Moving to a new country means learning about a new culture and trying new foods. I’ve been in Hanoi for three months and decided to seek out the very best of Hanoi’s street food. Rather than booking an overpriced tour guide to take us around the city trying different foods, we decided to do it ourselves.
So here you have a DIY Hanoi street food tour:
1: Bun Cha
A popular Hanoi speciality. Pork meatballs in a meaty broth, with vermicelli noodles, herbs, lettuce, garlic and chilli. Put in as little or as much as you want and add to it some crispy vegetable spring rolls for a delicious meal. 35,000vnd + 10,000 for each Nem (Spring roll)
Where: Bun Cha can be found all over Hanoi but my favourite is at Bun Cha 34 (34 Hàng Than)
2: Cha Ca
My favourite Vietnamese dish. Fish, vermicelli noodles, dill, basil, spring onions and coriander, in a sizzling hot pot cooked at your table. With chilli and fish sauce to add to your taste. 120,000vnd for one person. Delicious!
Where: Cha Ca Thanh Long (21 Duong Thanh street)
3: Bun bo
Beef, noodle salad in a delicious broth with herbs, fried onions and peanuts for garnish. Not one of the most common dishes in Hanoi so it’s quite difficult to find, but well worth it. 60,000vnd a portion!
Where: Bun Bo Nam Bo (67 Hang Dieu)
4: Xoi Xeo
Sticky rice topped with mung beans and fried shallots. Popular street food snack in Hanoi. The mung beans tastes just like mashed potato. Nice dish but very heavy on the carbs. 15,000vnd. You can also try it topped with meat for added texture and a cucumber salad on the side.
Where: Xoi Yen (35b Nguyen Huu Huan)
5: Banh goi and Banh tieu
Banh goi – a deep fried pastry parcel filled with glass noodles, minced pork and mushrooms. 7,500vnd for one.
Banh tieu – or Vietnamese sweet donuts as they are more commonly known. Deep fried pastry balls filled with sesame seeds and a sweet mung bean paste. Tastes like you’re eating a deep fried ball of sweet mashed potato. 3,500vnd, bargain!
Where: 52 Ly Quoc Su street
6: Pho Bo
Vietnam’s most well-known dish. A rich beef noodle soup with vermicelli noodles and chives. You can find this very tasty dish almost everywhere in Hanoi, all for just 50,000vnd! Throw in some quay, deep fried rice donuts for just 5,000vnd, everyone will be eating them too!
Where: My favourite is at Pho Thin (13 Lo Duc)
7: Pho Xao Bo
The fried form of Pho Bo above. Fried rice noodles with beef and vegetables. Add chilli and soy sauce to taste.
Where: Spicy Pho Bay (162 Xuân Diệu)
8: Banh Mi
The best baguette in Vietnam. Their twist on both Vietnamese and French cuisine. A french baguette, filled with pork, pate, salad and coriander with hot chilli sauce. Great for a quick lunch and between 20,000-25,000vnd depending on your filling.
Where: There are many street vendors selling these delicious baguettes all around Hanoi but my favourite is at Banh Mi 25 (25 Hàng Cá)
9. Bo bia
West lake in Hanoi is one of the biggest lakes I’ve ever seen. There’s a bridge that crosses through the lake and all along the edge are motorbike stalls selling Bo Bia. These are my favourite desert snacks in Hanoi. A thin soft pancake filled with shredded coconut, sugar and sesame seeds. All for just 10,000vnd.
Where: West lake, Tay ho. (7 Thanh Niên, Trúc Bạch)
10. Egg coffee (Ca phe trung)
A Hanoi speciality that tastes completely different to how it sounds. This traditional coffee is topped with a smooth and creamy texture which tastes just like warm marshmallow, its delicious! You can try it hot or iced. If your not a big coffee drinker, try the egg chocolate instead!
Where: This recipe was created in 1946 at Giang cafe. There are other coffee shops advertising their egg coffee along the same street but I wanted to try it from the originators themselves. It’s at 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, with only a small sign visible from the street. Look out for it!
So if you fancy tucking into some delicious street food in Hanoi, without paying over the odds for an organised tour – create your own. It makes for a fun day out and a very full belly at the end!
Want to settle in Hanoi and find a job teaching English? Read my guide on how to find a TEFL job in Vietnam