Learning about Hanoi also entails learning about its cuisine. Hanoian cuisine is known for its high-quality ingredients, refined traditions, and well-guarded family recipes. Hanoians are also serious about their food. Prepare your chopsticks because these eleven meals from Hanoi are not to be missed!
Miến (vermicelli), which is made from mung beans or sweet potatoes, has a deliciously chewy texture and a mild umami flavor. A bowl of miến with broth or stir-fried can be enjoyed, topped with chicken, crab, or freshwater eel. Vermicelli can be consumed with quẩy (fried breadsticks) along with the majority of noodles in Hanoi. Never overlook dipping them in the broth!
This one should be obvious. Even if you’ve already tried phở somewhere in Vietnam, it’s still worthwhile to taste the Hanoi version. Start with a little gritty chili sauce, then top with a tablespoon of garlic vinegar for beef ph or a squeeze of lime for chicken phở if the several condiments that come with your phở seem overwhelming at first.
Nộm bò khô
Grab a plastic stool and a plate of sweet and sour nộm bò khô (beef jerky salad) for a pick-me-up afternoon snack. With flavorful fish sauce, the crunchiness of green papaya and carrot is eased, while strips of beef jerky give the dish a quirky texture. If you’re up for something different, request a dish that includes tripe and beef spleen.
Noodles and basic fried tofu have never tasted so amazing! A favorite lunch in Hanoi is tofu that is crispy and golden, served with fresh rice noodles. Fish sauce is a lighter substitute for the traditional mắm tôm (fermented shrimp paste) that is used to serve bún đậu. The stunning ensemble is completed by fried spring rolls, young rice patties, and herbs.
Mì vằn thắn
Hanoian chefs give these noodles a flavorful touch by adding chives, shiitake mushrooms, and pork rind to distinguish their mì vằn thắn (noodles with dumplings) from southern counterparts. In Hanoi, a sizable piece of fried dumpling is included with your mì vằn thắn dish. It adds the extra crunch you didn’t know you were missing!
Chả cá is only performed in Hanoi. At the table, a large amount of spring onions and dill are tossed into spice-marinated, grilled catfish. In Hanoi, eating chả cá is a unique experience. The marinade is the key component of good chả cá. In family-run restaurants, original recipes have been maintained a secret for many years.
Bún chả is a harmonious concoction of chargrilled pig belly and patties, diluted vinegar fish sauce, and is almost exclusively served for lunch. Place the rice noodles in the fish sauce bowl along with the spices and herbs, and then try to eat as much as you can in one bite. Order some nem (fried spring rolls) along with your bún chả for a hefty upgrade.
Cà phê trứng
With a cup of rich egg coffee, you may cap off your fantastic lunch in Hanoi. This beverage is a fantastic pleasure for coffee lovers because to the sweet egg foam’s ability to counteract the robusta’s strength. That is a truly iconic Hanoi experience: sitting behind khaya trees, drinking a hot, fluffy cà phê trứng, and watching residents ride by on motorcycles.
Bún cá (fish noodle soup), which has the ideal balance of sweetness and sourness, is the ideal summertime delight. In a soup that has been made sweet and sour with pineapples and tomato are rice noodles, Vietnamese celery, and crunchy bits of fried fish. This meal, which can be found at street booths all around Hanoi, is best served with a side of fresh herbs and pickled bamboo shoots.
Bún Thang elevates leftovers to a whole new level with a few slices of Vietnamese ham, a handful of chicken breasts that have been shred, some omelette pieces, and spoonfuls of clear umami broth. Bún Thang, a leftover Lunar New Year dish that has become a beloved local breakfast, is a good illustration of Hanoi’s long-standing culinary innovation.