5 foods travelers should not miss in Hanoi

Hanoi has long been considered as the home of typical cuisines originated from different regions all around the country, as a result, there is a variety of choices for tourists to enjoy cuisine in the capital city. Here are 5 typical foods in Hanoi that anyone traveling to Hanoi should not miss chance to try.

1. Pho (Noodle soup)

Pho is not only the most popular dish in Vietnam but also internationally well-known as a symbol of Vietnamese cuisine. Specially, this famous food is best enjoyed in Hanoi, where it was first made in the early 20th century. In a travel to Hanoi, tourists can see Pho appearing anywhere from street vendors to high end restaurant chains. There are many types of Pho such as chicken Pho or beef Pho and each types of meat has a variety of  sub-dish, using from chicken wing to chicken thigh or beef tenderloin to beef brisket. However, beef Pho is usually most selected in meals. A Hanoi original beef Pho has sweet flavor of beef bone soup, has the aroma of just cooked beef and very eye-catching.


Pho is known as a symbol of Vietnamese cuisine

Where to eat: There are some famous restaurants where you can enjoy a true Hanoi-style Beef Pho, such as Phở Cồ, Sướng, Thìn, Bát Đàn.

2. Bun thang

Along with Pho, Bun thang has long been considered as symbolic image of an elegant gift as well as the most delicate dish of Hanoi cuisine. This well-known food was originated from a kind of soup named “thượng thang” of ancient capital’s people. A standard bowl of Bun thang contains no less than twenty ingredients such as dried shrimp, chicken, Gio lua, egg, onion, a little bit Belostomatid essence and other spices. All the ingredients are skillfully presented on the bowl as an iridescent flower. And Bun thang will not be completed if we forget to add “mắm tôm” (shrimp paste) – a special spice that makes this food different from a variety of rice noodles in Vietnam. Once you have tried Bun thang, you will find out that this dish is attractive to all people who have tried it once thanks to both its flavor and its appearance.

bún thang

Bun thang, the elegance of Hanoi cuisine

Where to eat: Bun thang Ba Duc on Cau Go Street.

3. Bun cha (Grilled pork and vermicelli)

Bun cha is a quintessential Vietnamese food, which is simple, quick to eat, mouth-wateringly tasty and surprisingly healthy. Once you have tried it, you will want to come back and enjoy it twice. Recipe for Bun cha is very simple. The pork is grilled on dry charcoal before being put into a tasty mixture of sweetened fish sauce with thinly sliced papaya, carrots. A perfect Bun cha helping also includes a generous side plate of uncooked fresh herbs and vegetables, a plate of Bun (vermicelli noodle), a portion of Nem – fried spring rolls, and a cold glass of Tra da (iced green tea). You will find soft toughness while eating, richer while enjoying the sweet and sour sauce and fried, barbecue still hot. All ingredients combine together will help add flavor, help diners feel less boring, and also increases the cooling meat for the dish.

bún chả

Bun cha Hanoi, a quintessential Vietnamese food

Where to eat: Bun cha Huong Lien on Le Van Huu street (where President Obama enjoyed dinner with Bun cha during his visit to Hanoi), the restaurant Dac Kim on Duong Thanh street.

4. Cha ca La Vong (La Vong grilled fish)

Your trip to Hanoi will not complete if you don’t spend time trying Cha ca La Vong, one of the typical foods of Hanoi cuisine. This dish includes grilled fish served with Bun (vermicelli noodle), peanut, green onions, dills and shrimp paste – an indispensable ingredient. The most important ingredient is fish which is carefully chosen so that there are not too many bones and fishy smells. Tourists can enjoy its best taste when it is still boiling in vegetable oil pan. The technique for the best enjoyment is to gasp a piece of fish and then use spoon to draw some boiling oil in the pan to pour onto it and eat with other ingredients.


Cha ca La Vong, one of the typical foods of Hanoi cuisine

Where to eat: Cha ca La Vong restaurant on Cha Ca street.

5. Banh cuon (Rice flour steamed rolls)

If the French has famous delicious crepe made of wheat, eggs and dairy products, Vietnamese and particular Hanoian is proud of banh cuon, which is made of rice flour and water.  Banh cuon is made from freshly steamed rice paper with some pork and mushroom wrapped inside. The processing of making banh cuon is similar to making crepe. The only difference is that banh cuon is steamed from a rice-based mixture, instead of light-oil fried from wheat-based liquid like crepes. A plate of hot banh cuon is served with sauce which is a mixture of fragrant fish sauce blended with a light sour of lime, Cha lua – Vietnamese Pork sausage, and fried onions. In a cold winter morning, waiting the cook preparing a plate of banh cuon is a great tourist experience in Hanoi.


Banh cuon is among most popular foods in Hanoi

Where to eat: Banh cuon Gia An on Ba Trieu street, banh cuon Gia Truyen on Hang Ga street.

Not trying these foods in Hanoi means that you have never been to the capital city of Vietnam. Therefore, if you have chance to travel to Vietnam, let’s spend time in your trip trying all foods mentioned above to find out that Vietnamese cuisine is very diverse and imbued with national identity.


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