8 Must-Eat Food In Hanoi

Influenced by Chinese and French cuisine, Hanoi has some of the tastiest food in Asia. If you're in the city or are planning to go, here are 8 things you absolutely must eat in Hanoi:

Bun Cha 

Made popular by Vietnamese restaurants serving vermicelli bowls around the globe, the Bun Cha originates from Hanoi. Our restaurant of choice was Dak Kim. Referred to as "street food"because the place is small and not fancy at all, it is considered the best Bun Cha place in Hanoi, frequented by locals and foreigners.

We feasted on barbecued pork, meatballs and vermicelli, served with a plate of veggies and bowls of mildly sweet, tangy, salty fish sauce with Daikon slices. Each bowl of meat shown below is for one person. They have big servings so if you don't have a huge appetite, consider sharing.

Bun Cha Dak Kim: 1 Hang Manh Street

Bahn Mi Sandwich

In Vietnam, Banh Mi technically refers to bread, more specifically, the French baguette. It is also used to refer to a popular street sandwich made of a baguette stuffed with meat, vegetables and some cilanto. 

We found a small Banh Mi shop while visiting Saint Joseph's Cathedral. Simply named, Banh-Mee also had simple interiors with a casual vibe. The buns were airy and perfectly toasted and the fillings were tasty. My friends liked the pork filling but I would recommend the tofu one - really good with lots of sauce. Another plus, they were really cheap.

Bahn-Mee: 18 Au Trieu Street

Egg Coffee 

None of us were coffee lovers but we kept hearing about egg coffee that we just had to try it. Egg coffee, as the name suggests, is coffee with egg. The egg is whipped to a thick, creamy froth. Apparently, only 2 cafes in Hanoi can do it well, and Cafe Pho Co is one of them. 

This cafe is not easy to find (we went to one of the bigger, more easily seen cafe's across Hoan Kiem Lake then left when we realized it was the wrong one) as you won't see the actual cafe along the street. Walk along Hang Gai slowly, look for the cafe's sign and entrance to a narrow alley and you'll eventually find it! The coffee was sweet and felt like drinking marshmallows. Lovers of rich, frothy coffee might find the search worthwhile.

Cafe Pho Co: 11 Hang Gai Street

Spring Rolls 

We must've eaten fried spring rolls everyday in Hanoi! Of all those we tried though, I liked those from Viet Lotus the best. They were stuffed with pork, carrots, mushroom - the usual stuff. Crunchy, flavorful, and compared to others we tried, the filling was firm enough not to fall apart when cut into. 

Viet Lotus: 1B Ma May Street

Grilled Fish

Soft and bursting with flavors of garlic and herbs, the grilled fish at the Orchid Restaurant was a winner. The fish was served with a plate of rice paper, a plate of vermicelli and vegetables, and of course, fish sauce. You eat it almost the same way you eat Peking Duck. Put some fish on the wrapper, add noodles and veggies, roll, dip in sauce then enjoy. The cute staff there will teach you how to do it ;)

Orchid Cooking Class & Restaurant: 25 Hang Bac Street


Pho is one of the most popular dishes in Vietnam and can be found literally everywhere. A tour guide took us to a street-side noodle shop where we ate on stools on the sidewalk. The soup was tasty but the chicken, a bit tough. Sorry, no recommendations here. The eatery was so forgettable that we didn't even bother to know the name of the place. Just ask your hotel or tour guide to point you to the best Pho restaurant in town.

Sticky Rice

When I first heard someone mention "sticky rice", I imagined it to be similar to the Chinese machang, lo mai gai or zongzi. It wasn't even close. Hanoi sticky rice is a dish made of glutinous rice, mixed with veggies or meat, topped with slivers of mung bean paste and fried onions. The mung bean topping tasted like mashed potato and we were convinced at that time that it was. The onions were fried crisp and tasted almost like fried garlic chips. We ordered a plate of BBQ pork and were happy. If you don't like strong onion taste then you might not like it but I suggest trying it out then just removing the onion topping if it's too much for you.

There are two restaurants with the same name "Xoi Yen" beside each other and we're not sure if they're the same or one is fake so be sure to go to the one on the left (when facing them). That one was packed with diners while the other one was empty.

Xoi Yen: 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Street

Coconut Ice Cream

Now, how about some dessert? Walking in the 37 degree heat going to Dong Xuan Market, we saw a sign for ice cream and decided to buy some on our way back. The shop was bustling with customers either falling in line to get their ice cream cones or eating beside their scooters. Yes, scooters were allowed inside the garage-like shop.

The ice cream was light, almost like soft ice cream but firmer. It had a mild but sweet coconut flavor that even my friend who hated coconuts enjoyed eating. The cone was also yummy. Oh my, it was crunchy and studded with sesame seeds! The only reason we didn't eat the whole thing was because the lady at the counter handed it to us without wearing gloves (after handling money). Yikes. We were too hot that we just started eating without taking a photo first. So.. here's us enjoying our coconut ice cream:

Kem Trang Tien: 35 Trang Tien street

Hanoi is a foodie's haven. Going there just to try their food won't be a bad idea at all but if you're there on a sight-seeing trip, do make sure you try some, if not all, of the dishes mentioned in this post to complete your Hanoi experience.

Have you been to Hanoi? I'd love to read your fave Pho place in the comments below.

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  1. OMG bahn mi! & I'll definitely put egg coffee on my list. :)

    1. If you love coffee then you must. The place has a good view of the lake at night so it would be a good place to chill after a long day :)



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