If there’s one city hat’s absolute heaven for food lovers, it’s Hanoi. With a French influence in many of the dishes here, the food is fragrant and full of flavour. You’re sure to see a lot of tempting things here but there’s some classic Hanoi dishes that you simply have to try.
From steaming chicken noodle soups to crispy savoury pancakes and frothy coffees, here’s the essential dishes to try in Vietnam. Happy feasting!
The traditional dishes in Hanoi you need to eat
Probably one of the most famous dishes in Hanoi, pho is a steaming noodle soup dish that’s traditionally eaten for breakfast. It’s made with rice noodles, bone broth and plenty of fresh herbs. You then add chilli, limi and hoisin sauce to taste. You can either get Pho Ga (chicken) or Pho Bo (beef).
2. Bun Cha
Barack Obama made bun cha famous when he ate it on Anthony Bourdain‘s TV show. This dish comes from the capital city of Hanoi.It’s a mixed plate of grilled fatty pork (chả) over a plate of white rice noodle (bún) and herbs, with a side dish of dipping sauce. Mix the ingredients together as you please!
3. Egg Coffee
We know, we know, it sounds a little weird. But egg coffee is a unique coffee treat from Hanoi that’s sweet and super delicious. “Cà phê trúng” is a rich Vietnamese coffee base with frothy egg yolk and condensed milk on top. There’s plenty of places in Hanoi to try it, but the most famous is the original Cafe Giang.
4. Bánh mì
All bow down to the mighty bánh mì. You’ll see banh mi stalls over the country, serving this simple-yet-delicious sandwich. This is where the French influence comes into play: it’s a soft, fresh baguette, with pate, pork, fresh herbs, pickle carrots and chilli.
It’s the perfect snack for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is perfect drunk/hangover food.
5. Banh Xeo
This famous street food is a crispy Vietnamese take on a savoury pancake. The batter is a mix of rice flour and coconut milk with turmeric. They then fill it with pork strips, shrimp, bean sprouts and spring onion and fry it to perfection. There’s a certain way to eat ban xeo: you place a piece of it on a rice paper roll, add fresh veggies and dip it into sauce after each bite.
6. My Van Than
This flavoursome noodle dish originated from China around the 1930s, and is a popular dish in Hanoi nowadays. In Chinese, wonton literally means “tasting the cloud”, thanks to the fluffy crisp dough. This is a clear broth with mince pork/shrimp wonton dumplings, shitake mushrooms, boiled pork and boiled egg.
7. Pho Chien Phong
Like pho? You’ll love this fried version. Pho Chien Phong is a dish of deep fried square rice noodles. The pillowy noodle puffs are piled high with tender beef, steamed vegetables and a thick broth. It’s a super tasty feast. You’ll find lots of great Pho Chien Phong stalls in Hanoi’s Truc Bach neighbourhood.