As one of the most unique capital cities in Southeast Asia, Hanoi boasts a fantastic and vibrant quality of life. One of the most interesting aspects of this city is the cuisine, and although it is not as famed as that of nations such as Thailand or China, any Hanoi Street Food Tour will not seize to impress and intrigue. Alleyways and market places are rife with tasty treats ranging from bowls of noodle soup to a kaleidoscope of kebabs. Many of the dishes here use an assortment of herbs to give them such authentic flavour and it is in fact the restaurants characterised by the cheap plastic stools which often serve the best grub. Although every individual who visits this city will develop their own preferences during their stay, a number of dishes here generally weigh above the rest. Some of the most interesting include…
Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls – Banh Cuon Gia Truyen
As one of the most delicious breakfast dishes in the city, Banh Cuon should always take pride of place on a Hanoi street food tour. This pale rice batter offers a smooth and silky texture and although it tastes fairly bland when eaten alone, a range of different flavours can be used for a filling. Many locals favour a combination of seasoned pork, mushrooms and shallots. These rice noodle rolls are most frequently served with a fish sauce known as nước chấm. A vegetarian option of this dish can also be requested and although many street vendors serve Banh Cuon, a more upmarket restaurant which specialises in this dish is located Ba Trieu Street, opposite the Vincom Tower.
Traditional Hue Beef Noodle Soup – Bun Bo Hue
No Hanoi Street Food Tour is complete without the wonderful aroma and taste of Bun Bo Hue. As one of central Vietnam’s most prized assets, these beef rice noodles are often served with pigs legs, creating one of the most iconic dishes in the country. The inviting taste of this dish is largely thanks to the fragrant lemon grass, pungent chillies and Hue’s famous ‘mam ruoc’ (shrimp chilli paste). This delicacy was originally a pork based dish, featuring pork knuckles, pork meatballs and ox calf, however it has since been modified to include cuts of rare beef, tendon and crab. This dish is generally accompanied by banana flowers which are finely sliced and “rau muong” (water spinach). To date, this is still one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Hue, however to accommodate for the diversified demands of locals and tourist, this dish is now available throughout the day. A Hanoi street food tour will present numerous opportunities to enjoy several variations of this dish, including the original which is quite spicy and contains much less sugar than modern examples. This dish is sometimes served with freshly baked bread and a serving of sliced pickled onions. It was initially introduced to the streets of Hanoi in `1975 and the local variation of Bun Bo is less spicy and features less mam ruoc. Bum Bo is now one of Vietnam’s trademark dishes and is enjoyed in several countries across the globe. Bun Bo Hue O Xuan on 5D Quang Trung Street is one of the best places to pick up this dish.
Hanoi Bread – Banh My
For the most part, a Hanoi street food tour will usually involve the sampling of this delicious baguette. Reminiscent of the French colonisation, this delicious bread has been given an Oriental spin and is now crammed with a pate, pickled carrots, daikon, jalapeños, mayonnaise and gobs of cold cuts. It is one of the most delicious aspects of Hanoi street food tours and can be modified in numerous ways, in short, it is a blank culinary slate. Most street vendors serve two versions of this delicious treat, Banh My Pate (where the customer is given a choice of meats) and Banh My Trung (egg). This scrumptious treat can be purchased from almost any street in the city, however some of the best are located on Hang Thung and Nguyen Huu Huan.
Beef/ Chicken Noodle
This is one of the oldest dishes on Hanoi’s culinary menu and is essentially a beef noodle soup. It is elegantly prepared and use soft cuts of meat and sweet, pure bouillon. A Hanoi street food tour will usually involve a visit to a Pho vendor, especially during a cold day when something warm is required. Some of the best one include – Pho Suong 24 Trung Yen Lane, Dinh Liet, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi & No 1, lane 16, Nguyen Hong street, Dong Da, Hanoi
Grilled Pork Noodle – Bun Cha
No Hanoi Street Food Tour would be complete without sampling this quintessential Vietnamese specialty. A simple and easily digestible dish, Bun Cha offers tremendous flavour. The translation is simple as ‘Bun’ describes the Vermicelli noodle while ‘Cha’ stands for fatty pork. While this dish is a popular aspect of many Hanoi street food tours, it would not be the same without the addition of the fish-sauce dip and casual array of herbs and spices. Bun Cha is generally served with meat, herbs and noodles, complimented with a portion of ‘Nem’ (fried spring rolls) and iced green tea. One of the best restaurants in the city to pick up this scrumptious dish is located at No 1. Hang Manh Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
Beef Noodles in the south – Bun Bo Nam Bo
Every Hanoi street food tour should include a sample of the famous southern Bun Bo. A bed of noodles is finished with tender grilled beef, chopped cucumbers, papaya slivers, crushed peanuts, fresh herbs and crunchy fried onions. This is mixed with a fish sauce known as nước chấm. A Hanoi street food tour should not only be an introduction of the cuisine itself, but also the people who create it and enjoy it the most. Rubbing shoulders with local Vietnamese can most easily be accomplished at Bun Bo Nam Bo on 67 Hang Dieu St during midday. It is very popular with office workers and becomes quite frantic at noon.
Vermicelli with Chicken, Egg, Pork – Bun Thang
This soup is one of the most popular yet hidden dishes in the city and is available on Hanoi street food tours with Your Vietnam Travel. Difficult to pick up outside the Old Quarter, Bún thang is an artistically prepared chicken broth which is beautifully served. This harmonious blend of colour is a real highlight of Hanoi street food tours and can be enjoyed on Cau Go Street from noon onwards. Bun Thang at 13 Gia Ngu is another excellent location.
Hanoi coffee and special egg-milk coffee
A spot of authentic Vietnamese coffee is the perfect way to end a Hanoi street food tour. Introduced by the French colonists in the 1800s, this aromatic beverage was quickly adopted by the Vietnamese natives and now this country is one of the biggest coffee exporters in the world. A sweetened, condensed milk is now generally used due to the limitation of fresh milk. A Hanoi street food tour will always involve a visit to a local cafe, where several variations of this popular beverage can be enjoyed. The cafe at 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street is one of the best places in the city to enjoy Phe sua chua (yogurt coffee) and Phe Trung (egg coffee).