Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam, is a haven for food lovers. Its vibrant street food scene and diverse culinary offerings make it a paradise for gastronomical adventures. From aromatic noodle soups to savoury street snacks and indulgent desserts, Hanoi’s cuisine reflects the rich heritage and cultural diversity of Vietnam. In this blog post, we invite you to join us on a culinary journey through Hanoi, exploring its iconic dishes, hidden gems, and must-try street foods. Get ready to try the best local food in Hanoi. We also added our favourite local place to try each of these dishes! Make sure to let us know how was your experience with them.
1. Pho: Vietnam’s Beloved Noodle Soup
No culinary exploration of Hanoi is complete without savouring a steaming bowl of Pho. This iconic dish consists of rice noodles, tender slices of beef or chicken, and fragrant broth infused with aromatic herbs and spices. Join the locals at a street-side Pho stall and customize your bowl with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime, and chilli. The balance of flavours and the comforting warmth of Pho make it a quintessential Vietnamese dish that is both satisfying and delicious.
One recommended place to try Pho is Pho Gia Truyen located at 49 Bat Dan Street, Hoan Kiem District. Another popular spot is Pho Thin situated at 13 Lo Duc Street, Hai Ba Trung District. This is one of the most famous food in Hanoi that you need to try.
2. Bun Cha: Grilled Pork Noodles
Another must-try dish in Hanoi is Bun Cha, a flavorful combination of grilled pork patties, vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a tangy dipping sauce. This local favourite is often enjoyed for lunch or dinner. Visit a Bun Cha eatery, where you can watch as the meat sizzles on the grill, releasing mouthwatering aromas. Assemble the ingredients in each bite, dipping the noodles and herbs into the sauce and relishing the harmony of flavours. Bun Cha is a tantalizing dish that captures the essence of Hanoi’s street food scene.
One popular place to savour Bun Cha is Bun Cha Cua Dong, located at 41 Cua Dong Street, Hoan Kiem District.
3. Banh Mi: The Perfect Vietnamese Sandwich
Indulge in a Banh Mi, a delectable Vietnamese sandwich with international acclaim. This culinary creation combines a crusty baguette filled with a variety of fillings, such as grilled pork, pate, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and a touch of spicy sauce. The result is a harmonious blend of textures and flavours that create a truly satisfying experience. Take a bite of the crispy exterior, followed by the explosion of flavours from the filling, and you’ll understand why Banh Mi is a beloved street food in Hanoi.
A popular place to sample is Banh Mi Pho Hue situated at 118A Hue Street, Hai Ba Trung District, which opened in the 1970s and is still beloved by generations of Hanoians.
4. Cha Ca: Hanoi’s Grilled Fish Delight
For a unique dining experience, seek out Cha Ca, a speciality of Hanoi. This iconic dish features chunks of marinated white fish, typically catfish, grilled with turmeric and served on a sizzling hot plate. Accompanied by fragrant herbs, rice noodles, peanuts, and shrimp paste sauce, Cha Ca offers a delightful medley of flavours and textures. Visit one of the historic Cha Ca restaurants in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where this dish has been perfected for generations. Immerse yourself in the interactive process of assembling your Cha Ca and savour each bite of this Hanoi delicacy.
You can experience Cha Ca at Cha Ca La Vong, located at 14 Cha Ca Street, Hoan Kiem District or at Cha Ca Thang Long, situated at 21-31 Duong Thanh Street, Hoan Kiem District.
5. Egg Coffee: A Sweet Vietnamese Delight
To satisfy your sweet tooth, try the unique Egg Coffee, a speciality beverage that originated in Hanoi. This velvety concoction consists of a rich coffee base topped with a creamy mixture of egg yolks and condensed milk. The combination of the bold coffee flavour and the silky-smooth texture of the egg creates a delightful, indulgent and satisfying contrast. Head to a traditional café in Hanoi and savour this local delicacy while taking in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
Two popular spots to enjoy Egg Coffee are Cafe Giang located at 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street, Hoan Kiem District, and Cafe Dinh situated at 13 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District. (Fun fact: both coffee shops belonged to the same family in the past but separated over time as the recipes passed on to three generations)
6. Bun Dau Mam Tom: Tofu with Fermented Shrimp Sauce
For a unique culinary experience, don’t miss the chance to try Bun Dau Mam Tom in Hanoi. This dish features a plate of vermicelli noodles, accompanied by crispy fried tofu, fresh herbs, and a small bowl of mam tom – a pungent fermented shrimp sauce. The combination of flavours, from the fragrant herbs to the savoury tofu and the bold umami taste of the mam tom, creates a distinctive and unforgettable taste sensation. Bun Dau Mam Tom is a beloved dish among locals and can be found at local eateries and street food stalls throughout Hanoi. A reminder that this dish is not for the faint-hearted!
You can sample Bun Dau Mam Tom at Bun Dau Met, located at 23 Phan Huy Ich Street, Ba Dinh District.
7. Bun Oc: Snail Noodle Soup
For the adventurous foodies, a bowl of Bun Oc is a must-try speciality in Hanoi. This flavorful noodle soup features a variety of snails cooked in a savoury broth, accompanied by vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and lime. The broth is often infused with lemongrass, garlic, and tomatoes, resulting in a tangy and aromatic soup. Each spoonful offers a burst of flavour and a delightful combination of textures. Look out for small local restaurants or street food vendors that specialize in Bun Oc to experience this unique dish that showcases the adventurous side of Vietnamese cuisine.
You can find Bun Oc at Bun Oc Co Huong located at 101 Khuong Thuong Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi, or at Bun Oc Bich situated at 28 Hang Hom Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
Hanoi’s vibrant culinary scene is a treasure trove of flavours and delights that will leave you craving for more. From the iconic Pho and Bun Cha to the indulgent Banh Mi, Cha Ca, Bun Dau Mam Tom, Bun Oc, and the delightful array of Che desserts, each dish tells a story of Vietnam’s rich culinary heritage. The city’s street food stalls, local eateries, and traditional cafes are waiting to tantalize your taste buds and introduce you to the best local food in Hanoi. So, embark on a culinary journey through the vibrant streets of Vietnam’s capital and savour the authentic tastes and aromas that make Hanoi a food lover’s paradise. If you’re looking for activities to do in Hanoi in between meals, feel free to check out our guide right here.
What food is Hanoi known for?
Hanoi is renowned for its street food, with signature dishes such as Phở, a soup with rice noodles and beef or chicken; Bún chả, grilled pork and noodles; and Bánh mì, a French-Vietnamese sandwich. It’s also famous for Bánh cuốn, rice pancakes filled with pork and mushrooms, and Cà phê trứng, or egg coffee.
What food originated in Hanoi?
Phở, the quintessential Vietnamese dish featuring rice noodles, broth, and meat (typically beef or chicken), originated in Hanoi. Another popular Hanoi original is Bún chả, a dish consisting of grilled pork, rice noodles, and dipping sauce. Lastly, Cà phê trứng or egg coffee, which is a unique blend of coffee, egg yolks, sugar, and condensed milk, was first crafted in Hanoi.
What are 3 popular foods in Vietnam?
Phở: A noodle soup with broth, rice noodles, herbs, and either beef or chicken.
Bánh mì: A sandwich made from a French baguette filled with various ingredients like pork, pâté, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs.
Bún chả: A Hanoi speciality featuring grilled pork served over rice vermicelli noodles with herbs and a dipping sauce.
Where did Anthony Bourdain go in Hanoi?
Anthony Bourdain famously visited Bún chả Hương Liên, a modest restaurant in Hanoi, for his show “Parts Unknown”. He dined there with former US President Barack Obama, eating Bún chả, a local specialty. He also explored Hanoi’s vibrant street food culture, featuring dishes like Phở and Bánh mì.
What is the best food in Hanoi Old Quarter you should try?
In Hanoi’s Old Quarter, must-try foods include Phở, a rice noodle soup with meat; Bún chả, a dish of grilled pork and noodles; Bánh mì, a fusion sandwich; Bánh cuốn, rolled rice pancakes; and Chả cá Lã Vọng, grilled fish. Don’t miss Bia Hơi, the fresh local beer, and Cà phê trứng, a unique egg coffee.