What to eat in Hanoi – Hanoi Food
In Vietnam, there is a large number of Hanoi food which you must try. With the cooler climate in the north and wide availability of freshwater fish and seafood like prawns, shrimp, crab, clams and more, food from the region has its own distinctive flavor. You can also find familiar Hanoi food such as pho noodles, spring rolls, rolled cakes, and skewered meat. As with many dishes in Vietnam, diners are always served with platters of fresh greens and herbs as well as the quintessential dipping sauce as an accompaniment.
Hanoi food is also famous for its culture. Street food stalls are popular and make up for the vast majority of Hanoi food. Some of the best and surprising local food experiences in Hanoi can find on the sidewalks with locals. In this blog, we highlight the top Hanoi food you must eat and the best places to have them.
1. Phở ( Noodles soup) – Hanoi Food
Our quest through Vietnam started in the north, in the capital city of Hanoi. Many of the popular Vietnamese dishes originated here. The famous Hanoi food is noodle soup, Pho is one of the most iconic northern Vietnamese food.
Pho is arguably Vietnam’s most iconic dish. It’s a Vietnamese noodle soup made with four ingredients – clear stock, rice noodles (called bánh phở), meat (beef or chicken), and a few herbs. From humble sidewalk stalls to upscale restaurants, you can find it everywhere in Hanoi, though many people believe that the city’s best pho is in here at Pho Thin.
Here’s our beautiful bowl of “Phở bò” smothered in green onion. This is typical of northern “Phở”. On our table at “Phở Thìn” were a few bottled condiments like fish sauce and chili sauce that you can use to add more flavor to your bowl.
Address: 13 Lò Đúc, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Operating Hours: 6AM-8:30 PM, daily
Price: VND 50,000 per bowl of pho, approximately $1.75 USD to $2.20 USD.
2. Bún chả (Grilled pork & vermicelli)
Bún chả is definitely a popular Hanoi food. In fact, it’s the exact reason why a similar dish called “bún thịt nướng”. We can find everywhere else in Vietnam except Hanoi, where “bún chả” is king. It’s a dish consisting of grilled fatty pork (chả) served with white rice noodles (bún) and fresh greens like lettuce, perilla, coriander and mint. The pork is served in a soupy bowl of pickled vegetables that impart acidity to the dish.
Bún chả is plenty flavorful on its own but if you like, you can add chili and garlic to add even more flavor to the dish. The meat is smokey, savory, and a little sweet and goes wonderfully with the sticky noodles and fresh herbs. Like phở, bún chả is one of Hanoi’s core dishes so you can’t visit this city without trying it at least once.
Try it at: 24 Lê Văn Hưu, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội
Operating Hours: 10 AM – 19:00 PM, daily
Price: 40,000 – 60,000 VND
3. Xôi xéo ( Sticky rice)
Xôi Xéo or sticky rice usually comes with staple toppings of green mung bean paste, soy sauce, and dried shallots, but you can opt for a variety of add-ins such as pate, boiled chicken, chả lụa (Vietnamese ham), marinated pork belly, or preserved eggs for a more substantial meal.
Some restaurants also serve Xôi Xéo as dessert, topped with dried coconut shavings, roasted sesame seeds, and crystallized sugar. An inexpensive yet prominent Xôi Xéo restaurant is Xoi Yen, where you can enjoy a basic bowl for VND 15,000, with additional ingredients between VND 15,000 and VND 30,000.
Address: 35B Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 22:00
Tel: +84 43 934 1950
4. Bánh cuốn
From what I understand, bánh cuon is typically made with pork but this restaurant offers other varieties as well, including rolls made with shrimp. They’re topped with herbs and fried shallots and served with a bowl of fish sauce. They’re customarily served with a side of Vietnamese pork sausage, sliced cucumber, and bean sprouts.
Bánh cuon is made with a pork and mushroom filling wrapped in freshly steamed rice paper, then topped with crunchy fried green onions. Fish sauce, chilies and fresh herbs are served alongside. Eat it all in one bite for maximum deliciousness! Often, cinnamon pork will be offered as an accompaniment too. You won’t miss Bánh Cuon vendors! They’re the ones sitting next to a big steamer with buckets of rice flour mix.
You can find at 12 Hàng Gà, Hà Nội.
Everyday from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm and 5 PM – 11 PM
About 35,000 VND per person, (approximately $1.54 USD)
5. Bún Riêu
Bún Riêu is a traditional Vietnamese rice vermicelli soup. There are different types of “bún riêu”, but what we had here today was “bún riêu cua”, a popular version made with crab, tomatoes, pork, and tofu. Bún riêu is served with tomato broth and topped with freshwater crab, specifically rice paddy crabs. Additionally, the crab liquid is then used as a base for the soup along with tomatoes, giving it a wonderful tangy flavor.
The rice vermicelli’s shapes like spaghetti and firmer than pho noodles. The soup is flavorful enough as it is but you can spruce it up with a host of condiments like chilies, lime, shrimp paste and a basket of fresh greens. Looking at this picture now while writing this post is making me hungry all over again. I loved the tartness from those stewed tomatoes!
It’s so easy to be healthy in Vietnam. One of the things I love most about Hanoi food is how they often serve it with so many fresh greens. You take these greens and dump them into your soup so you feel like you’re eating soup and salad all at once! These vegetables like a mix of perilla, mint, lettuce and water spinach.
Where to try: 11 Hàng Bạc, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Operating Hours: 7AM-10:30 PM, daily
Price: VND 30,000 per bowl
6. Bánh mì ( Bread)
Like Phở, Bánh mì is ubiquitous of Hanoi food. It’s one of the Vietnamese cuisines most iconic dishes so everyone has their personal favorite. It’s the one dish we can have everywhere from Hanoi to Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City.
A fluffy baguette is stuffed with pate, cold cuts, grilled pork, cucumber, eggs and pickled carrots & daikon. In Hanoi, we can eat a sandwich with hot sauce and mayo drizzled on top.
Strictly speaking, Bánh mì is the Vietnamese word for bread, or more specifically the personal-sized French baguette. But when most tourists say “bánh mì”, they’re referring to this sandwich made with different types of meat, vegetables, and condiments. We ordered this “Bánh mì pa-tê” which consisted of liver pate, Vietnamese cold cuts, cucumber, and coriander. It’s incredibly crusty and crunchy on the outside but pillow-like on the inside.
Where to find: Banh mi carts are absolutely everywhere in the Old Quarter
Best places to try:
Address 1: 18 Chả Cá, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Operating Hours: 7AM-10PM
Address 2: 49 Đường Thành, Hà Nội.
Hours: Everyday 8AM – 10 AM
Prices: About 15,000 VND to 25,000 VND ($0.66 USD to $1.10 USD)
Hanoi Food has its own unique tastes and flavors. The balance of flavors, the influence of the weather and the unique ingredients make for a wonderful culinary adventure. Moreover, many of the best Hanoi food we can find on the streets, on small plastic tables and chairs.
For a local and authentic Hanoi food experience on your travels, put any hesitation aside about eating on the streets. Instead, sit with the locals and try some of the local specialties here.
Hanoi Food – What to eat in Hanoi? – Written by My Anh
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