What to eat in Hanoi: A Glutton’s Guide to the Best Food in Hanoi, Vietnam’s Capital City

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

 

By Guest Contributor Grace Austin

Steamy bowls of soup, piping hot pancakes sprinkle with scallions, mounds of fresh chillies and herbs… Damn, if there’s one thing I can talk all day about, it’s cute dogs Vietnamese food. If it’s your first time visiting Hanoi, and you’re a food-lover, then you should know that the food in Hanoi is amazing and in Hanoi, street food is big, cheap and oh so delicious! But if you’ve never tried Vietnamese cuisine before, then you should have at least a basic idea of what to eat in Hanoi, so that you don’t walk in to the first touristy place serving average Western cuisine, when hunger strikes.

During my year of living in the beautiful beach town of Mui Ne, I made a 100% food-related trip up to Hanoi to shoot a video about Hanoi street food culture (which you can see here, if you’re interested).

During the shoot, I met with one of Hanoi’s food tour extraordinaires, who- to my absolute loony-esque glee- had prepared an entire what-to-eat-where itinerary for us and was ready to pull me by the arm around the city to chow down on the very best food in Hanoi.

Needless to say, I was over the friggin’ moon.

After stuffing myself silly with way more bun cha than any human should actually be able to eat and scoffing down more than a couple egg coffees every single day of my trip, I felt a) a little bit sick, but b) pretty well-versed in the city’s best eats.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

So, guys and gals, this guide is a roundup of what I reckon you should absolutely eat in Hanoi. I’ve included the can’t miss classics, as well as a few lesser known nibbles which are ohhhh so munch-worthy.

Let’s dig in (pun totally intended) to the very best food in Hanoi:

A note about the food in Hanoi

Before we crack into our main course (I’m not even sorry about that one) let’s go over some of the basic info about the food in Hanoi:

The food in Hanoi follows the ground rules of most Vietnamese dishes: lots of flavorful soups, fresh herbs, vermicelli noodles, tapioca starch, seafood, and meat. But Hanoi’s food departs from the standard median in many ways- particularly when you directly compare it to the food you’ll find in the south of Vietnam.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

There are several dishes which you can only find in/around Hanoi (or to be more general, in Northern Vietnam). Like, where was bun cha when I was living in Mui Ne, huh?! That stuff is goooood (more on that below).

In other cases, the actual dishes you’ll find in Hanoi are one and the same as those you’d find elsewhere in Vietnam, but the base ingredients or the way it’s assembled differs.

A good example of this is the classic pho, which, if you order it in Southern Vietnam, will be served to you with your noodles and meat in the soup- and with a side plate heaped with fresh herbs. In Northern Vietnam- Hanoi included- typically those herbs will be served inside the soup already. Sometimes the herbs themselves will be different too, since the climates of each region allows for different crops to thrive.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi. #Hanoifood #foodinHanoi

Pin it, pretty please?

Pot-ay-to pot-ahh-to, as they say. One way or another, Hanoi’s food is seriously delish!

Here’s my pick of the brunch- I mean…. bunch. I’ve included tips for where to try each of these dishes with the addresses on Google Maps linked to the names. At the end of the list, you’ll find a map of the places mentioned. 

What to eat in Hanoi: The Best Food in Hanoi You Absolutely Must Try

Pho

Pho is Vietnam’s most famous dish by a mile; chances are, if you’re even the teensy weensiest bit familiar with Vietnamese food, you’ve likely chowed down on a bowl of pho before. So it’s pretty obvious that I should begin this post about the very best food in Hanoi with pho. But unless you’ve been to the capital city, you haven’t tasted real Hanoian pho.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Pho

Pho is made of a flavourful bone broth filled with rice noodles, strips of meat (typically beef, but chicken pho is popular too), and fresh herbs with a side of chillies and limes- yum! Pho vendors are a dime a dozen in Hanoi, but not all pho is created equal, my munching friends! For the very best pho in the city, you’ll want to head to Phở 10 on Lý Quốc Sư Street, where you can even choose how rare you want your beef to be.

Where to eat it:

Phở 10, (10 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hànoi)

Phở Thìn, (13 Lò Đúc, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Phở Gia truyền Bát Đàn, (49 Bát Đàn, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Cost: $1-2

Vegetarian pho

All the veggies among you might be shedding a tear at this point, because a whoooole lot of Hanoi’s most famous food is meat and fish based. In my case, it was only after I left Vietnam that I became vegetarian, so I didn’t have to face this struggle too much when I lived there- but since returning to visit as a bona fide veggie, I’ve nailed down a few places which offer seriously yummy meat-free alternatives to classic dishes, including a couple of awesome veggie pho joints.

Vegetarian pho truly is a different dish to the classic version; the broth, instead of being flavoured with bone, is a wholesome vegan version that’s typically done with ground local spices like star anise, cinnamon, and then mixed in with vegetarian stock. The meat element is often replaced with tofu or extra vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower.

Where to eat it:

Noodle & Roll, (39C Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội)

The Hanoi Social Club, (6 Ngõ Hội Vũ, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Cost: $2

Cha gio/deep fried spring rolls

The extra crispy, extra oily, and WAY extra delicious version of the classic Vietnamese fresh spring roll is cha gio (or nem chay for the vegan version). The skins are made of the standard rice noodle wraps, which are then plunged into a sizzling vat of oil and cooked to crispy perfection.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Cha gio

Where to eat it:

Bun Cha Dac Kim, (1 Hàng Mành, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Quan An Ngon, (Số 18 Phan Bội Châu, Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 111103, Vietnam)

Cost: $1-1.50

Bun bo Hue

Originally from Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam, bun bo hue has since become a staple in Hanoian cuisine. The dish features a zingy broth flavoured with lemongrass and filled with rice vermicelli and beef; it’s spicy, sweet, salty, and sour all at once.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Bun Bo Hue

Where to eat it:

Bún Bò Nam Bộ Bach Phuong, (67 Hàng Điếu, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Cost: $1.25

Banh mi

Vietnam’s oh-so-delish take on the sandwich is ubiquitous in Hanoi, and definitely should be included on your list of must-eats in the city. In fact, this sandwich that’s hailed by many to be the best sandwich in the world is among the best food in Hanoi.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Banh mi

The light, flaky baguette is packed full of pate, crunchy cucumber slices, coriander leaves, slices of meat, and topped with a drizzle of fish sauce.

Where to eat it: I could recommend a restaurant here, but honestly the best banh mi I’ve eaten has always come from a nondescript cart parked along the roadside- so banh mi should definitely be on your list of best street foods in Hanoi. Keep your eye out for these; they’re often the best!

Cost: <$1

Cha ca la vong

Cha ca va long, or grilled turmeric and dill fish, is one of Hanoi’s namesake dishes. It was originally created by a restaurant right here in the city, and has since become such a popular dish that restaurants around the north of Vietnam now consider this a staple. And when you taste those earthy turmeric notes blended with the freshness of the local dill, you’ll totally see why.

Where to eat it:

Chả Cá Thăng Long, (19 – 21 – 31, Dương Thành, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Cost: $6-7

BBQ

If you don’t think that the good ol’ barbeque sounds very Vietnamese, and it’s not on your list of what to eat in Hanoi, I forgive you. But in actual fact, streetside barbecue can be found all over Hanoi- and, well, basically every other city in Vietnam ever. And by the way, it’s also one of the best street foods in Hanoi.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

BBQ in Hanoi

Take your pick between sizzling skewers of pork, hard boiled quails eggs, chunky slices of lotus, fat prawns, and all the chicken’s feet your heart could possibly desire. Cuz I just know you love them chicken feet, y’all.

Where to eat it:

10 Lý Văn Phức, (10 Lý Văn Phức, Cát Linh, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Thai Dat, (69 Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Cost: varies. In any case, it’s one of the cheapest eats in Hanoi.

Banh canh 

Banh Canh is a thick noodle soup where the noodle is made from tapioca flour or a mix of rice flour and tapioca flour. You can get banh canh with crab meat and quail eggs, or with pork, shrimp, fish balls, fish cakes and tofu, and the broth itself can be made from pork, crab or fish.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Banh canh

Where to eat it:

Banh Canh Ghe Ut Coi, (2B Quang Trung Street, Hang Trong Ward, Hoan Kiem DistrictHanoi )

Cost: $3-5 

Snails/ốc

Being a country that has long survived and thrived on fishing culture, crustaceans are a big part of traditional Vietnamese food. At the top of the list are ốc, or snails, to you and me; a part of Vietnam’s cuisine that’s so important, there are entire restaurants (quán ốc) dedicated solely to snail eating- so this is definitely one of the best foods in Hanoi. Take your pick between a flame fried plate of ốc on their own or the Hanoian specialty bún ốc (snail soup with rice noodles).

Where to eat it:

Quán Ốc Vi Sài Gòn, (21 Phố Gia Ngư, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Quán Ốc ngon Hà Nội, (Số 17 Tập thể C17, Hoàng Ngọc Phách, Láng Hạ, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Cost: varies depending on dish

Banh Xeo

Banh xeo, otherwise known as the Vietnamese pancake, is thin as a wafer and equal parts crispy and soft- all in one mouthful. You’ll usually catch someone frying these babies up in a crackling skillet at your neighborhood Hanoi street food area (of which there are at least a gazillion city-wide). Typically, banh xeo are stuffed with a selection of fresh veggies, meats, or most commonly shrimp.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Banh xeo

Where to eat it:

Banh xeo Sau Phuoc, (74 Cầu Đất, Chương Dương Độ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Bánh Xèo Zòn Pancake, (25 Lò Sũ, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Cost: $3-4

Nem Cua Be

Nem cua be are spring rolls stuffed with flavourful minced pork and salty crab. Wrapped with the typical rice paper rolls and then deep fried, the soft, juicy, savoury filling meshes perfectly with the golden crispiness of the outer shell. See why it’s in this list of what to eat in Hanoi?. Nem cua be are best when dunked in a dipping sauce of fish sauce, vinegar, chillies, and sugar.

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Nem cua be

Where to eat it:

Bun Cha Nem Cua Be, (47C Mai Hắc Đế, Bùi Thị Xuân, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Bun Cha Dac Kim, (1 Hàng Mành, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam)

Cost: <$2

Bun cha

Carlsberg don’t make food, but if they did, it’d probably be bun cha. Man, this simple dish is one of the most delicious things I never knew I needed in my life- until I visited Hanoi. This is simply one of the best things to eat in Hanoi.

Bun cha is one of Northern Vietnam’s staple dishes, consisting of cold vermicelli noodles, a plate of fresh local herbs (think mint, Thai basil, and spring onions), a piping hot bowl of broth, and grilled fatty pork. Typically, the dish is eaten with a side of crispy fried spring rolls, which you can dip into the special dipping sauce (a tangy combo of fish sauce, vinegar, and sugar).

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Bun cha

Where to eat it:

Umm… everywhere?! It’s sold at virtually every other local restaurant throughout the city, though my favourite place to eat it was Hùng Lẩu (6 Ngõ Trạm, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam).

Cost: $1-2

Egg coffee

Okay, so technically this isn’t exactly an eating thing, but c’mon- how could I rightfully leave this list without including Hanoi’s signature drink?! Egg coffee, although it sounds super weird, is actually 200% delicious. It’s made with Vietnamese coffee (the rocket fuel stuff) topped with frothy, creamy egg white whipped with sugar. It’s sweet, satisfying, and kinda naughty- so go on, treat yo’self!

What to eat in Hanoi: From the famous noodle soup Pho to Bun Cha and Banh Mi, here’s what to eat in Hanoi and where to find the best food in Hanoi. Plus tips on the best street food in Hanoi.

Egg coffee in Hanoi

Where to drink it:

Giang Cafe (39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam) (where Hanoi egg coffee was originally created!)

Cost: $1.50

Map of Where to Find the Best Food in Hanoi


 

Have you been to Hanoi? What would you add to this list?

Additional Reading

Things to Know Before You Travel to Vietnam

Top Things to Do in Hanoi

How to Go From Hanoi to Sapa

Volunteering in Sapa

Colors of Bac Ha Market in Vietnam

Trekking to Lao Chai from Sapa

Plan your trip to Halong Bay

Impact of Tourism on Sapa

See more posts about Vietnam on my Vietnam travel blog

Author Bio: Grace is a freelance writer and half of Extreme Nomads, a travel blog for outdoor lovers and adrenaline junkies. Originally from Ireland, she’s been travelling around Asia with her kitesurfing gear for 5 years, including one year spent living in Mui Ne, Vietnam. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

2 Comments

  • Lee Nelson says:

    So we just left Hanoi a few days ago and travelling down Vietnam; and seeing this article made me hungry again! The pho just isn’t as good in the rest of the country and we might just go back!

    Can we also make a plug for the Bahn Mi at An Cafe in the Old Quarter? We ended up going there FOUR times….! The milkshakes there are also to die for.

    Lee

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