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10 MUST Try FOOD in Hanoi, Vietnam

With Chinese and French influences, food culture in Hanoi is definitely a marriage of interesting flavors and textures. With a myriad of superbly prepared and reasonably priced food, you can definitely spend a week eating your way through the hectic streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and never eat the same meal twice.

That said, let’s kick off on a high note – with my absolute favorite thus far food from Hanoi, along with the cost and where you should try them.

1. Pho

pho

It wouldn’t be a trip to Hanoi without slurping some Pho.  And being the city’s signature dish, it’s no surprise that Hanoi’s pho is outstanding. You can find this almost anywhere, from street vendors to high-end restaurant chain. Though it is traditionally eaten at breakfast, you can pretty much devour 24/7. Pho comes in a variety of flavor, the most popular of which are the Pho Ga (with chicken) and the Pho Bo (with beef).  Every kind of Pho has its own unique flavor but I find pho bo very tasty and appealing.

How much: 90 – 110,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su at 10 Ly Quoc Su Street, Hoan Kiem district
  • Pho Thin Hanoi at 13 Lo Duc Street, Hai Ba Trung district
  • Pho Bat Dan at 49 Bat Dan street, Hoan Kiem district

2. Bun Cha

buncha

Pho might be Vietnam’s most famous dish but bun cha is the top choice when it comes to lunchtime in the capital. It means you can only find this dish between 12pm – 3pm, almost anywhere the city. The mouthwatering smell of grilled seasoned pork and slices of marinated pork belly over a charcoal fire is enough to make you salivate. Once they’re charred and crispy the morsels are served with a large bowl of a fish sauce-heavy broth, a basket of herbs and rice noodles. So if you are in Hanoi, eat it as many times as you can!

How much: 110,000 – 150,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • No 14 Hang Than Street
  • No 55 Hang Ma Street
  • No 1 Hang Manh Street

3. Goi Cuon: Fresh Spring Rolls

Spring_Rolls

Guess what? Goi Cuon is listed at number 30 on World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011, which means you can never go wrong with this dish. This can be found everywhere in Hanoi in a variety of preparations. Fresh rolls are typically made with vermicelli noodles, lettuce, herbs, and shrimp. You can roll your own which come with sticks of grilled meat  or whole fried fish, sheets of translucent rice paper, and the usual herbs, lettuce and dunked in  fish sauce and vinegar mixture (nuoc cham) – every bite is as tasty as it sounds.

How much: 90,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • 18 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem district

4. Nem ran/Cha Gio: Fried Spring Rolls

Sping Rolls Vietnam

Vietnam’s bite-sized crunchy spring rolls might not be less popular as its fresh equivalent, but they deserve a special mention. The crispy rolls with a soft veggie and meat filling dunked in a tangy sauce is very satisfying and addictive! Once you started eating it you will never stop until the very last bite 🙂

How much: 90,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem district

5. Cha a La Vong: Turmeric Fish with Dill

bv3

Cha Ca is a flavorful fish dish marinated in turmeric and served with dill and spring onions. The taste is nothing short of awesome. There are street-food versions of this but I tried it at Cau Go restaurant.  The resto manager suggested this one to us, when we were looking for an authentic Vietnamese Dish to try – no regrets because the taste was amazingly good! The warm  fish, with the rice noodles mingling with the earthy flavor of the herbs, and crunchiness of the peanuts, all melting together in the fish sauce and chili juice. The best part is the challenge of wrapping it in rice paper by yourself he he he… so much fun!

How much:  160 000 Dong per person

Where to try:

  • Cau Go Restaurant, Hoan Kiem district
  • Cha Ca La Vong restaurant at 14 Cha Ca Street, Hoan Kiem district

6. Banh Cuon: Steamed Rice Rolls/Crepes

hanoi_street_food_ban_cuon

Traditionally, this dish is made from a fermented rice batter is steamed into thin pancakes and then rolled with sautéed pork and mushrooms.  The banh cuon is then topped with fresh cilantro, basil, and fried shallots and is served alongside a dipping sauce made from fish sauce.

How much: 45,000 – 60,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • No 72 Hang Bo Street, Hoan Kiem district
  • 14 Pho Hang Ga Street, Hoan Kiem district

7. Banh My

banh mi

The French may have brought with them the baguette, but Vietnam takes it to a different level. How exactly?  By stuffing it with pate, mayonnaise, pickled carrots and daikon, chili, fresh cilantro, cold cuts, sausages, and fried egg. Most of the stands I came across only have 2 basic types; Banh My Pate (meat filling), and Banh My Trung (egg filling).  Watch out for the chilis as this can be very very spicy!

How much: 20,000 – 35,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • DoQuang Dao, District 1, HCMC
  • Banh Mi 25 at 25 Hang Ca (Thuoc Bac), Hoan Kiem district

 

8. Ca bong Lau Kho: Fish in Clay Pot

claypot

If you want to try a really authentic Vietnamese dish, fish in clay pot is a good choice. I had this dish at Green Mango Restaurant and it quickly became one of my favorites. Essentially, ca bong lau kho is catfish simmered in a clay pot with soy sauce, garlic and sugar, which provides the beautiful caramelization. The dish has a wonderfully sweet, but grilled taste to it that’s even better with the sauce that the fish was simmered with. Because a clay pot is used, the juices and moisture remain trapped throughout the cooking process, therefore allowing the fish to stay moist. This dish is best eaten with steamed rice and stir-fried greens.

How much: 200,000 – 250,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • Green Mango restaurant  located at 18 Hang Quat Street, Hoan Kiem District, Vietnam

9. Goi: Vietnamese Salads

mango salad

Goi is a generic term for “salad” in Vietnam but doesn’t usually involve any lettuce. The base instead can be a pile of thinly sliced green papaya or mango, lotus root, cabbage or pomelo. My favorite is the green mango with pickled carrots, cilantro, crushed peanuts, and, nuoc cham sauce.

How much: 80,000 – 100,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • Thai Express located at First floor, 24T2 Trung Hoa, Nhan Chinh, Cau Giay district
  • Thai Express located at Fifth floor, Vincom center, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung district
  • 52 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem district,

 

10. Egg Coffee

egg coffee

Sounds very strange, right? But the combination of egg yolks and coffee whisked until fluffy and thick is incredibly rich, deliciously decadent, and it felt more like drinking really good tiramisu! Yummy.

How much: 90,000 Dong per serving

Where to try:

  • Cafe Pho Co  at 11 Hang Gai street, Hoan Kiem district
  • Nguyen Hữu Huan and Cau Go

 

Now you’re all set!  The downside is, writing this article makes me hungry! Now,  I’m dreaming of when I can go back to Hanoi just to eat all of this food again. LOL!

What is your favorite Vietnamese food? Is there anything else you would like to recommend? or add on the list? Write it down in the comment box below and I might include it.  If you enjoyed this post, why not follow  my  Facebook  or Instagram page for more travel tips and  inspiration. 

Happy travels everyone!

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