Vietnamese food: 45 typical dishes you should try in Hanoi

Vietnamese food: 45 typical dishes you should try in Hanoi

Hanoi has been known internationally as a melting pot of Vietnamese cuisine, foods are served on a moving cranky bicycle, on the edge of bustling streets full of motorbikes, on the narrow sidewalks appropriated by the sea of plastic stools, in a memorable passageway a meter wide, right at someone’s doorstep or up a spiral staircase overlooking the frenetic passing traffic and a lake. If you love eating, it’s almost impossible not to love Hanoi street food.

Specifically, what and where to eat some authentic Vietnamese foods? Well, no one knows Hanoi street food better than local Hanoians. Here is an introduction to 45 typical Vietnamese foods and places to eat, I know their fresh ingredients and incredibly balanced flavors will keep you pulling up a plastic stool for more.

1. Banh Cuon (stuffed steaming pancake)

Banh Cuon - Vietnamese food

Banh Cuon is made of rolled-up thin sheets of piping hot steamed rice flour, stuffed with a mixture of cooked minced pork, wood ear mushroom, and finely chopped shallots. The noodle sheet is steamed on a cloth, which is stretched over a pot of boiling water so it’s also called steaming noodle.

Banh Cuon is topped with some fried shallots and fresh herbs, such as coriander or fresh savory, then served with its own nuoc cham (dipping sauce). Zest is added by dunking the slender and slippery parcels into the dipping sauce, which is added with a drop of ca cuong (the essence of a giant water bug) for extra flavor. Sides for Banh Cuon usually consist of some cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage) or barbecued pork.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Banh Cuon Ham Tu Quan, 49 Ham Tu Quan Street.
  • Banh Cuon Thanh Van, 12 Hang Ga Street.
  • Banh Cuon Bao Khanh, 14 Bao Khanh Street.
  • Banh Cuon Phuong, 68 Hang Cot Street.

2. Banh Khuc (sticky rice with mung bean and cudweed cake)

Banh Khuc - Vietnamese food
Banh Khuc – Vietnamese food

Banh Khuc is a steamed cake made of glutinous rice mixed with brayed cudweed (Khuc) leaves, filled with mung bean paste, pork, and black peppers, and sprinkled with grains of cooked sticky rice. The thin layer of brayed cudweed is what made the cake special, giving it the name.

It is served hot on a lotus or banana leaf with some peanut salts. People usually eat Banh Khuc in the morning as breakfast, but it is now made available all day by street vendors and sidewalk food outlets.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Banh Khuc Quan, 35 Cau Go Street.
  • Banh Khuc Co Lan, 69 Nguyen Cong Tru Street.

3. Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette)

Banh Mi - Vietnamese food

It was the French who brought the baguette to Vietnam, but the Vietnamese took it to a different level. There are some variations along the length of the country, Hanoi baguettes stick to the basic ingredients of the cornucopia of roast chicken or pork, homemade pork-liver pâté, headcheese, carrot, a generous sprinkling of cilantro leaves, slices of cucumber and chili sauce.

A combination of those ingredients, the spicy, salty, sour, savory, and aromatic make a bite into a well-stacked baguette a moment of rapture. Banh Mi outlets and carts are everywhere on the streets of Hanoi, providing simple and delicious sustenance for breakfast and midday meals. It used to be a street food that local people barely thought of long before Hanoi street food became an obsession with foodies, especially foreign travelers.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Banh Mi 25, 25 Hang Ca Street.
  • Banh Mi Lan Ong, 8 Cha Ca Street.
  • Banh Mi Pho, 57C Dinh Tien Hoang Street.

4. Banh Ran (Vietnamese rice donut)

Banh Ran - Vietnamese food

Banh Ran is one of the most popular cakes in all Vietnamese families, especially those in the countryside. A Banh Ran is a deep-fried glutinous rice flour cake, featuring an eye-catching yellow-brown color. The crunchy Banh Ran has two versions, sweet and salty donuts.

The sugar version will be added to the dough, and the green bean will be steamed and stirred with sugar to make fillings for the sweet cakes before topping it with sesame seeds. In comparison, a salty donut is filled with minced pork, carrot, vermicelli, wood ear, spring onions, and peppers. Salty donuts always come with a mixed dipping sauce, which plays an important role in flavoring the donut.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Banh Ran Mat Duong, 52 Hang Chieu Street.
  • Banh Ran Hai Xe, 5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street.

5. Banh Tom (shrimp cake)

Banh Tom - Vietnamese food

A typical Banh Tom of Hanoi is made of shrimp from its West Lake, rice flour, and sliced sweet potato. But instead of grinding the shrimp into a paste-like fish ball, shrimps in the Banh Tom in left whole sitting atop the crunchy fried cakes.

Banh Tom is always served with lettuce leaves for wrapping, dipping sauce topped with pickled green papaya and carrots, plus chili and lime juice. The dish is one of Hanoian favorite snacks, the crispy shrimp cakes is a delicacy that visitors from outside of Hanoi always look for when they come to the city.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Banh Tom Ho Tay, 1 Thanh Nien Street.
  • Banh Tom Co Am, Hang Chieu Street.

6. Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake)

Banh Xeo - Vietnamese food

Banh Xeo is a crispy crepe bulging with cooked prawn, pork, and bean sprouts. It’s served with a garnish of fresh herbs, rice paper, and dipping sauce. To enjoy one like a local, you would cut it into manageable slices, roll it up in rice paper together with provided leaves and herbs then dunk it in the prepared dipping sauce. A bite of Banh Xeo then exposes the incredible flavors of all the ingredients and green herbs.

Banh Xeo literally translates to “sizzling cake” – the sound the rice batter makes when it is poured into the hot pan. At first glance, you might think that these are omelets. But, there’s actually no egg in the batter for these pancakes. Rather, it’s turmeric that gives the batter its characteristic yellow hue.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Quan An Ngon, 18 Phan Boi Chau Street.
  • Banh Xeo Hang Bo, 22 Hang Bo Street.
  • Nha Hang Ngon, 26 Tran Hung Dao Street.

7. Banh Goi (pillow-shaped cake)

Banh Goi - Vietnamese food

Like most cakes made in Vietnam that you may find, pillows are not baked but are deep fried to create a charming yellow pasty skin. Banh Goi intrigues travelers at first sight for its pretty pillow shape, colorful sauce, and green herbs.

Inside the crispy exterior is the filling of seasoned mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, minced pork, wood ears, and kohlrabi. Banh Goi is served with a dipping sauce made of a fine proportion of garlic, chili, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and water. It also goes with some fresh herbs including lettuce, perilla, and coriander. The dish is a popular snack in the morning or afternoon.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Banh Goi Ly Quoc Su, 52 Ly Quoc Su Street.
  • Banh Goi Hang Bo, 57 A Hang Bo Street.
  • Banh Goi, 9 Hoe Nhai Lane.

8. Banh Duc Nong (hot sticky rice soup)

Banh Duc Nong - Vietnamese food

Banh Duc Nong is a bowl of hot gooey soup, cooked from a blend of sticky rice flour and water. A Banh Duc Nong is typically garnished with savory ingredients like minced pork, wood ear mushrooms, grilled ground shrimp, spring onions, fried onions, light fish sauce, and cilantro.

Though it can be eaten on its own, a spoonful of rice vinegar and garlic will definitely enhance the taste. Banh Duc Nong is usually available at small stalls on the streets, and it’s eaten throughout the day.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Banh Duc Hang Be, 28 Hang Be Street.
  • Banh Duc Ms. Noi, 8B Le Ngoc Han Street.
  • Banh Duc Cho Chau Long, 45 Chau Long Street.

9. Bun Bo Hue (beef and pork noodle soup)

Bun Bo Hue - Vietnamese food

Bun Bo Hue is the signature dish of Hue, a former royal capital in central Vietnam. In Hanoi and other cities, the dish is still called Bun Bo Hue to denote its origin. A bowl of Bun Bo Hue contains the broth prepared by simmering beef bones and beef shank with lemongrass, thin slices of marinated and boiled beef shank, chunks of oxtail, and pig’s knuckles. It may also include cubes of congealed pig blood, which has a color between dark brown and maroon and a texture resembling firm tofu.

Bun Bo Hue is commonly served with lime wedges, cilantro sprigs, diced green onions, raw sliced onions, chili sauce, thinly sliced banana blossom, red cabbage, basil, perilla, or Vietnamese coriander, and sometimes mung bean sprouts. Compared to Pho and other Bun, the noodles in Bun Bo Hue are thicker and more cylindrical.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Bo O Xuan, 5D Quang Trung Street.
  • Bun Bo Hue Phuc Nguyen, 19 Hang Hom Street.

10. Bun Bo Nam Bo (Vietnamese beef noodle salad)

Bun Bo Nam Bo - Vietnamese food

Bun Bo Nam Bo is a bowl of rice noodles (bun) mixed with beef (bo), and topped with fried shallots, roasted peanuts, lettuce, micro greens, bean sprouts, carrot, and cucumber. The dish originated from southern Vietnam (Nam Bo), hence the name.

This noodle dish is not the same as other types of noodles as it does not use broth, instead, it uses a refreshing lime and fish sauce dressing. After a good mix, the harmony and nuttiness of all combined ingredients keep the dish standing out from the other noodle dishes. It is really a feast for the eyes and stomach.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Bo Nam Bo Bach Phuong, 67 Hang Dieu Street.
  • Bun Bo Nam Bo, 3 Ngo Huyen Street.
  • Bun Bo Nam Bo, 10 Ngo Trang Tien Street.

11. Bun Ca (fish noodle soup)

Bun Ca - Vietnamese food

Bun Ca is a deep-fried freshwater fish noodle soup. It combines fried fish pieces, fish broth, dills, tomatoes, spring onions, and perilla leaves. The fried fish is crispy, not fishy, and not too dry. Even dipped into the broth, it is still crunchy.

It’s served with a little lime, vinegar, chili, and herbs to achieve the essential balance of salty, sour, sweet, and spicy. While in the West, adding salt could be considered an insult to the chef. But that’s not the case in Vietnam, here you are expected to use the condiments on the table.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Ca Cay Si, 5 Ngo Trung Yen.
  • Bun Ca Hang Dau, 42 Hang Dau Street.
  • Bun Ca Van, 174 Quan Thanh Street.

12. Bun Cha (grilled pork noodle soup)

Bun Cha - Vietnamese food

Bun Cha is made up of bits of charcoal-grilled marinated pork patties and pork belly slices in a bowl of dipping sauce, sided with rice noodles and herb garnishes. If Pho is Vietnam’s most famous dish for breakfast, then Bun Cha is the top choice when it comes to lunchtime. Wherever there is meaty smoke on the streets of Hanoi, there is Bun Cha.

Bun Cha is often served with an oversized plate of the medley of lettuce, coriander, and white and purple perilla leaves. A small plate of chopped fresh garlic, fresh sliced chili, black pepper, and a small jar of rice vinegar is also made available on tables for guests to add on.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Cha Dac Kim, 1 Hang Manh Street
  • Bun Cha Huong Lien, 24 Nguyen Huu Huan Street
  • Bun Cha Gia Ngu, 25 Gia Ngu Street

13. Bun Dau Mam Tom (Vietnamese fermented shrimp paste noodles)

Bun Dau Mam Tom - Vietnamese food

Many Vietnamese say Bun Dau Mam Tom and Durian fruit smell like hell but taste like heaven. Though Bun Dau Mam Tom is very fishy and smelly, it has a loyal fan base. Seriously, if you want to try something unique, try this. This authentic Vietnamese food has four main ingredients; rice noodles, fried tofu, shrimp paste, and green herbs including white perilla leaf, fish mint, and cucumber.

The core of the dish is the shrimp paste, which shouldn’t be too salty or too thick. Just make sure you add a specific sour and spicy taste by putting in a couple of slices of fresh chili, and some kumquats into the shrimp paste before dunking the tofu in.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Dau Mam Tom Ma May, 6 Ma May Street.
  • Bun Dau Trung Huong, 49 Phat Loc Lane.
  • Bun Dau Mam Tom, 9 Phu Doan Street.

14. Bun Doc Mung (giant elephant ear stem noodle soup)

Bun Doc Mung - Vietnamese food

Bun Doc Mung is highlighted by the fleshy stems of a plant called giant elephant ear, or the Indian taro. When cooked, the stems have a spongy texture, which serves as the perfect vehicle to carry the flavors of the noodle soup.

A bowl of Bun Doc Mung is satisfying with every bite of savory meatballs, soft giant elephant ear stems, rice noodles, and thinly sliced pork hock. The meatballs are made with a mixture of ground pork, and 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:

  • Bun Doc Mung, 18 Bat Dan Street.
  • Bun Doc Mung, 41 Ngo Si Lien Street.
  • Bun Moc Doc Mung, 62 Dai La Street.
  • Bun Doc Mung, 46 Tran Nhat Duat Street.

15. Bun Ngan (duck creole noodle soup)

Bun Ngan - Vietnamese food

Bun Ngan is a smart combination of boiled duck creole, bamboo shoots, rice noodles, spring onion, and broth from boiling the ducks. Another version of the soup is Mien Ngan, in which rice noodle is replaced with cellophane noodles.

It’s rarely found outside of Hanoi, but Bun Ngan is so typical and popular in the capital that it’s consumed for all types of meals: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and also late-night eats.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Ngan Ms. Thong, 56 Bat Su Street.
  • Bun Ngan Ly Nam De, 65 Ly Nam De Street.
  • Bun Mien Ngan Minh Thu, 31 Ly Quoc Su Street.
  • Bun Ngan Nhan, 11 Trung Yen Lane.

16. Bun Oc (snail noodle soup)

Bun Oc - Vietnamese food

The Vietnamese have a long tradition of eating freshwater snails caught in the rice paddy fields, Bun Oc is the well-known snail dish in the country. As a tradition, the snails are kept in the leftover rice-soaking water for a few hours to remove their slime, then the clean snails are boiled to make a base for the noodle soup broth. Boiled snails are then individually removed from their shells and stir-fried with garlic and shallots to enhance their flavors.

Tomatoes are thrown into the broth to render it a stunning shade of light red, and rice wine vinegar is also added to the broth to have a slightly tangy note.  A bowl of Bun Oc is made up of rice noodles in the delicious broth, topped with fried tofu, stir-fried snails, green onions, and some chili jam. Like many other noodles, the mouth-watering Bun Oc is served with lime or tamarind paste, fresh perilla, thinly sliced lettuce, and other green herbs.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Oc Pho Co, 36 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street.
  • Bun Oc Co Them, 6 Hang Chai Street.
  • Bun Oc Co Hue, 43 Nguyen Sieu Street.
  • Bon Oc Thuy, 13 Hoe Nhai Street.

17. Bun Rieu Cua (crab noodle soup)

Bun Rieu Cua - Vietnamese food

Bun Rieu is a combination of white rice noodles, brayed freshwater crabs, fried tofu, and thinly sliced beef fillet. The broth of Bun Rieu features a distinctive crimson color, and its appearance arises from tomato paste and annatto oil, made from achiote tree seeds.

Bun Rieu in Hanoi sometimes comes topped with beef, snails, or fish. A bowl of Bun Rieu is served with a small basket of medley sliced green herds including lettuce and cilantro or banana blossoms. The chili paste, tamarind, or kumquat adds spices and sourness to the crimson broth and crab that’s full of greens.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Rieu Ms. Thu, 5A Tho Xuong Street.
  • Bun Rieu Hoe Nhai, 13 Hoe Nhai Street.

18. Bun Thang (rice noodles with chicken, eggs, and pork)

Bun Thang - Vietnamese food

Bun Thang is a typical northern Vietnamese noodle soup, it’s like a package of components that make a traditional medicine prescription. A sophisticated Bun Thang consists of rice noodles with a number of toppings such as dried shrimp, wood ear mushrooms, shredded chicken, thin pork sausage strips, thin strips of egg crepes, shrimp floss, spring onions, and aromatic fresh herbs, and some broth made from chicken.

Like other noodle dishes, Bun Thang is served with condiments like lime, rice vinegar, shrimp paste, and chili sauce to enhance the flavors.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Thang Cua Nam, 37 Cua Nam Street.
  • Bun Thang Ms. Duc, 48 Cau Go Street.
  • Bun Thang Hang Hanh, 29 Hang Hanh Street.

19. Caphe Trung (egg coffee)

Ca Phe Trung - Egg Coffee - Vietnamese food

Caphe Trung is a delicacy of Hanoi, it’s made out of a well-whisked mixture of chicken egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and cheese. Beneath the yellow creamy soft layer on the top, thick and sweet but not sickly, sits the strong Vietnamese Robusta coffee at the bottom of the cup. Caphe Trung is technically a drink, but it really tastes like liquid tiramisu so I prefer to put it in the dessert category.

The hot version comes resting in a bowl of hot water to maintain its temperature. You should slowly stir the bobbed froth of whipped egg with the coffee beneath it. It’s the sweetness of condensed milk, the taste of the egg, and the bitterness of the coffee that are in harmony leaving behind the mesmerizing scent.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Caphe Giang, 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street.
  • Caphe Pho Co, 11 Hang Gai Street.
  • Caphe Dinh, 13 Dinh Tien Hoang Street.

20. Kem Caramen (Vietnamese caramel pudding)

Kem Caramen - Flan cake - Vietnamese food

Kem Caramen, or caramel pudding, is a Vietnamese version of crème caramel or caramel custard. Think of a local plate of custard with the color of the sun, topped with a coffee-colored layer and all bathed with another layer of tan caramel.
One scoop of the luscious and bouncy soft custard would be immediately followed by another scoop, then another, then another…, the familiar fragrance of caramel with its slight burnt smell flooding the senses. It was too tempting to stop, resistance was simply futile.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Duong Hoa Kem Caramen, 29 Hang Than Street.
  • Kem Caramen, 33 Nguyen Khac Nhu Street.

21. Cha Ca (fish cooked with turmeric and dill)

Cha Ca Rau Ram - Vietnamese food

Cha Ca is a dish that includes crispy garlic, ginger, and turmeric-marinated catfish (or snakehead fish) that’s fried tableside in a pan with a lot of spring onions and dills. It’s served with some white rice noodles, roasted peanuts, and fresh herbs.

The history of the Cha Ca dates back more than 130 years ago when it was first invented by the local Doan family, who served the special meal to troops during French colonial rule at their family-run restaurant. Their Cha Ca was so exceptional that the street which has the restaurant was named after the dish, the Cha Ca Street.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Cha La Vong, 14 Cha Ca Street.
  • Cha Ca Thang Long, 19 Duong Thanh Street.

22. Chan Ga Nuong (grilled chicken feet)

Chan Ga Nuong - Vietnamese food

Chicken feet could be prepared with different spices, and enjoyed in many ways with various flavors. Grilled chicken feet have been a very popular nosh to generations of people in Hanoi, especially the younger generation. For many foreign travelers, the idea of trying one is quite intimidating, but actually the feet stay very close to the chicken drumsticks.

The chicken feet are marinated with chili, fish sauce, lemon grass, rock sugar, ginger, and garlic before being grilled on a charcoal fire. The grilled chicken feet, and wings, are then crisped with a fragrance smell and nice color. They are served with dipping sauce and green herbs.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Viet Ha BBQ, 12 Ly Van Thuc Street.
  • Pop Quan, 162 Hue Street.
  • Chan Ga Nuong Thuy Khue, 4 Thuy Khue Street.

23. Chao Trai (mussel and rice porridge)

Chao Trai (mussel and rice porridge) - Vietnamese food

Chao Trai is a typical porridge in the city of Hanoi, which is cooked from the combination of normal rice and the mussels that live in the rice paddy fields or rivers. Fresh mussels are first soaked, washed, and boiled in water. The mussel broth is used to cook the rice porridge. Mussel meat is then picked out of the shells, chopped, and stir-fried with dried shallots, pepper, and chili powder and kept separately with the porridge.

A simmering rice porridge is then ladled into bowls, topped with stir-fried mussels, Vietnamese coriander, pepper, and chili powder, and served with some fried breadsticks or youtiao (dough fritters).

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Chao Trai Ms. Hang, 26 Tran Xuan Soan Street.
  • Chao Trai, 192 Quan Thanh Street.
  • Chao Trai, 39 Ly Quoc Su Street.

24. Che Thap Cam (Vietnamese mixed jellies and beans)

Che Thap Cap - Vietnamese food

Che Thap Cam is a traditional Vietnamese sweet bean and jelly drink, and it’s like a dessert but people eat it throughout the day. There are many varieties of Che Thap Cam, each may include more or less mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, pearl-shaped tapioca, jelly (clear or grass), fruits (longan, mango, durian, lychee or jackfruit), and coconut milk.

Other types are made with ingredients such as salt, aloe vera, lotus seed, sesame seed, sugar palm seeds, taro, cassava, and pandan leaf extract. So Che Thap Cam comes in different colors and is served mostly with shaved ice.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Che Bon Mua, 4 Hang Can Street.
  • Quan An Ngon, 18 Phan Boi Chau Street.
  • Nha Hang Ngon, 26 Tran Hung Dao Street.
  • Che Thap Cam, 72G Tran Hung Dao Street.

25. Chim Nuong (grilled birds)

Chim Nuong (grilled birds) - Vietnamese food

If you’ve never eaten a grilled bird, try some while you are in Hanoi. Chim Nuong is the city’s classic street grilled food. They are basically like teeny chickens, with a delicate flavor and super tender meat.

On some streets in Hanoi, grilled quail or pigeon with honey is their brand dish. Marinated with a numerous ingredient and then bathed with honey when grilled on charcoal, the bird meat will be sweet, tender, and fragrant.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Chim Ngoi Nuong, 5B Ta Hien Street.
  • Quan Chim Nuong, 214 Hang Bong Street.

26. Com Binh Dan (commoner’s food)

Com Binh Dan (commoner’s food) - Vietnamese food

Com Binh Dan is a home meal style, which is very common throughout Hanoi and all other cities in Vietnam. Along with so many noodle dishes, there’s no shortage of rice either. When office employees or construction workers look for something heavy and filling, Com Binh Dan would be their choice for lunch.

At the Com Bin Dan place, the dishes are buffet-like and displayed in a showcase glass cabinet, ready to be seen and ordered. So you can order your meal directly topped onto a plate of rice, or served in side separate bowls from a wide range of Vietnamese dishes including fries, braised meats, and deep-fried dishes.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • New Day Restaurant, 72 Ma May Street.
  • Com Que, 40 Dinh Liet Street.

27. Com Rang Dua Bo (fried rice with pickle and beef)

Com Rang Dua Bo (fried rice with pickle and beef) - Vietnamese food

Com Rang Dua Bo is one of the most popular rice street foods all over Vietnam, which includes fried rice with mustard green and beef. Each of them is first fried separately with fish sauce and shallots, then put together for a deeper fried with soya sauce in the last minutes.

The yellow roasted rice, eye-catching pickle, and beef, still moist but slightly smoky, are best eaten with some soya sauce, chili sauce, and lime.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Com Rang Dua Bo Dung, 38 Ma May Street.
  • Com Rang, 3 Dao Duy Tu Street.

28. Ga Tan Thuoc Bac (black chicken stew with oriental medicine)

Ga Tan Thuoc Bac - Vietnamese food

Vietnamese people see a bowl of Ga Tan Thuoc Bac as a tonic soup, it’s known for its traditional combination of oriental medicine and the mugwort plant that’s used to stew with a black chicken. Therefore, it’s often prepared for those who feel sick or tired.

A black chicken is first parboiled, then a set of oriental medicine herbs such as dried mushrooms, ginseng, almonds, dried dates, dried jujube, dried lily bulbs, dried longans and ginger, red date, honey date, pei ji and yuk chuk, goji berries and some healing mugworts… are put together for a slow cook. With such ingredients, Ga Tan Thuoc Bac features a complex flavor and natural sweetness.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Quan Ga Tan, 29 Tong Duy Tan Street.
  • Ga Tan Thuoc Bac, 45 Gia Ngu Street.
  • Ga Tan Mai Huong, 12 Hang Cot Street.

29. Goi Cuon Tom Thit (Vietnamese fresh spring rolls)

Goi Cuon Tom Thit - Vietnamese food

Goi Cuon, aka summer rolls, is a dish that can be eaten as a snack, appetizer, or meal at any time of the day. A roll of Goi Cuon includes some rice noodles, fresh lettuce, boiled lean pork, green chile, white perilla leaf, cilantro, and steamed shrimp. With those fresh ingredients, Coi Cuon is a healthier choice for wrap and roll lovers.

Goi Cuon is served with a small bowl of dipping sauce, you will dunk the rolls in it to enhance the flavors. The dipping sauce is a thick, creamy fermented yellow bean sauce topped with ground peanuts and fresh chili.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Quan An Ngon, 18 Phan Boi Chau Street.
  • Nha Hang Ngon, 26 Tran Hung Dao Street.

30. Hoa Qua Dam (mixed fruit dessert)

Hoa Qua Dam - Vietnamese food

A bowl or a clear glass of Hoa Qua Dam features colorful and fresh tropical fruits that are mixed with sweetened condensed and coconut milk, the mixture is made cold and milky with shaved ice. Specifically, fruits are various per season, but very often we have some jackfruit, watermelon, custard apple, litchi, and tapioca pearls.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Hoa Qua Dam Hoa Beo, 17 To Tich Street.
  • Che Hoa Qua Dam, 93 Hang Bac Street.

31. Mien Luon (eel cellophane noodle soup)

Mien Luon - Vietnamese food

Mien Luon features two main ingredients, mien (cellophane noodle) and deep-fried or stir-fried Luon (eel). As rice agriculture is part of Vietnamese life, eels are farmed in polyculture rice fields and are often produced along with the two rice crops each year.

Fresh lime juice is rubbed on eels to clean off the slime and smell, then the bones and heads are used to cook the broth while the eel meat is deep-fried or stir-fried. A steamy bowl of Mien Luon consists of fragrant broth, chewy vermicelli noodles made from arrowroot, flavorful pieces of eels, bean sprouts, crispy fried shallots, ginger, cilantro, and Vietnamese coriander.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Mien Luong Ms. Nhung, 7 Nguyen Che Nghia Street.
  • Minh Lan, 1 Chan Cam Street.
  • Mien Luon Dong Thinh, 87 Hang Dieu Street.

32. Mien Tron (mixed cellophane noodles)

Mien Tron - Vietnamese food

If you are a fan of cellophane noodles or ducks, you will love Mien Tron as much as I do. A bowl of Mien Tron includes cellophane noodles, sliced creole duck, sound and sweet dressing, fried onions, bean sprouts, and numerous kinds of herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro.

Sided with a small bowl of duck broth topped with spring onion and thinly sliced cilantro, you can choose to dress on the top of Mien Tron to try another flavor from the same dish.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bun Mien Ngan, 31 Ly Quoc Su Street.
  • Banh Da Tron, 17B Hang Chinh Street.
  • Mien Tron, 7B Ly Quoc Su Street.
  • Banh Da Tron, 47 Ngo Huyen Street.
  • Hanh Ngan De, 63 Cua Bac Street.

33. Nem Chua (Vietnamese fermented pork roll)

Nem Chua - Vietnamese food

Nem Chua is the fermented sliced skin of the pig, which is then mixed with marinated fresh meat, garlic, guava leaves, pepper, and salt. A piece of that mixture is then wrapped within many layers of green banana leaves, and fermented by the natural yeast of the meat for a couple days.

Nem Chua is an authentic street snack that can be found in any local Bia hoi (fresh draught beer). It is served with chili sauce, and a tumbler of Bia hoi. It’s a good idea to have some Nem Chua and a couple of glasses of beer at a local Bia hoi, a good opportunity for cultural immersion.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Bia Hoi Hanoi, 50 Bat Dan Street.
  • Bia Ta Hien, 7 Ta Hien Street.

34. Nem Nuong (grilled fermented pork roll)

Nem Nuong - Vietnamese food

Nem Nuong is a favorite snack among the younger generation in the city of Hanoi, the special taste of the fermented pork rolls is enhanced with a smoky flavor after being grilled. The grilled fermented pork rolls are served with dipping sauce and green herbs, or simply with some chili sauce.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Quan Nem Chua Nuong, 10 Au Trieu Street.
  • Nem Nuong, 34 Ngo Si Lien Street.
  • Nem Nuong Nha Tho, 18 Nho Tho Street.

35. Nem Ran/ Cha Gio (fried spring rolls)

Nem Ran - Vietnamese food

Most people who love Vietnamese food, know and like Nem Ran. It is among the most popular and tasty of the hundreds of Hanoi street foods that both residents and travelers alike enjoy. The main structure of a Nem Ran is commonly seasoned ground pork, chopped cellophane noodles, mushrooms, diced vegetables like jicama, kohlrabi, and carrots rolled up in a sheet of moist rice paper to deep-fried until its coat turns crispy and golden brown.

Though the ingredients are not fixed, Nem Ran is always served with a small bowl of dipping sauce that is mixed with garlic, chili pepper, lemon juice or vinegar, water, and sugar. It’s best to eat it with some lettuce, cilantro, and mint.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Nem Vuong Cua Be, 37 Dao Duy Tu Street.
  • Bun Cha Dac Kim, 1 Hang Manh Street.

36. Nom Bo Kho (dried beef and green papaya salad)

Nom Kho Bo - Vietnamese food

The use of green papaya and fresh perilla herb, dried beef, and dipping sauce combined with the right balance of spices is what makes Nom Bo Kho taste so good. Among those ingredients, the salad dressing really stands out.

The green papaya is crunchy and thirst-quenching, and of course not sweet. It is more like shredded carrot, or daikon. Both the dried and steamed beefs in the salad are over the top, they are flavored with really good mixed dipping sauce and peanuts. Mix them up well before tasting!

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Nom Bo Kho Long Vi Dung, 53 Dinh Tien Hoang Street.
  • Nom Thit Bo Kho, 28 Ho Hoan Kiem Street.

37. Oc Luoc (boiled snails)


Oc Luoc - Vietnamese food

Oc Luoc tastes much better than how it may sound, and it’s a very common street snack in Hanoi. Snails from the countryside are washed and kept in the leftover rice-soaking water for a few hours to remove their slime, then put into the cooker with lemon grass, ginger and lime leaves.
The boiled snails are served hot with a tray of the skillful mixture of dipping sauce, which includes kumquat, sliced lime leaves, lemongrass, and ginger.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Oc Nong Ha Trang, 1A Dinh Liet Street.
  • Oc Hang Luoc, 15 Hang Luoc Street.
  • Quan Oc Chi Le, 83 Cua Bac Street.

38. Pho Bo (beef noodle soup)

Pho Bo - Vietnamese food

Here goes the world-famous Pho Bo. I know a list of Hanoi street foods wouldn’t be completed without Pho. Pho Bo is made of fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs, beef, and rich overnight cooked beef bone broth.

Pho Bo used to be served mainly for breakfast, but today it’s widely available at all hours. The best place to have Pho is definitely the Old Quarter of Hanoi, even though it may not be the birthplace of the dish. Just be warned that good and popular Pho Bo in Hanoi has fervent customers queuing for nearly an hour regardless of how nonchalant the restaurant service is.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Pho Thin, 13 Lo Duc Street.
  • Pho Ly Quoc Su, 10 Ly Quoc Su Street.
  • Pho Bat Dan, 49 Bat Dan Street.
  • Pho Vui, 25 Hang Giay Street.

39. Pho Cuon (beef in uncut noodle roll)

Pho Cuon - Vietnamese food

Pho Cuon literally translates to noodle roll, each Pho Cuon features a combination of fried beef, lettuce, cucumber, basil, and cilantro… all encased (Cuon) in a white sheet of uncut noodle (Pho).

Pho Cuon packages those ingredients in one neat little roll, it’s served with a bowl of nuoc cham (dipping sauce). A bite of the dunked Pho Cuon brings an exposure of different flavors in our mouth, soft and fine texture.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Pho Cuon Huong Mai, 25 Ngu Xa Street.
  • Pho Cuon 31, 31 Ngu Xa Street.
  • Pho Cuon Hung Ben, 35 Nguyen Khac Hieu Street

40. Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup)

Pho Ga - Vietnamese food

Pho Ga is lighter than beef pho, and a good Pho restaurant in Hanoi always serves either Pho Ga or Pho Bo so you won’t have both choices in one place. A Pho Ga is made up of fresh rice noodles, slices of chicken, and chicken broth.

It is important to twist some lime and add some slices of lime leave and other condiments before you eat. Similar to beef pho, it is usually served with chopped spring onions, coriander, and onion slices. People prefer chicken thighs or breasts, so those are a little more expensive.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Pho Tien, 50 Nguyen Truong To Street.
  • Pho Ga Nguyen, 5B Phu Doan Street.
  • Pho Ga 15, 15 Hang Hom Street.

41. Pho Xao Bo (stir fry noodles with beef)

Pho Xao Bo

Pho Xao Bo is a delicious dish with tender, flavorful beef, soft rice noodles, and very tasty green vegetables. Beef and vegetables are stir-fried separately before putting them together, then stir-fried with some garlic and soya sauce at the very last minute so that nothing is under or overcooked.
The dish tastes best with some rice vinegar or lime, chili, and a bit more soy sauce.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Pho Xao Phu My, 45 Bat Dan Street.
  • Pho Xao Thanh Beo, 11 Hang Buom Street.
  • Pho Yen, 66 Cua Bac Street.

42. Tao Pho (tofu pudding)

Tao Pho - Vietnamese food

“Tao Pho Day!”, meaning Here’s the tofu pudding, is an echo from the streets that most Hanoians have grown up with. Considered to the best summer food in the city, a bowl of Tao Pho is refreshing and full of summery flavor.

Some ice cubes will be put into the serving bowl to cool off the heat of the tofu pudding, then a sharp flat metal spoon will be used to skillfully scoop out some thin slices from the hot pudding in the pot, neatly and quickly putting those slices on top of the ice. After pouring some sugar syrup into that bowl, a jasmine flower then will be added on top to decorate the food as well as create a gentle floral scent and flavor.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Vua Tao Pho, 192 Hang Bong Street.
  • Jelly Bean, 28 Quang Trung Street.
  • Tao Pho Caramen, 172 Dai Tu Street.

43. Thit Xien Nuong (pork barbecue skewer)

Thit Xien Nuong - Vietnamese food

Thit Xien Nuong is seemingly everyone’s favorite street food in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, where the marinated pork skewers are charcoal-grilled right in front of you on the sidewalk. The skewers can be eaten on their own, or with a squeeze of chili sauce on top, which instantly wakes up your taste buds and warms up your body on winter days.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Thit Xien Nuong, 22 Hang Buom Street.
  • Thit Xien Nuong, T-junction of Hang Be Street.

44. Trung Vit Lon (fertilized duck egg)

Trung Vit Lon

Trung Vit Lon is a unique delicacy on the streets of Hanoi. Street vendors purchase fertilized duck eggs shortly after they’ve been laid, and allow them to gestate within two weeks so that the albumen and yolk can produce an increasingly gamey flavor.

Boiling the eggs in time helps stop the fetus from becoming too crunchy or feathered.

Boiled Trung Vit Lon is served after removing the shell, the egg comes in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, slices of ginger, Vietnamese coriander, cilantro, mint, basil, rice vinegar, and kumquat.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Trung Vit Lon Ms. Van, 51 Hang Giay Street.
  • Trung Vit Lon Cau Go, 5 Cau Go Street.

45. Xoi Xeo (sticky rice and mung bean)

Xoi Xeo - Vietnamese food

Xoi Xeo is sold by street vendors along the sidewalks or on a paddling bicycle from early in the morning, it’s many people’s first choice for breakfast. Xoi Xeo is made of steamed sticky rice with turmeric powder, topped with mung bean, fried shallot, and some liquid fat. The turmeric gives Xoi Xeo its unique eye-catching yellow color.

It simply comes wrapped in a green lotus leave or banana leaf, you can eat it right away without any other condiment needed though sometimes some extra pork flosses are added on the top of the sticky rice.

Where to try it in Hanoi:

  • Xoi Yen, 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Street.
  • Xoi Cat Lam, 24 Duong Thanh Street.
  • Xoi Xeo, 44 Hang Hom Street.

Finally, there are still many other delicious foods on the streets of Hanoi that qualify the content of this post, but if I were to cover them all, it would take you the whole week to finish reading without eating. I just can’t make you do that.

So now you know what and where to eat in Hanoi, Vietnam!

I hope this compilation of the best Vietnamese foods gives you a more authentic picture of what Hanoi street food is all about. And if you are interested in knowing more about Hanoi street food culture or just becoming a bit more curious.

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