A foodie’s paradise, Hanoi serves as not only the capital of Vietnam but also a strong contender for the capital of cuisine. A city fully decorated with food vendors, hole in the wall restaurants and upmarket dining options, Hanoi will make you feel like royalty in a single day. Food is tasty but also as cheap as it gets. But, don’t get fooled by the low prices; these cuisines may be right for the backpacker budget, but the concoction of special flavors will force you to ask for more. Here are a few authentic Vietnamese food in Hanoi.
Eating out in Hanoi
It would be rude to write a cookbook of Hanoi specialities without initially mentioning one thing, the tasty street food. This is the heart of Hanoi’s culinary magnificence and is regarded as the card into the life of locals. Hong Hoai’s restaurant, The Lounge, and the Hidden Gem Coffee are all recommended by the expats and locals alike.
Fine dining is generous in the city center, but for the real taste of Hanoi, look for establishments with small plastic tables and stools outside. These enterprises run by the family will formulate a bowl of joy within a few minutes of settling down, and such a treat will set you back about 30,000 VND. The slurping sounds of the nearby diners imply that their tongue is satisfied. Have a look at some of the authentic Vietnamese Food in Hanoi and choose your favourite.
Authentic Vietnamese Food In Hanoi
- Bun Rieu- Mixing together rice noodles, freshwater paddy crab with a mesmerizing tomato broth, it is the favorite breakfast among the locals. As with different dishes in Hanoi, a side serving of veggies can also be expected too.
- Bun Cha Cha- Almost unbearable to attain in the south, this dish is one of the most popular authentic Vietnamese food in Hanoi. The crispy texture of the fried fish pieces remains intact for ten minutes. This dish is made of medley ingredients, so better not to waste a mouthful. One of the best places to enjoy this sultry treat is on the corner of Nguyen Viet Xuan and Nguyen Ngoc Nai.
- Pho Bo- A common favourite with locals, Pho Bo is a combo of rice noodles, thin slices of beef and a wide variety of vegetables, soaked in a gamey broth. Many of the streets in the Old Quarter are named after this popular dish because of its popularity, so finding a charming eatery that serves it won’t be difficult. Pho Thin on Lo Duc street is a great choice as it is popular for replacing the old raw beef with stir-fried beef.
- Banh Xeo- These crepes are exceptional and provide a realistic insight into the snacking habits of the locals there. Often made with pork, bean sprouts and shrimp, Banh Xeo is a great addition to Hanoi cookbook and you must try this at least for once during your stay.
- Banh Mi- From outside, these appear just like other sandwiches. However, if you find a good food hawker, the extra ingredients used in it will make a huge difference. Banh Mi vendors are placed on the corner of almost every street, especially the areas visited by tourists. Though the best ones will have a grilling machine. Making Ban Hi using a grilling machine gives a sultry toasted texture.
- Cha Cha- Many people consider Cha Cha to be one of the popular dishes that everyone must try when in Hanoi. This dish consists of a grilled fish with dill and turmeric and the best Cha Cha is made of Hemibagrus, a unique species of catfish. Nowadays, however, because of the rareness of Hemibagrus, you will likely wind up eating Mudfish or Snakehead fish. To make Cha Ca the fish is deboned, cut into small pieces, and seasoned with turmeric and several other species. It is then covered in banana leaves and grilled on a charcoal fire. When the fish is served to you, it is cooked the second time at your table in a skillet filled with dill and green onions.
You will also be served plates of vermicelli rice noodles, cilantro, peanuts, chili peppers, and a bowl of fish sauce. Once the Cha Ca is ready, fill your bowl with green onions, grilled fish, noodles and top it with other things. The variety of flavors complement each other. If there is a single dish that is considered as the most authentic dish of Hanoi, it is Cha Ca and you must try it when you are in the capital city.
The original Cha Ca is served in a restaurant named Cha Ca La Vong, but many agree that the restaurant has become popular for its own good. The result is high costs, bad quality, and long waiting period.
- Xoi Xeo- It is said to be the equivalent of comfort food for the natives of Hanoi. It begins with glutinous rice cooked with turmeric powder and mung bean. The result is a bright and thick yellow sticky rice which is topped off with a few drops of liquid fat and a hand full of deep-fried shallots. This forms the base of this tasty Vietnamese dish. From here, it is customizable with a wide variety of toppings ranging from pork belly to grilled chicken to hard-boiled eggs.
- Bun Bo Nam Bao- This is a layered dish featuring vermicelli noodles covered with grilled marinated beef, pickled veggies, lettuce, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, and fried onions. The entire dish is soaked in a bowl of tasty sauce mixed with chili, sugar, lime juice, and garlic. The secret behind tasty Bun Bo Nam Bo is the marinating and grilling of beef strips that take the focus in this Vietnamese dish. The name, “Bun Bo Nam Bo” literally means “beef noodles from the South” which might make it an odd choice to have it when you are in Northern Vietnam.
- Pho Cuon- Basically, it contains all the ingredients of Pho, but there is no broth. It contains the strips of grilled beef and varieties of herbs like mint, basil, and cilantro. All these are rolled up in a rice noodle. So, rather using a chopstick and a spoon, you must just dip them a bowl of sweet fish sauce.
- Pho Chein Phong- These are squares of noodles that have been fried deeply so that they puff up like little donuts. They are covered in gravy, beef, and sautéed veggies. It is just like Vietnamese nachos but without any cheese or chips. Generally, you will find Pho Chien Phong served along with Pho Cuon.
- Mien Xao Luon- It is one of the best Vietnamese food that everyone enjoys. Mien Xao Luon is another tasty alternative for all seafood lovers. It is made of stir-fried noodles in a broth with substantial toppings of crispy eels, egg, bean sprouts, fried shallots, and cucumber slices. As with many dishes available in Hanoi, a side of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and shaved banana blossoms are served on one side. Dong Thinh Nha Hang Mien Luon situated at Hoan Kiem District is a local place for Mien Xao Luon, where the dishes cost somewhere between VND 35,000 and VND 50,000.
- Banh Goi- Looks like miniature pillows, Banh Goi consists of finely chopped glass noodles, steamed eggs, wood ear mushrooms, minced pork within a rice-flour pastry. Then, it is deep-fried until it becomes crispy. It is generally served with a sweet-sour sauce made with chili, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and fish sauce. You can also pair your Banh Goi with fresh lettuce and cilantro if you find it too oily to have it on its own.