A City of Many Eats
Second only to Bangkok, Hanoi is a foodies paradise, and Hanoi is also very budget friendly. Generously sprinkled throughout the windy streets of this most wander-worthy city are restaurants and street vendors enough to sample for a lifetime, and there are at least as many Vietnamese coffee shops that you can use to fuel your many hours of food exploration. In spite of the Hanoi’s heat and humidity, the food you’ll be able to tuck into is, generally speaking, light and refreshing, so you’ll not have any trouble enjoying a wide sampling of everything from noodles to crepes.
Below, we’ll share with you some of the best street food in Hanoi and all the information you’ll need to experience it for yourself via a self-guided walking tour. However, if you’re not keen to navigate the tangled streets of Hanoi, consider taking a food tour with Hanoi Street Food Tours. Whatever you do, if you think we’ve missed any foods or restaurants that belong in this guide, leave us a comment below, and we’ll add it to our list of places to try the next time we’re in Hanoi!
Where to Eat Some of the Best Street Food in Hanoi
If you want to skip right to the food, feel free to use our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map to navigate to all the shops we cover in our post. If you’d like to know a bit more about the dishes we recommend however, read on below the map.
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Pho Bo
What We Ate: Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)
We’re going to start with a classic here, because the first thing we eat when we’re in Hanoi is Pho Bo. In fact, we included Pho Vui as #0 on our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map because we think that this is the very first thing you should eat in Hanoi. And what better way is there to experience some of the best street food in Hanoi than being fueled by Pho Bo from Pho Vui? We can think of no other!
Foe? Poe? Bow?
Pronounced /fuh boe/ (don’t be one of those people who call it /foe/), this burstingly flavorful beef broth and noodle soup traditionally includes paper thin slices of raw beef (usually sirloin or round eye) as well as thicker cut brisket, a generous portion of herbs (usually cilantro and spring onion) as well as shaved white onion. And, if you’ve never had a bowl of this magic elixir, be careful, it is addictively delicious! People judge Pho by the broth, and the broth that the cooks at Pho Vui create is DIVINE! It’s crystal clear, richly beefy but not overpowering and has the perfect accent of the traditional pho spices (black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, coriander seed and cloves). Dare to cook your own? This Pho recipe is great!
Enjoy your Pho Bo as is, or feel free to add any of the pickled garlic slices, lime, chili sauce or sliced chilis.
Of the dozen an a half Pho Bo places we’ve tried in Hanoi, our favorite one is Pho Vui. The shop is completely unassuming and has virtually no ambiance. They also have no menu because all they serve is Pho Bo. So, if you’re too shy to ask, you can just sit down and wait to be served. Or, you can just say “Pho Bo”, and you’ll be good to go!
A Hanoi Classic: Bun Cha
What We Ate: Bun Cha (Noodles with Meat, Herbs and Sauce)
Normally, Vietnamese people serve Bun Cha at breakfast time because it takes 12 hours for the rice noodles to ferment overnight. Due to the fermentation, the noodles have a slightly and pleasantly tangy edge to them which contrasts nicely with the fresh herbs (usually purple basil, lemon mint, Vietnamese mint and lettuce), garlic and sweet dipping sauce. The dipping sauce is comprised of fish sauce, water, sugar, and vinegar and contains some pork meat balls.
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Hanoi Egg Coffee
What We Ate: Egg Coffee and Bhan Mi (Baguette Sandwich)
Make sure to try an Egg Coffee in Hanoi, because it’s difficult to find it elsewhere. T’o do so, head on over to Hanoi Egg Coffee (#2 on our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map), and get ready to tuck into a rich and creamy delight.
The luscious yet light and sweet egg foam that floats gently atop the Vietnamese coffee is what you’ll want to pay attention to when sampling this delectable treat. We’ve tasted Hanoi Egg Coffees where the egg foam is runny or too thin, and in those cases we’ve felt a bit let down. But not at Hanoi Egg Coffee! Here you’ll be licking the foam off your upper lip, and quite likely once you’ve reached the bottom of your cup, you’ll be considering ordering a second!
Years ago, when milk was prohibitively expensive in Vietnam, folks came up with the Egg Coffee, and ever since, the idea has stuck!
A Must Try Treat: Banh Mi
Also available at Hanoi Egg Coffee (#2 on our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map) is another Vietnamese classic, Banh Mi. Since the early 1800’s when French colonists introduced the baguette to Vietnam, Banh Mi has been available on the streets of Hanoi. However, unlike French baguettes, Vietnamese folks make their baguettes primarily with rice flour. Consequently, the bread is extra crispy on the outside, extra light yet chewy on the inside and makes a perfect vehicle for the meat and pickled veggies that are the typically components of a scrumptious Banh Mi sandwich. This is certainly on our list of the best street food in Hanoi, so you should definitely try one yourself!
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Nom Bo
What We Ate: Nom Bo (Papaya Salad)
Comprised of finely shredded green papaya and coated in a soy and honey dressing, then topped with crushed peanuts, lemon mint, thin slices of cooked beef and, drum roll please, sweet beef jerky, the flavor and texture of this papaya salad had us wanting to come back for seconds! Never before had we experienced beef on a papaya salad, let alone beef jerky, but after a single bite, we are planning to add some jerky to our own in the future. This crunchy, sweet and refreshing dish was an obvious choice for our list of the best street food in Hanoi.
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Banh Mon
What We Ate: Banh Mon (Steamed Stuffed Rice Crepe)
Have you ever eaten rice crepes that were cooked on a thin sheet of silk? If you have, skip this stop, but if you haven’t, you’ll definitely want to check out Quán Bánh Cuốn Bảo Khánh (#4 on our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map).
Have a look at the folks out front making the crepes!
We tried crepes filled with pork and mushrooms and topped with crispy fried onions and cilantro. The textural contrast between the soft chewy rice crepe, the tender filling and the crunchy fried onions made this one of our favorite Hanoi street foods. We also enjoyed a dipping sauce (not pictured) which contained fish sauce, sugar, water, a bit of fermented garlic and chili oil.
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Nem Chua Ran, Banh Tom and Banh Goi
What We Ate: Nem Chua Ran (Fried Fermented Pork), Banh Tom ( Fried Shrimp Cake) and Banh Goi (Stuffed Pillow Cake Filled with Glass Noodles and Mushrooms)
Quán Gốc Đa (#5 on our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map) had some interesting fried treats, so if you’re quite hungry and want something that will really stick to your ribs, what better than a bit of fried food! We tried the Nem Chua Ran (a piece of fried fermented pork), Banh Tom (a fried shrimp cake) and Banh Goi (a stuffed pillow cake filled with glass noodles and mushrooms), and they were all good enough that we’ll be coming back here the next time we’re looking to sample some of the best street food in Hanoi!
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Mein Xao Bo
What We Ate: Mein Xao Bo (Arrow Root Glass Noodles)
Apron Up (#6 on our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map) not only offers cooking classes but they also make a mean Mein Xao Bo (Arrow Root Glass Noodles). If you’re looking for a dish that’s a bit on the heavier side, you’ll want to try this.
Made with pork, bean sprouts, shredded carrot, cabbage and black fungus, this dish is very similar to Korean Japchae. It’s served hot, and was very easy to eat.
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice Cream
Wha we ate: Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice Cream
A sampling of the best street in Hanoi would not be complete without dessert, so we suggest you head to Chè Dung 93 (#7 on our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map) and try their sticky rice with coconut ice cream.
Even though this was the last thing we tried, we nearly ordered a second one since it was so darn good! On the bottom of the dish was chewy glutinous Pandan infused sticky rice. Next was creamy and cool coconut ice cream. On top of the ice cream was shredded fresh coconut and crunchy fried banana crisps. Suffice it to say, no matter which of the best street food in Hanoi you sample, you should plan to end your food exploration here.
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Banh Xeo
What We Recommend: Banh Xeo (Yellow Stuffed Shrimp Crepe)
We didn’t have time to try Banh Xeo, but people have told us that this is an item you’ll certainly not want to miss. At Bánh xèo, Nem cuốn (#8 on our Best Street Food in Hanoi Google Map), you’ll be able to try this and more! The yellow color shrimp crepe is usually stuffed with bean sprouts and herbs. The outside is supposed to be crispy and the inside is supposed to be tender. If you have a chance to try this, let us know what you think in the comment section below!
Best Street Food in Hanoi: Don’t Want to Find it On Your Own?
We hope we’ve give you a good jumping off point for your very own Hanoi food exploration. However, if you’re not keen on navigating the twisty streets of Hanoi, or if you really only want to focus your energy on enjoying the many culinary delights that Hanoi has to offer, consider taking a street food tour with Hanoi Street Food Tours. Whatever you do though, definitely add Hanoi to your foodie bucket list. And again, if we’ve missed any spots that you think deserve a place on this list, or you just want to sing the praises of any of the foods we’ve suggested, leave us a comment below. Happy eating!
For Your Next Food Exploration
If you’re looking for your next foodie paradise, consider spending at least three days in Ho Chi Min City. If you’re keen for a short flight, Hong Kong is another foodie heaven. Since there is a TON of food to try in Hong Kong, we suggest you begin with these classic Hong Kong Soul Foods and certainly some of the authentic dim sum in Hong Kong. If you’re into walking tours, again, Hong Kong is a wander-worthy city, so this self guided walking tour through the Venice of Hong Kong will likely keep you engaged for hours and hours!
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