Going to Hanoi, Vietnam? In this installment of our Vietnam Travel Guide Series, we bring you the top 5 must-try dishes in Hanoi.

I must admit, I am not up to a food adventure when I see one.  Especially those type that involves fried creepy crawlies of any sort. And so fortunately for us, there was nothing of that sort in Hanoi.  Instead, Hanoi is a haven of gourmet food (and by that, we mean normal food fit for a human being) that is delectable and easily available on the streets.

What to eat in Hanoi

If you are looking for a taste of authentic Vietnamese cuisine and is not keen to do so in the sweltering heat of the Hanoi summer day, try the Gourmet Corner Restaurant located at the Hanoi Elegance Diamond Hotel.

1. Pho (Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup)

Pho should be on the top of every visitor’s food list. It is a Vietnamese rice noodle soup served in clear soupy broth and either beef or chicken are added to it.  Known as Vietnam’s most famous food export, this dish is fondly re-produced everywhere else in the world, but nothing beats eating this in Vietnam itself.  The difference?  It lies in the amazingly smooth rice noodles and the sweet and subtle herbal taste of its broth.  A good bowl of pho for breakfast will start your day just nicely.

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Before you hit the streets, have a look at our top Hanoi shopping tips.

2. Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Another one of Vietnam’s famous gourmet exports, the Vietnamese spring rolls differs from other Chinese spring rolls by their skin – Vietnamese spring rolls uses their own rice paper which are thin and starchy and fried to perfection.  The result is a flaky outer coating that is both crispy and soft at the same time.   Alternatively, the steamed version is soft with a chewy texture and makes for a healthy snack.

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3. Cha Ca La Vong

One of Hanoi’s most favorite dish, Cha Ca La Vong became so famous as time passes that even one of the streets where it was first served was renamed after the dish.  This dish consists of large slices of snakehead (a fish with smooth meat) or catfish marinated with turmeric, galingale sauce and other condiments.  It is then fried and presented in a broth of fish sauce. Best served rolled up in rice paper (very much like a spring roll) with fresh vermicelli (thin rice noodles), peanuts and spring onions.

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4. Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnam had quite a French influence in their early days, having been once a French colony, and this influence is still felt today in their building architecture.  Amongst other things, the French also brought with them coffee beans and their brewing methods.  Today, the Vietnamese plant and roast their own coffee and has imbued their own taste and culture into a speciality brew, resulting in a fantastic beverage that is both aromatic and unique.  Typically, Vietnamese coffees are prepared in single servings using a single filter-cup and large quantities of condensed milk added to sweeten the brew.

Those of us who cannot acclimatize themselves to Vietnamese coffee can get their caffeine fix at Joma café, an outlet which serves unforgettably good American coffee.

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5.    Bun Cha

Consisting of BBQ pork slices and meat balls submerged in a tasty fish-based broth, this dish is usually accompanied by fresh rice vermicelli (a recurring theme in Vietnamese cuisine) and seasoned vegatables.  Another dish that is thought to have originated from Hanoi, the first restaurant serving Bun Cha was thought to be set up in the Old Quarters.

Bun Cha (Credits: http://ediblyasian.info)


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That completes our top 5 food to try in Hanoi, Vietnam!

Have you been to Hanoi? We would like to hear from you other food that you would recommend to try in Hanoi! Do drop us a note in the comments and share with our readers! 🙂

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Join us next as we share our tips for shopping in the old quarters of Hanoi.

First published 28 Dec 2013
Last Updated 22 Dec 2018

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