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Top 10 Must-Try Delicious Dishes In Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is an essential culinary destination for lovers of Asian cuisine. With its rich history and unique food culture, Hanoi offers a myriad of delicacies to satisfy every palate. Whether you're an adventurous traveler or just a lover of good food, you can't miss these ten signature dishes when visiting Hanoi.

1. Pho

Pho is a famous delicacy in Hanoi that holds a special place in the hearts of locals. Consumed by Hanoians every morning, this dish is appreciated for its simplicity and delicious taste. It consists of a clear, sweet broth, carefully prepared by simmering beef or pork bones for hours. The result is a typical Ha Thanh bowl of pho, with a distinct flavor imbued with a sweet fragrance of cinnamon, star anise and cardamom that is unlike any other dish. The Hanoi pho tasting experience is also marked by the garnishes and condiments that accompany it. You'll usually find plates filled with bean sprouts, basil leaves, chili peppers, lime, and sauces like fish sauce. This allows each diner to customize their bowl of pho by adding toppings of their choice, which adds extra texture and flavor.
When you order a bowl of phở in Hanoi, you can choose between different cuts of meat, ranging from rare beef to well-done beef, meatballs or chicken. Each variation offers a unique taste experience, but all are infused with that distinct, delicate flavor that Hanoi pho is famous for.
Interestingly, pho is traditionally served for breakfast in Hanoi. Hanoians start their day with a steaming bowl of pho to prepare themselves for the day ahead. However, nowadays you can find pho stands open all day, as this dish has become a true culinary icon, enjoyed at all times.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Phở Bát Đàn - 49 Bát Đàn Street, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Phở Thìn - 61 Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Phở Lý Quốc Sư - 10 Lý Quốc Sư Street, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

2. Bún chả

From generation to generation, the inhabitants of the capital have inscribed bun cha in the pantheon of essential dishes of the Hanoi culinary scene. Its fame is such that those who have tasted this dish are impatiently awaiting their return to enjoy this specialty again. But the bun cha does not only charm the local taste buds. He has also conquered the whole world as an ambassador of Vietnamese cuisine.
Bun cha is a harmonious marriage of three essential components: dipping sauce, grilled pork rolls and rice vermicelli. A big part of the success of a bun cha plate is the dipping sauce. This one is carefully prepared by skillfully blending sour, spicy, salty and sweet flavors. It is made from fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, dosed with precision according to the restaurateur's know-how. In the bowl of dip, there are often thin strips of green papaya and carrots, and in some places, bean sprouts are also added to this divine concoction.
The secret lies in the perfect combination of these elements. The grilled pieces of pork, with their crispy exterior and tender interior, are dipped in the dipping sauce, absorbing all the flavors. Rice vermicelli, light and delicate, is the ideal support for these succulent ingredients. Each bite of bun cha is a real feast for the senses, a subtle balance between textures and flavors that come together beautifully. Bun cha is often served with fresh herbs such as mint, basil and cilantro, as well as crunchy vegetables such as bean sprouts. This adds an extra dimension to the taste experience, providing a variety of tastes and textures to explore.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Bún chả Hương Liên – 24 Lê Văn Hưu Street, Hai Bà Trưng Ward, Hà Nội (Note: On May 23, 2016, Obama was invited to share a meal with Vietnamese head of state Nguyen Phu Trong at Bún chả Hương Liên restaurant )

  • Bún chả Sinh Từ - 44 Đào Tấn Street, Cống Vị, Ba Đình district, Hà Nội, Việt Nam

  • Bún chả Tuyết - 34 Hàng Than, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình district, Hà Nội.

3. Bun thang

Bun Thang is a boldly flavored dish from Hanoi cuisine that delights the taste buds. This noodle dish is one of a kind, using more than 20 carefully selected ingredients. Each of these ingredients is processed with care and attention to bring to life a highly appealing Hanoi tourist specialty known as bun thang.
Originally from Trang An, the Bun thang has long been associated with the inhabitants of the Vietnamese capital. Hanoians know it well, as it is considered a delicious and famous dish in the region. Beyond the profusion of ingredients that characterizes this dish, the bun thang also seduces visitors with its refined and captivating presentation. Ingredients are arranged in the shape of five-colored petals, with each petal representing a variety of meat, egg slices, spring rolls, green onions, and more. In Hanoi, many famous shops offer bun thang, and each has its own unique flavor. However, no matter where you taste this dish, you will always be able to perceive the rich flavors of Hanoi cuisine, subtly hidden in each bowl of bun thang.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Bún thang Bà Đức - 48 Cầu Gỗ Street, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Bún thang Hàng Hành - 29 Hàng Hành Street, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

4. Bánh cuốn

Originally, Banh cuon was a famous dish not only among Hanoi residents, but also popular among tourists. Its growing popularity has given rise to many culinary variations, such as vegetarian rolls, shrimp rolls, pork rolls, chicken rolls, and many others. Despite these different versions, Hanoi banh cuon still retains its delicious authentic taste, impossible to confuse with any other flavor.
The savory rolls usually come with refried beans, cinnamon rolls, silken buns, and a generous helping of fried onions sprinkled on top. The sauce to accompany the banh cuon is carefully prepared, combining fish sauce, mild vinegar, essential oil, one or two slices of fresh chili and fried onions.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Bánh cuốn Phượng - 16 Đào Duy Từ Street, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Bánh cuốn cô Lan - 31 Hàng Chuối Street, Phạm Đình Hổ, Hai Bà Trưng district, Hà Nội

5. Bánh mì

The Banh Mi is one of the must-try dishes when visiting Hanoi. This iconic Vietnamese sandwich is renowned for its unique combination of flavors and appetizing presentation. The Banh Mi consists of a crispy and lightly toasted bread, typically filled with savory meats such as grilled pork, marinated chicken, or spicy shrimp. It is then complemented with a variety of fresh vegetables like pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and chili peppers. The filling is often accompanied by a delicious sweet and sour sauce made from mayonnaise, pâté, and soy sauce. The careful presentation of the Banh Mi, with its vibrant colors and perfectly arranged ingredients, makes it a feast for the eyes even before taking a bite. This iconic dish of Hanoi embodies the fusion of flavors, textures, and aromas that characterizes Vietnamese cuisine.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Bánh mì Phố Cổ - 38 Đinh Liệt Street, Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Bami Bread - 98 Hàng Bạc Street, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

6. Chả cá

Cha Ca, also known as "turmeric fish with dill", is an iconic dish of Vietnamese cuisine, and more specifically Hanoi. This delicious dish features pieces of fish marinated in turmeric and cooked to perfection with fresh dill. The combination of flavors is both subtle and balanced, offering a unique culinary experience. The preparation of Cha Ca is a spectacle in itself. Traditionally, the fish is cooked at the table, on a small stove, allowing diners to participate in the cooking.The fish is usually served with rice noodles, fresh herbs such as mint and coriander, roasted peanuts and nuoc cham sauce, a spicy sauce made from fish.
Cha Ca is a dish that perfectly combines textures and flavors. The fish is tender inside, while the turmeric marinade gives it a beautiful golden color and a deliciously fragrant flavor. Fresh dill adds a touch of fresh, herbal aroma, rounding off the whole dish. For Vietnamese food lovers, enjoying Cha Ca in Hanoi is a must-try dining experience. It's a dish that embodies the very essence of local cuisine, showcasing the fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques for which Vietnamese gastronomy is renowned.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Chả cá Thăng Long - 6B Đường Thành Street, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Nhà hàng chả cá Lão Ngư - 171 Thái Hà Street, Láng Hạ, Đống Đa district, Hà Nội

7. Cafe trứng

Egg coffee is a unique specialty of Vietnamese cuisine, prized by coffee lovers all over the world. This intriguing drink is an unexpected combination of robust black coffee and a light, sweet egg-based foam. When enjoying the egg coffee, you can gently mix the foam with the coffee for a harmonious blend of flavors . The combination of rich coffee and the sweet smoothness of egg foam creates a delicious balance between coffee bitterness and creamy sweetness. Egg coffee is often served with a small spoon to allow drinkers to mix up the layers and fully enjoy the unique taste experience. It is a drink that can be enjoyed either hot or cold, depending on individual preference.
If you are visiting Vietnam, tasting an egg coffee is an experience not to be missed. It's a delicious foray into Vietnamese coffee culture and an original way to enjoy a hot or cold drink while experiencing the unique flavors of this exciting country.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Café Giảng - 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân Street, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm Ward, Hà Nội (Note: Mr. Giang - owner of Café Giang worked as a bartender at the five-star hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole)

  • Cafe Đinh - 13 Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Cafe Phố Cổ - 11 Hàng Gai Street, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

8. Xoi xeo

Xôi Xéo is a traditional Vietnamese dish that appeals to food lovers with its sticky texture and delicious flavors. Originally from northern Vietnam, particularly the Hanoi region, Xôi Xéo is prepared from sticky steamed rice mixed with turmeric to give it its characteristic yellow color. Sticky rice is cooked until tender and slightly sticky, then mixed with ground turmeric, which gives it a bright yellow hue. To enhance the flavors, crispy mung seeds are often added to provide a crunchy texture. The Xôi Xéo is then garnished with other savory ingredients such as fried shallots, dried shrimp, fish sauce, pork pate and green onions.
This dish is often enjoyed for breakfast or as a light snack throughout the day. The combination of fragrant sticky rice, turmeric, fresh herbs and other ingredients creates a symphony of flavors that delights the taste buds. The fluffy texture of the sticky rice, combined with the crunchiness of the mung seeds and the richness of the other toppings, makes for a unique taste experience. Xôi Xéo is a popular delicacy and widely available in street markets, food stalls and restaurants in Vietnam. It's a comforting dish that embodies the very essence of Vietnamese cuisine, combining simplicity, bold flavors and varied textures.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Xôi Mây - 31 Lý Thường Kiệt Street, Hàng Bài, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Xôi Yến - 35b Nguyễn Hữu Huân Street, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

9. Phở cuốn

Phở cuốn is a delicious variation of the famous Vietnamese dish, Phở. Unlike traditional Phở soup, Phở cuốn presents a different presentation and a unique way to enjoy the characteristic flavors of Phở.
Instead of being served in a bowl of soup, Phở cuốn consists of rolls of fresh rice that contain tasty ingredients. The main component of this dish is marinated beef, often grilled, which is then wrapped in moist rice paper with fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint and Thai basil. Crunchy vegetables such as bean sprouts and carrots can also be included.
Phở cuốn is usually served with a special dip made from fish sauce, garlic, lime and chilli. This sauce adds a touch of acidity and spiciness, perfectly complementing the flavors of the Phở cuốn rolls. This dish is appreciated for its freshness and lightness. The see-through rice rolls provide a tender, slippery texture, while the fresh herbs and savory meat add layers of delicious flavor. Phở cuốn is often eaten as a side dish or as a light snack.
When visiting Vietnam, be sure to try Phở cuốn to experience an interesting and delicious variation of the famous Phở. It is a culinary experience that allows you to savor the authentic flavors of Vietnam in a unique and enjoyable way.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Phở cuốn 31 - 31 Ngũ Xã Street, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình district, Hà Nội

  • Phở cuốn Hương Mai - 25 Ngũ Xã Street, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình district, Hà Nội

  • Phở cuốn Hoa Lan - 24 Trần Hưng Đạo Street, Phan Chu Trinh, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

10. Bun Rieu Cua

Bún Rieu Cua is a popular and tasty Vietnamese dish that originated from traditional Hanoi cuisine. It consists of a rice noodle soup topped with an aromatic crab-based broth, along with different delicious ingredients. The particularity of Bún Rieu Cua lies in its preparation based on crushed crab meat, which gives the broth a rich and delicate flavor. The broth is often enhanced with tomatoes, tomato paste, shallots, garlic, and other spices that give it a deep, fragrant flavor.
In addition to broth, Bún Riêu Cua is served with tender rice noodles and various side dishes. Typically there are pieces of crab, pork meatballs, fried tofu cubes, green vegetables such as lettuce and cilantro, and aromatic herbs such as Vietnamese basil and mint. Diners also have the option of adding toppings such as bean sprouts, lime wedges and chili peppers to personalize their dish. Bún Rieu Cua offers a combination of varied textures and flavors. The soup is both light and flavorful, while the rice noodles add a soft and delicate texture. The different ingredients, such as crabmeat, meatballs and fresh vegetables, bring a variety of tastes that blend together harmoniously.
If you travel to Hanoi or other regions of Vietnam, tasting Bún Rieu Cua is a must to discover the richness of Vietnamese cuisine. It is a comforting and delicious dish that embodies the authenticity and diversity of flavors of the country.
Some recommended addresses:
  • Bún riêu Quang Trung - 49 Quang Trung Street, Hoàn Kiếm district, Hà Nội

  • Riêu cua Tuấn Anh - 35-37 Hồng Mai Street, Quỳnh Lôi, Hai Bà Trưng district, Hà Nội

Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam, offers a wealth of culinary delights not to be missed. From steaming phở soups with complex flavors, to fresh and crispy spring rolls, to delicious bánh mì sandwiches, Hanoi dishes are a feast for the taste buds. Exploring the bustling streets of the Old City or visiting local markets, you will discover a wealth of flavors and textures that reflect the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine. Whether it's the famous phở, the crispy dumplings bánh cuốn, the delicious grilled chicken bún chả or the unique dishes such as the turmeric fish cha ca, every bite is an unforgettable taste experience.
When visiting Hanoi, be sure to sample these delicious dishes and be swept away by the exquisite aromas and amazing flavor combinations. Whether you're a foodie or just looking for a culinary adventure, the diversity and authenticity of Hanoi's dishes are sure to win you over.
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