on kid-sized stools and slurping down this combination of grilled pork, salty-sweet broth, slices of green papaya, rice noodles, and fresh herbs. Every neighbourhood in Hanoi has a bun cha place — just follow your nose to the smoky streetside grill.
The ideal place to enjoy the specialty is the old-established restaurant at No.1, Hang Manh Street, Old Quarter Hanoi.But really, you can’t walk far without stumbling on bun cha anywhere in Hanoi.(Read more about Bun Cha
5. Banh My Hanoi (Hanoi Bread)
The baguette is one of the enduring symbols of French colonialism. It’s given a Southeast Asian twist by stuffing it with pâté, mayonnaise, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeños and gobs of cold cuts. But the bánh mỳ is basically a blank slate to which cooks can add whatever they desire. Hanoian spell it “Banh My”, not Banh Mi. And most of the stands we came across only have 2 basic types; Banh My Pate(where you choose your meat), and Banh My Trung(egg). You will feel like you could eat half a dozen before feeling full.
Banh My ba Dan at 34 Lo Su or banh my stand at corner of Hang Thung and Nguyen Huu Huan or you can’t walk far without stumbling on banh my anywhere in Hanoi street. (Read more about Banh My Hanoi.)
6. Hanoi coffee & special egg-milk coffee
Coffee was introduced into Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century. Vietnam quickly became a strong exporter of coffee with many plantations in the central highlands. The beverage was adopted with regional variations. Because of limitations on the availability of fresh milk, the French and Vietnamese began to use sweetened condensed milk with a dark roast coffee. Today, Hanoians like to drink coffee in the morning time. In fact, sitting on small chair in pavement with a glass of coffee become the popular image of Hanoian. Travellers who visit Hanoi also like trying this delicious favours like Hanoians and tenderly recognize that no thing better than a cup of coffee at a modern and luxury or pavement cafes to soak up the rhythms of the street and embrace Hanoi from all of its sides, from old to new ones, and from traditional to modern & quirky ones. Beside a cum of coffee with sweet milk and/or a spoonful of sugar, Hanoians create new ways to enjoy coffee in Hanoi ca phe trung (egg coffee) and ca phe sua chua (yogurt coffee) which you coffee lovers may want to try. (Read more about Hanoi coffee and new coffee enjoyment way)
Where to try:
Lam (60, 91 Nguyen Huu Huan – to be known as one of the oldest coffee shop in Hanoi), Nhi (2 Hang Ca), Nhan (39D1 Hang Hanh), Nang (6 Hang Bac), Quat (Quan Thanh), Quynh (Bat Dan) to Giang (Hang Gai) and Ca Phe Pho Co (11 ward – Hang Gai street). The last two, Giang and Ca Phe Pho Co, are recommended for egg coffee.
7. Bun Bo Nam Bo
It is amazing and interesting one kind of traditional Vietnamese food made from beef and herb: a bed of rice noodles is topped by tender grilled beef, chopped cucumbers, lettuce, papaya slivers, fresh herbs, crushed peanuts and heaps of crunchy fried onions. Mix it with fish sauce–spiked nước chấm, take a bite, moan and repeat.
If you want to rub shoulders with the local Vietnamese lunch crowd and knosh on a tasty bowl of beef and noodles, head for Bun Bo Nam Bo on 67 Hang Dieu St at midday. This place is popular with office workers and it’s a frenetic scene at noon. Just squeeze into a seat on a shared bench and they’ll bring you a bowl of noodles, beef and herbs topped with crispy fried onions. (Read more about Bun Bo Nam Bo
8. Xôi xéo:
Chances are you will encounter this dish in almost every outdoors market. There are even two restaurants dedicated fully to this dish in the Old Quarters. Xoi xeo is sticky rice topped with ground de-hulled mung bean and fried onion. Sometimes it can be served with eggs or steamed chicken breast on request. The serving is really filling and it is good for any time of the day but most Vietnamese have it for breakfast or lunch.
Where to try:
Xoi Yen is an all-time local favourite sitting just North of Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem lake) on Nguyen Huu Huan street, few steps from Meracus Hotel. Please do not mind to ask our front desk if you want a try. The price varies, without chicken a bowl of Xoi xeo costs you about 1 USD. Have it with a glass of soy milk and you have more energy boost than a box of granola bars! (Read more about Xoi Xeo)
9. Bánh cuốn:
If the French has this famous delicious crepe made of wheat, egg and dairy products; Vietnamese and particularly Hanoian is proud of their steamed crepe from rice flour and water. A savoury meal, the inside stuffing contains ground pork, wood-ear and seasoning. Most street chefs make the dish right at door so look for a place that steams are coming up high. Banh cuon is served with nuoc mam, a mixture of fish sauce, sugar and lime.
Where to try:
Banh cuon Gia An – Ba Trieu street (opposite to Vincom tower) is a more upscale restaurants specializing in Banh Cuon. The price is not that big a difference compared with other street vendors. Banh cuon there is made without preservative and of high hygiene condition. You can ask for a vegetarian option as well. (Read more about Banh Cuon Vietnam).