Hanoi, the vibrant capital of Vietnam, is a haven for street food enthusiasts. With its bustling markets and hidden alleyways, Hanoi offers an incredible array of culinary delights that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. This guide takes you through the top 10 street foods you absolutely must try when visiting Hanoi, highlighting their unique, adventurous aspects and what makes them special compared to other places.

1. Pho – The National Dish

Pho is a must-try when you visit Hanoi. This iconic Vietnamese noodle soup, made with a flavorful broth, tender slices of beef or chicken, fresh herbs, and rice noodles, is a breakfast staple that has won hearts worldwide. Unlike pho in other regions, Hanoi’s pho is known for its clear, savory broth and simple garnishes, focusing on the purity of the flavors.

  • Where to Find: Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan, 49 Bat Dan Street.
  • Tip: Visit in the early morning to enjoy the freshest Pho with minimal wait time.
A steaming bowl of Pho, the national dish of Vietnam, served with fresh herbs and lime.

2. Bun Cha – Grilled Pork with Noodles

Bun Cha is a delicious combination of grilled pork patties and slices, served with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a dipping sauce. This dish is a lunchtime favorite among locals and even gained international fame when President Obama dined with Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi. The unique charcoal-grilled flavor and the combination of savory and sweet make Hanoi’s bun cha stand out.

  • Where to Find: Bun Cha Huong Lien, 24 Le Van Huu Street, famously known as the place where President Obama dined with Anthony Bourdain.
  • Tip: Pair it with a side of nem cua be (crab spring rolls) for an extra treat.
Bun Cha, a popular Hanoi street food, featuring grilled pork patties and vermicelli noodles.

3. Banh Mi – Vietnamese Sandwich

Banh Mi is a perfect blend of French and Vietnamese culinary influences. This sandwich typically includes pate, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and chili, all packed into a crispy baguette. The adventure lies in finding a small stall in a bustling alley and savoring the crispy bread with its flavorful fillings. Hanoi’s version is noted for its generous use of fresh herbs and pickled veggies.

  • Where to Find: Banh Mi 25, 25 Hang Ca Street.
  • Tip: Try the version with grilled pork for a smoky, flavorful twist.
Banh Mi sandwich filled with pate, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, and fresh cilantro.

4. Xoi – Sticky Rice

Xoi is a versatile street food that can be enjoyed sweet or savory. Toppings range from mung beans and fried shallots to pork floss and Chinese sausage. What sets Hanoi’s xoi apart is the variety of toppings and the unique combinations that reflect the city’s culinary creativity.

  • Where to Find: Xoi Yen, 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Street.
  • Tip: For a hearty meal, opt for Xoi with shredded chicken and quail eggs.
A bowl of Xoi, Vietnamese sticky rice, topped with mung beans and fried shallots.

5. Cha Ca – Turmeric Fish with Dill

Cha Ca is a unique Hanoian specialty featuring grilled fish marinated with turmeric and dill, served with rice noodles, peanuts, and fresh herbs. The preparation at the table and the combination of aromatic dill and turmeric make this dish a standout experience.

  • Where to Find: Cha Ca La Vong, 14 Cha Ca Street.
  • Tip: Follow the traditional way of eating by wrapping the fish in rice paper with herbs and dipping in sauce.
Cha Ca, a traditional Hanoi dish, featuring turmeric-marinated fish with dill and peanuts.

6. Nem Ran (Cha Gio) – Fried Spring Rolls

These crispy, golden spring rolls are filled with a mixture of minced pork, mushrooms, and vermicelli. They are usually served with a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime, sugar, and garlic. The freshness of ingredients and the perfectly balanced dipping sauce make Hanoi’s version a delight.

  • Where to Find: Quan Nem, 43 Nguyen Thi Dinh Street.
  • Tip: Enjoy them as an appetizer before your main meal.
Crispy Nem Ran, Vietnamese fried spring rolls, served with a dipping sauce.

7. Pho Cuon – Rolled Pho

Pho Cuon is a typical dish of Hanoi, offering a refreshing twist on the traditional pho. These rolls are made with wide rice noodles wrapped around flavorful fillings like beef, herbs, and lettuce, served with a tangy dipping sauce. The freshness of the ingredients and the unique presentation make Pho Cuon a must-try in Hanoi.

  • Where to Find: Pho Cuon Huong Mai, 25 Ngu Xa Street.
  • Tip: Pair it with a side of fresh herbs for an extra burst of flavor.
A plate of Pho Cuon, rolled pho noodles filled with beef and fresh herbs, served with a dipping sauce

8. Banh Cuon – Steamed Rice Rolls

Banh Cuon are delicate, thin rice rolls filled with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms, topped with fried shallots, and served with a side of fish sauce. The thin, delicate rolls and the flavorful fillings make Hanoi’s banh cuon a unique treat.

  • Where to Find: Banh Cuon Gia Truyen Thanh Van, 12-14 Hang Ga Street.
  • Tip: Enjoy it with cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage) for a more filling meal.
Banh Cuon, Vietnamese steamed rice rolls filled with ground pork and mushrooms.

9. Che – Vietnamese Sweet Soup

Che is a popular dessert that comes in various forms, from sweetened beans and sticky rice to fruit and coconut milk concoctions. Hanoi’s che is known for its variety and the use of fresh, local ingredients, making it a colorful and refreshing treat.

  • Where to Find: Che Ba Thin, 1 Bat Dan Street.
  • Tip: Try Che with mixed fruits and jelly for a colorful and delicious dessert.
A colorful bowl of Che, a Vietnamese sweet soup dessert with various fruits and jellies.

10. Ca Phe Trung – Egg Coffee

Egg Coffee is a unique Hanoi creation that combines robust Vietnamese coffee with a creamy, frothy mixture of egg yolk and condensed milk. It’s both a drink and a dessert. The rich, creamy texture and the strong coffee flavor make it a must-try experience in Hanoi.

  • Where to Find: Cafe Giang, 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street.
  • Tip: Enjoy it hot or cold, but don’t miss this delightful experience.
A glass of Ca Phe Trung, Hanoi’s famous egg coffee, with a creamy frothy top.

Exploring the street food of Hanoi is an adventure in itself. From the savory delights of Pho and Bun Cha to the sweet treats of Che and Egg Coffee, Hanoi’s street food scene offers something for everyone. Make sure to add these must-try dishes to your culinary itinerary and experience the vibrant flavors of this historic city.

For an even deeper dive into Hanoi’s culinary and cultural scene, join our Insider’s Hanoi Tour. Ride through the city on a vintage Vespa, explore hidden gems, enjoy local delicacies, and create unforgettable memories. Book your adventure today!

If you have any questions, please get in touch

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