15+ must-try dishes and street food in Hanoi, Vietnam
October 7, 2023
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Visiting Hanoi? Let’s dive into the 15+ must-try dishes and street food in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Whether you’re looking for a steaming hot bowl of Pho Bo or a refreshing Bun Bo Nam Bo salad, this list has all of the best dishes to try on your next visit to Hanoi.
Prepare for your trip to Vietnam
Pho Bo (Pho Ga)
Pho is easily the most famous Vietnamese dish, and the number one dish that I recommend trying while in Hanoi. It is a popular Hanoi street food, but also served in most restaurants as well.
Pho is a rich, brothy, noodle soup traditionally made with beef or chicken broth, rice noodles, a selection of herbs and greens, and then topped with lime and chili.
Pho is typically enjoyed for breakfast, although it can be eaten at any time of day.
The dish is often served with ‘quay,’ fried dough breadsticks used for dipping in the broth. If you order a pho in Hanoi, you will need to specify that you’d like a side of ‘quay’.
Note: the chili flavor will get stronger as it cooks in the hot broth, so I recommend adding only a little bit, as you can always add more spice but you can’t take it out.
Best places in Hanoi to eat pho: Phở Gia Truyền Bát Đàn, Phở 10 Lý Quốc Sư
Bun Cha is a staple of Hanoi’s cuisine, and one of the dishes you absolutely must try on your visit to Vietnam’s capital city. Bun cha consists of both grilled pork patties and slices of fatty pork belly in a bowl of sweet broth made of fish sauce, sugar, lime, and chili. The broth can either be warm or cold, depending on the restaurant.
Bun cha is accompanied with vermicelli noodles, fresh greens and herbs, and bean sprouts to add to the broth as you enjoy.
Best places in Hanoi to eat bun cha: Tuyết Bún Chả 34, Bun Cha Chan Trung To
Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich with both French and Vietnamese influences. Although more popular in southern Vietnam, you’ll find plenty of amazing spots to try banh mi in Hanoi.
Served on some of the best bread in the world, a banh mi typically features various grilled meats, pate, fresh veggies, and chili sauce. Although the typical banh mi is usually served with pate, there are plenty of vegetarian options as well.
Best place in Hanoi to eat banh mi: Banh Mi Pate
Banh Xeo, or the Vietnamese pancake, is another must-try dish in Hanoi. The dish consists of a crispy, turmeric-infused rice flour crepe that is then filled with a variety of meats, veggies, and sprouts.
Similar to many other dishes in Hanoi, it is typically served with a selection of fresh herbs and lettuce leaves, plus thin rice paper for wrapping everything up into a delicious roll to dip.
Admittedly, this was a dish that I was eating incorrectly for so many years. But once I understand how to properly roll it, it completely changed the dish for me.
Simply take a sheet of rice paper and dip it briefly in warm water to soften it. Then, place a piece of the banh xeo in the center of the rice paper, add some fresh herbs and vegetables, and roll it up tightly, similar to how you would roll a spring roll.
Finally, dip your banh xeo roll into the sweet sauce provided!
Best place in Hanoi to eat banh xeo: Hong Hoai’s Restaurant
Pho Cuon is a reimaged twist on the original pho dish and a must try dish in Hanoi. Instead of a brothy dish, pho cuon are made of rice paper rolls filled with marinated thinly sliced beef, fresh greens and herbs, and vermicelli rice noodes, everything you would find in a bowl of traditional pho.
The rolls are often served with a sweet, fish sauce dipping sauce.
Best place in Hanoi to eat pho cuon: Phở Cuốn Chinh Thắng
5 Best Restaurants in Hanoi
- 🍜 Phở Gia Truyền Bát Đàn
- 🍲Tuyết Bún Chả 34
- 🥪Cháo Sườn Sụn Huyền Anh Đồng Xuân
- 🥪Banh Mi Paté
- 🥗Bún Bò Nam Bộ
Pho Chien Phong
You thought there was only one reimagined pho? Think again!
Pho chien phong is another version of pho in which wide rice noodles are deep fried into a golden fried pillowy puffs. These fried puffs are then topped with marinated beef and greens, as well as a rich broth that soaks into the fried noodles. Essentially, all of the ingredients of pho, reimagined once again.
Best place in Hanoi to eat pho chien phong: Phở Cuốn Chinh Thắng
Egg Coffee (Ca Phe Trung)
A Vietnamese egg coffee is a style of coffee in Vietnam that is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee. The egg yolks create a super frothy topping for the coffee.
Best place in Hanoi to drink egg coffee: Cafe Giang, the original egg coffee cafe
Cha Ca is a dish that is particularly popular in Hanoi. The dish is composed of marinated grilled fish, typically catfish, that is served with various greens and herbs, rice noodles, peanuts, and an accompanying fish sauce.
Typically the various ingredients are served to you separately and you are cook everything yourself in the pot on your table.
Best place in Hanoi to eat cha ca: Chả Cá Thăng Long
Oc Luoc Xa
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try Oc Luoc Xa. This is a traditional style of preparing snails. Typically they are boiled in lemongrass-infused water. They are typically served with garlic, lime, and lemongrass, but there are a number of different preparations. Another popular version of this dish is served with a sweet passion fruit sauce.
Although this dish is more popular in the coastal regions of Vietnam, you can also find a number of street food stalls selling Oc Luoc Xa along the lake in Hanoi.
Bun Rieu is a crab-based soup served with chunks of crab, vermicelli noodles, tomatoes, and herbs.
Best place in Hanoi to eat bun rieu: Bún riêu cua Hàng Bạc
Bun Bo Nam Bo
Bun Bo Nam Bo, or dried beef noodle salad, is admittedly a southern Vietnamese dish. However, if you’re visiting Hanoi, there is no reason not to try one of my favorite meals in the city.
This ‘salad” is made up of rice vermicelli noodles mixed with slices of marinated beef, various herbs and greens, bean sprouts, and peanuts. It is served with a sweet and tangy dressing made from fish sauce, sugar, lime, garlic, and chili.
Although more of a noodle dish than a salad, this dish is super refreshing and light, perfect for hot days in the city.
Best place in Hanoi to eat bun bo nam bo: Bún Bò Nam Bộ (same name as the dish)
Stir Fried Morning Glory
Stir-fried morning glory, or “Rau Muong Xao” in Vietnamese, is another popular vegetable dish in Vietnamese cuisine.
The morning glory, or water spinach, is typically stir-fried with garlic and fish sauce. Chili is also sometimes added for some spice. This is a delicious side dish, or eaten with some white rice.
You can find stir fried morning glory in most Vietnamese restaurants that serve a variety of dishes.
Banh Ran are sweet, chewy Vietnamese sesame balls. The fried balls are made from a rice flour dough and filled with various sweet fillings like mung bean paste, coconut, or black sesame.
The balls are then fried and rolled in sesame seeds to add a crunchy, nutty flavor.
You’ll often find them at street food markets or dessert shops. They are the perfect sweet treat to accompany a cup of afternoon coffee or tea.
Best place in Hanoi to try banh ran: head to the early more food markets to find hot, fresh banh ran
No visit to Hanoi is complete without a glass (or a few glasses) of Hanoi’s famous draft beer. Bia Hoi is often referred to as the cheapest beer in the world. I’m not sure if that is factually correct, but it sure is cheap! You can get a large glass of beer here for 14K. You’ll find branded bia hoi bars across the city.
Where to drink bia hoi: Bia Hơi Hà Nội 54 Quán Thánh
Visiting Vietnam? Be sure to check out these articles:
- 15+ Best Things to do in Hanoi
- Hanoi to Ha Giang: How to get there
- Hanoi Food Guide: Best Restaurants and Street Food