Explore Local Flavors: Must-try street food in Hanoi

Wondering what to eat in Hanoi Vietnam? The best Hanoi dishes are quite reasonable yet tasty treats that can be found within Hanoi Old Quarter. The narrow alleyways and bustling street markets. Many of the popular Vietnamese dishes originated in Hanoi.

Compared to other cities in Vietnam, Hanoi food tends to be on the sweeter side. You can also find familiar Vietnamese street food such as pho noodles, spring rolls, rolled cakes, and skewered meat. Some of the best and surprising local food experiences in Hanoi will make on the sidewalk of locals than in restaurants. It is sure that a trip to Hanoi is not complete without sampling its traditional delicacies. Here we highlight the top Vietnamese food you must eat in Hanoi and the best places to have them.

Bun Dau Mam Tom

The Vietnamese favorite noodle Bun Dau Mam tom has 3 main ingredients: vermicelli noodle, fried tofu and shrimp paste.That not every foreigner would have a bravery to try because the smell of the shrimp sauce “Mam Tom”. Basically, ‘Mam Tom” is made from shrimps and salt. It is a fermented shrimp sauce that Northern Vietnamese people love so much. Actually, “Mam Tom” smells strong and not so much good. It has lovable color of purple.

“Bun” is a popular choice of noodle all over the country. Noodles are the pride of Vietnamese people. We have hundred kinds of noodles in 54 provinces and cities. They mostly are made of rice but with different shapes, taste, color. They will have different name according to the name of usage.

“Dau” is tofu in Vietnamese language. We deep fry it in boiling cooking oil. Just make to enough for the outside to be crispy yellow. Inside part is still juicy, soft and white color still. It tastes the best when just freshly fry and still hot. The smell and playful color will attract your eyes immediately.

The sides from noodles, shrimp paste and fried soya cheese. You may love to have some pork meat or sausages like Vietnamese people favorite style. So you can easily spot thin sliced boiled pork and green rice sausages in the portion of “Bun dau mam tom”. Of course everything goes perfectly together in your mouth after dipping a little bit of each thing to shrimp paste.

Recommended places: ‘Phat Loc’ alley (Old Qater) is the most reachable for anyone craving for a ‘bun dau’. Another rival place from Old Qater is Ma May Street.

Pho – Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Pho is is THE classic Hanoi food and arguably Vietnam's most famous dish. Going to Vietnam without eating Pho would make your visit incomplete. Pho became popular in the north as a hearty soup eaten at breakfast. Phò can also be eaten at any time.

A rice noodle soup made with herbs and either beef or chicken. The savory broth is light but tasteful. It fills with slice of beef or chicken, rice noodle and a plate of fresh herbs. This soup packs quite a flavorful punch and will leave you satisfied. Open for breakfast and dinner, seats fill up fast, and there's always a line of hungry customers that snakes out to the street. Approximately, a bowl of Pho will cost $1.75 to $2.

Bánh Mì – Vietnamese Sandwich

The Banh Mi sandwich is one of the Vietnamese best foods to fall in love with. The delectable sandwich is made from buttery pâté, pickled daikon and carrots, cold cuts, cucumbers, and cilantro nestled in a freshly baked baguette. The sandwich is so popular and you’ll find variations that include fillings like barbecue pork, sausage, and tofu. A wealth of textures and flavors, you will savor spicy, salty, savory, sweet, and aromatic tastes in each bite. Banh Mi will cost about $0.66 USD to $1.5USD. You can easily find Banh Mi every corner of the roads, especially around old quarter.

Bún Chả – Barbecued Pork with Rice Vermicelli

Bun Cha is one northern Vietnamese food that will quickly become your favorite. It is one of the best Hanoi food specialties not to be missed.

This dish is served with grilled fatty pork (cha) over a plate of white rice noodle (bun). It typically comes with a plate of fresh Vietnamese herbs and a bowl of dipping sauce. Pickled vegetables, like cabbage, carrots, onion or green papaya served with additional meatballs on the side. The sauce is made of the famous Vietnamese fish sauce combined with vinegar, lime, sugar, garlic and chili.

In Hanoi, there are several Bun Cha shops and vendor. Already popular place is Bun Cha Huong Lien. This restaurant gained worldwide acclaim when President Obama and Anthony Bourdain ate Bun Cha together. This restaurant situated in 24 Le Van Huu Street in Hai Ba Trung District. A bowl of Bun Cha will cost $1.5 USD to $2.5USD according to the shop you choose.

Nem Cua Be – Crab Spring Rolls

Nem Cua Be, or crab spring rolls are the perfect complement to Bun Cha. These are fried rolls filled with sea crab and vermicelli noodles. Fresh and lightly fried, these rolls melt in the mouth and are to be savored.
These crab spring rolls are sold by the roll, where one roll is cut into three smaller pieces. They are eaten as an appetizer while waiting for the Bun Cha meal or dipped into the savory Bun Cha soup.

Banh Cuon (Rice Noodle Rolls)

Banh cuon is a Northern Vietnamese dish that migrated to Hanoi. It has successfully established a note-worthy position in the food map of Hanoi. Thin steamed rice flour pancakes filled with minced pork and cloud ear mushrooms. More than that, Banh Cuon comes in diverse type of filling: shrimp, egg, pork, and so on.

They are served with a sweet fish sauce ,tangy vinegar, sugar and lime. It fill with fried shallots and fresh herbs. Slightly goopy in texture, Banh Cuon are often eaten for breakfast or as an evening snack.

Ca Phe Trung (Egg Coffee)

An egg coffee is a Vietnamese drink which is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee. A milk shortage in the 1940s led an enterprising barman to cast around for alternatives and so Vietnamese egg coffee was born. The drink is made by beating egg yolks with sugar and coffee then extracting the coffee into the half of the cup. A similar amount of egg cream, which is prepared by heating and beating the yolks, will follow.

Since 1950s, the drink is served in cafes throughout Hanoi travel Vietnam. Among the Café in Hanoi, Giang Café is popular for its secret formula to get the taste just right. They served the cup sitting in a hot bowl to keep the drink warm, and many now call themselves converts. Giang Café is located at 39B Nguyen Huu Huan, Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem.