Much of living in Hanoi has to do with eating and loving some of the noodle dishes that have emerged from this exciting part of the world. Naturally, pho bo (beef noodle soup) noodle dish is a popular choice. If you’ve ever tried one Vietnamese food, it’s most likely pho bo. Made with beef stock and rice noodles, the beef noodle dish is a must-try on the streets of Hanoi. But there’s much more to Hanoi’s diverse noodle scene than this familiar noodle dish.

 

While in the Vietnamese capital, trying a bowl of pho bo in at a traditional pho for yourself is somewhat of a right of passage. But if you’ve already experienced pho and are ready for the next noodle dish, the “bún” it is! In Vietnamese, “bún” refers to rice vermicelli. It’s like Vietnamese spaghetti. A bowl of bún noodle dish is slurpable, and it’s variable with endless combinations that make it taste new every time. Bún in Hanoi, one of the best food scene in the world, is just as surprising and seductive as jazz. Ready to slurp some soup? Here’s where you’ll find the best in the city, they’re also my favorite stop on my Hanoi food tours.

 

1. Bún Ngan

 

 

This hot noodle dish contains rice vermicelli, slices of duck creole, an airy of dried bamboo shoots and woodear mushrooms. Beside the rice vermicelli noodles, duck creole plays the main part of the dish.

 

The sweetness of the broth from boiling the ducks, the creative condiments and spices that can come with a bowl of bun ngan, and the texture of each clices of the duck itself… make the dish one of the most popular choices for all types of meals: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and also late night eats in Hanoi.

 

Where to try it in Hanoi:

Bun Ngan Ly Nam De: 65 Ly Nam De Street, Hoan Kiem District.

Opening hours: 7h30 to 22h00

Tel: (+84) 093 939 6668

 

 

2. Bún Riêu

 

 

Bún riêu is a beautifully red hue vermicelli noodle soup, topped with beef, pork, snails, or all of them together depending on each place. The dish gets its appearance from the tomato paste and the annatto powder (achiote tree). However, the real star of the soup is the fresh water crabmeat. The more crabmeat, the higher quality the soup is. Tamarind paste is used to create the sourness to the broth, airy bits of fried tofu to bring the crunch, and thinly sliced herbs to add fresh flavors.

 

Before mixing the vermicelli noodle up, add to that the requisite spoonful of vinegar, lime wedges, chili paste and the sliced greens such as lettuce, banana flowers and cilantros – and you find the true happiness.

 

Where to try it in Hanoi:

Bún Riêu Cô Hạnh: 32 Hang Manh Street, Hoan Kiem District.

Opening hours: 6h00 to 10h00

 

 

3. Bún Dọc Mùng

 

 

This dish is an interesting combination of the stems of the giant elephant ear plant (Indian taro), thinly sliced pork hock and feet and savory meatballs. The background is the rich marrow stock and rice vermicelli noodles. The spongy texture from the stems serves as the perfect vehicle to carry the flavors of the noodle soup, making the soup different from other noodle dishes.

 

The meatballs are made with a mixture of ground pork, mushroom, and seasoned with salt, fish sauce, and rock sugar, then cooked in the broth which is full of tomatoes. The elephant ear stems are peeled, sliced and added to the soup.

 

Where to try it in Hanoi:

Cussing Noodle Ngo Sy Lien: 41 Ngo Si Lien Street, Dong Da District.

Opening hours: 11h00 to 15h00, 19h00 to 22h00

Tel: (+84) 096 663 39 60

 

 

4. Bún Chả

 

 

Bún Chả is among the most popular noodle dishes in Hanoi, and it’s the most popular choice for lunch. On almost every street, wherever has smoke, there is bun cha. A warm noodle dish, make of “bún” and “chả” - hunks of charcoal-grilled fatty well marinated pork. This is one of my stops during my street food tours in the morning.

 

A portion of bun cha consists of rice noodle, a bowl of grilled pork bellies and meat balls bathing in the legendary fish sauce diluted with rice vinegar, mineral water, lime and sugar. The glorious eye catching pork is accompanied with pickled carrots and green papaya. They come with a nice combination of fresh herbs to add on for more flavor, such as purple perilla leaves, cilantro and lettuce.

 

Where to try it in Hanoi: 

Bún chả Hương Liên: 24 Le Van Huu Street, Hai Ba Trung District.

Opening hours: 8h00 to 20h30

Tel: (+84) 0243 943 4106

 

 

5. Bún Bò Nam Bộ

 

 

Originated from the south, that’s this beef noodle dish has the words “nam bo” – meaning the southern style. But the dish is found throughout the country, including the capital Hanoi where it is considered the king of all southern dishes. Like most other street foods in the city, the best place to try bun bo nam bo is in the Old Quarter.

 

The dish is one of my favorite noodle salads. Roasted peanuts, stir-fried bean sprouts and crispy shallots and sumptuous amount of beef gloriously sit on a mountain of vermicelli noodle. The green lettuce and beef add texture and aroma to the dish, while the crunchy peanuts lure us with enticing taste.

 

Where to try it in Hanoi: 

Bún Bò Nam Bộ Bách Phương: 67 Hang Dieu Street, Hoan Kiem District.

Opening hours: 7h30 – 22h30

Tel: (+84) 024 3923 0701

 

Found one you wish to try yet? If not, find out what suit you best on our list of 45 typical Hanoi street dishes. Hanoi will never let anyone go to bed hungry.

 

 

Buffalo Joe