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Most popular Vietnamese foods should not miss while visiting Hanoi

July 4, 2016

The capital of Hanoi has long been an attractive destination for its scenic spots, historical and cultural sites, and unique cuisine. The Telegraph recently selected Hanoi as one of the world’s best cities for food.

The Asia Record Organization recognized 12 Vietnamese dishes in the food category of Asian values in 2012, including 3 dishes from Hanoi: Pho, Bun Cha, and Bun Thang.

On busy streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, tourists can see various food shops selling several kinds of foods such as young sticky rice or com, steamed glutinous rice or xoi, cakes, Pho, Bun Cha (rice noodle with grilled pork), Bun Thang (noodle in chicken broth), and Banh Tom (crisp shrimp pastry).

The Economic and Urban Newspaper intrduces a list of most popular local foods that should not be missed in Hanoi.

1. Pho (Noodle soup)

Pho, a popular dish of Vietnamese people, is ranked 28th in CNN’s list of world’s best foods. It said the homeland of Pho is Hanoi and Pho now has become an international worthy cuisine.

Pho is a rice noodle soup with chicken or beef broth. Eaters will add some spices such as chili, lemon juice, and pepper to bring out its flavor.

Most popular Vietnamese foods should not miss while visiting Hanoi
There are famous new Pho shops such as Pho Vuong and Pho 24 besides traditional Pho shops using family recipes. Pho Thin in Lo Duc street has been famous for its Pho with half-fried beef which is greasy and aromatic spicy.
Addresses:Pho Ly Quoc Su at 10 Ly Quoc Su street or Pho Cuong at 23 Hang Muoi are two local restaurants famous for its Pho bo (beef rice noodle soup). Located in the Old Quarter “jungle”, the store easily stands out for the long line of people waiting to be served. You are highly recommended to join the local, line up for the pho bowl and bring it to a selected table to eat.

2. Bun thang

If Pho is compatible to linguine in shape, Bun is more like spaghetti. Bun Thang (Hanoi chicken vermicelli soup) is another dish closely associated with Hanoi and a must try when visiting the city. It includes chicken, rice vermicelli, clean pork paste or ham, fried egg, onion, salted shrimp and shrimp paste.

Bun thang is one of the most popular yet hidden fares in Hanoi.Bun thang is one of the most popular yet hidden fares in Hanoi.

Must first be used to fresh water from the protein but not at all sweet and sugar. To this, must boil chickens, pigs bone tunnels, always rolling boil tons, some people stand out and move bubble. Drop string here he dried shrimp. Absolute prohibition of cattle bone will cause smell. Eggs cut slim, slice threadlike gold as a metal species soaked shirt embroidered on the king. Pie soft white silk also slightly pink in just so. Lean chicken meat, brown leg of chicken, white non eel pieces, gold skin, but not in smithereens, it is a combination of colors.

Bun Thang Ba Duc on Cau Go street (from noon) or Bun Thang at 13 Gia Ngu (till noon) is a great place to try the dish. This street vendor has a limited number of seats on the pavement but you will be surprised how many people can fit in the two storey old house behind the stall. Enjoy Bun Thang in such a setting gives the meal enormous highlights in your trip to Hanoi.

3. Cha ca La Vong

Cha ca La Vong is listed as one of the top 100 things you have to try before you die by many cuisine experts.

Cha ca La Vong is listed as one of the top 100 things you have to try before you die by many cuisine expert.Cha ca La Vong is listed as one of the top 100 things you have to try before you die by many cuisine expert.


It is exquisitely grilled fish served with bun, peanut, green onions, dills and shrimp paste. The fish is carefully chosen so that there are not too many bones and fishy smells.

Cha ca La Vong restaurant on 14 Cha Ca street is renowned nationally and internationally for its tradition and quality of serving the dish. It is much more expensive than other local food but the fact that you are sitting in one of the oldest house in Hanoi, served by the most traditionally styled chef is all worth it.

4. Bun cha (Grilled Pork)

Bun cha is the signature dish of Hanoi. At lunchtime you’ll find just about all of Hanoi sitting on kid-sized stools and slurping down this combination of grilled pork, salty-sweet broth, slices of green papaya, rice noodles, and fresh herbs. Every neighbourhood in Hanoi has a bun cha place – just follow your nose to the smoky streetside grill.

Bun cha is the signature dish of Hanoi. Bun cha is the signature dish of Hanoi.



The ideal place to enjoy the specialty is the old-established restaurant at No.1, Hang Manh street, the Old Quarter of Hanoi. But really, you can’t walk far without stumbling on Bun cha anywhere in Hanoi.

5. Banh My Hanoi (Hanoi Bread)

The baguette is one of the enduring symbols of French colonialism. It’s given a Southeast Asian twist by stuffing it with pâté, mayonnaise, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeños and gobs of cold cuts.

But the Banh my is basically a blank slate to which cooks can add whatever they desire. Hanoians spell it “Banh My”, not Banh Mi. And most of the stands we come across only have 2 basic types; Banh My Pate (where you choose your meat), and Banh My Trung (egg). You will feel like you could eat half a dozen before feeling full.

Banh My ba Dan at 34 Lo Su or Banh My stands at corner of Hang Thung and Nguyen Huu Huan or you can’t walk far without stumbling on banh my anywhere in Hanoi streets.

6. Hanoi coffee & special egg-milk coffee

Coffee was introduced into Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century. Vietnam quickly became a strong exporter of coffee with many plantations in the central highlands. The beverage was adopted with regional variations. Because of limitations on the availability of fresh milk, the French and Vietnamese began to use sweetened condensed milk with a dark roast coffee.

At present, Hanoians like to drink coffee in the morning time. In fact, sitting on small chair in pavement with a glass of coffee become a popular image of Hanoi city.

Travellers who visit Hanoi also like trying this delicious favours as Hanoians and tenderly recognize that nothing better than a cup of coffee at a modern and luxury or pavement cafes to soak up the rhythms of the street and embrace Hanoi from all of its sides.

Beside a cup of coffee with sweet milk and/or a spoonful of sugar, Hanoians create new ways to enjoy coffee such as ca phe trung (egg coffee) and ca phe sua chua (yogurt coffee) which coffee lovers may want to try.

Lam (60, 91 Nguyen Huu Huan – to be known as one of the oldest coffee shop in Hanoi), Nhi (2 Hang Ca), Nhan (39D1 Hang Hanh), Nang (6 Hang Bac), Quat (Quan Thanh), Quynh (Bat Dan) to Giang (Hang Gai) and  Ca Phe Pho Co (11 ward – Hang Gai street). The last two, Giang and Ca Phe Pho Co, are recommended for egg coffee.

7. Bun Bo Nam Bo

It is amazing and interesting one kind of traditional Vietnamese food made from beef and herb: a bed of rice noodles is topped by tender grilled beef, chopped cucumbers, lettuce, papaya slivers, fresh herbs, crushed peanuts and heaps of crunchy fried onions. Mix it with fish sauce – spiked nước chấm, take a bite, moan and repeat.


If you want to rub shoulders with the local Vietnamese lunch crowd and knosh on a tasty bowl of beef and noodles, head for Bun Bo Nam Bo on 67 Hang Dieu Street at midday. Just squeeze into a seat on a shared bench and they’ll bring you a bowl of noodles, beef and herbs topped with crispy fried onions.

8. Xoi xeo

Chances are you will encounter this dish in almost every outdoors market. There are even two restaurants dedicated fully to this dish in the Old Quarters. Xoi xeo is sticky rice topped with ground de-hulled mung bean and fried onion.

Sometimes it can be served with eggs or steamed chicken breast on request. The serving is really filling and it is good for any time of the day but most Vietnamese have it for breakfast or lunch.


Xoi Yen is an all-time local favourite sitting just North of Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem lake) on Nguyen Huu Huan street, few steps from Meracus Hotel. Have it with a glass of soy milk and you have more energy boost than a box of granola bars!

9. Banh cuon:

If the French has this famous delicious crepe made of wheat, egg and dairy products. Vietnamese and particularly Hanoian is proud of their steamed crepe from rice flour and water. A savoury meal, the inside stuffing contains ground pork, wood-ear and seasoning.

Most street chefs make the dish right at door so look for a place that steams are coming up high. Banh cuon is served with nuoc mam, a mixture of fish sauce, sugar and lime.


Banh cuon Gia An – Ba Trieu street (opposite to Vincom tower) is a more upscale restaurants specializing in Banh cuon. Banh cuon there is made without preservative and of high hygiene condition. You can ask for a vegetarian option as well.

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