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Wandering in the Heaven of Hanoi street foods

From many articles you have read before, you probably know by now know that Hanoi is the heaven of food, especially Hanoi street foods. In fact, street food is an important aspect in discussing Hanoi cuisine. Some of the street foods are the legacies of thousand years of history. It does not only reflect how Hanoians eat but also the way they live. Street foods are very simple  but it contains such sophisticated  and exquisite values that attracts any travelers once they first come to Hanoi. If you want to know what are the must-eats then this is the guru for you!

Where to find street food?

Street foods are everywhere. Nevertheless, for short trips to Hanoi, the famous Hanoi Old Quarter is the destination to go. Hanoi Old Quarter is the heart of Hanoi, consisting of 36 streets, each street sells a specific goods and foods. Here is also the origin of many popular street foods that even very famous among locals. You will definitely be surprised by the number of street foods in such a small area.

What are the street foods in Hanoi Old Quarter?

As Hanoi is gifted an ideal weather with four seasons in a year, the street food cuisine in Hanoi varies all year around. Whether you com here in winter or summer, there are always the street foods to enjoy. Our article surely cannot mention all the street foods in Hanoi, partly because of the time tourists spend in Hanoi. Yet we guarantee that these dishes is probably the hidden gems in Hanoi. What are they?

Savory Street Dishes

  • Pho bo and pho ga tron (Mixed chicken noodle):

Pho Bo, the food of national spirit has consumed so much paper and ink of writers and journalists locally and internationally as well. Pho is served everywhere over Vietnam, but Hanoi is the only place where foodies can enjoy Pho of full and authentic taste. Pho bo has become much popular among foreigners. However, if you are not a fan of the richness of the beef broth then tourists should check out the chicken version of “pho”. “Pho ga tron” (MIxed chicken pho” is also a famous street food to Hanoians. This dish is the combination of pho noodle mixed with shredded chicken, a bunch of tasty herbs, and special in-house sauce! The dish, which is not readily found in anywhere but Ha Noi, is so rich and delicious that we couldn’t help bringing it over.

Recommend places:
1. Mixed chicken pho: Pho Nguyet (5B Phu Doan street), Pho Hanh (65 Lan Ong street)
2. Pho bo: Pho Suong (24B, Trung Yen Alley, Dinh Liet street), Pho Thin (13 Lo Duc street)

Price range: VND 40,000- 50,000 ($1.5)

  • Bun cha (rice noodles with barbecued pork):

A portion of Bun Cha consists of a dish of rice noodles, a dish of barbecued pork and grilled chopped pork, vegetables and a bowl of fish sauce with pickled papaya and carrot. The essential element that makes Bun Cha tasty is the fish sauce that is heated until it is just warm and seasoned with garlic, chili and vinegar to make the fish sauce taste sweet and mild. The chopped pork in ball and flat shapes is mixed with traditional seasonings then grilled in coal stove until color of pork becomes golden brown.

Recommend place: 41 Cua Dong Street, 34 Hang Quat Street

Price range: VND 50,000 ($1.5)

  • Chả cá Lã Vọng (La Vong grilled fish pie):

Also, we must count Cha Ca La Vong in the list of Hanoi food specialties. The most famous Cha Ca can be found at the restaurant belonged to the Doan family at 14 Cha Ca Street. Fish pie is made from different kind of fishes seasoned with fermented rice, pepper and fish sauce before grilled until golden brown.

Recommended places: Cha Ca La Vong ( 14 Cha Ca street)

Price range: VND 50,000 – 100,000 ($2.5 – $5)

  • Bánh tôm Hồ Tây (hot crunchy fried shrimp cakes):

In cold winter, it is so great to enjoy the hot crunchy fried shrimp cakes (Banh Tom) by the West Lake (Ho Tay). Trying the sweet taste of shrimp and chatting about old stories is really a great joy in such cold days of winter. Hanoi-style shrimp cakes have just a few main ingredients: freshwater crayfish or shrimp from West Lake, flour and sweet potato. Instead of grinding the shrimp into a paste (like a fish ball), the fried seafood is usually left a whole — sitting on top of the crunchy cakes. It’s typically served with lettuce leaves for wrapping, plus chili, lime juice and fish sauce for dipping.

Recommended place: Banh Tom Ho Tay (01 Thanh Nien street)

Price range: VND 40,000 ($1.5)

Sweet dishes

  • Egg coffee

If you haven’t tried Vietnamese egg coffee, or ca phe trung, then I think you will be pleasantly surprised, especially if you love coffee and love dessert. The most common place to find egg coffee is in Hanoi, in the north of Vietnam. Think coffee with sugar, sweetened condensed milk with egg yolks whisked in. It might be hard to imagine, but strangely enough the egg yolks actually start tasting like soft and creamy meringue in your coffee, even though meringue is made of egg whites… somehow it just works?!

Recommended places: Giang Cafe (38 Nguyen Huu Huan street), Cafe Pho co (11 Hang Gai street)

Price range: VND 15,000 – 35,000 ($0.65 – $1)

  • Tào phớ (Tofu pudding with jasmine syrup):

This dish is such a go-to for summer as it is very light, cool and perfect for the scorching hot weather in Hanoi. This dish consists of tofu, jasmine syrup, grass jelly and coconut flakes, isn’t it sound good? Adding some ice and you shall know how summer heaven tastes like!

Recommended places: Lutulata (39 Hang Cot street), Jellybean (28 Quang Trung street)

Price range: VND 30,000 – 50,000 ($1.25- $1.5)

  • Xôi chè (Sweet gruel served with sticky rice):

this is a traditional dessert in winter and not many tourists know about it! In winter days, sweet dishes are often favored. Traditional families often cook green beans and black beans sweet gruel and mix it with some green bean sticky rice. The sweetness, warming of the sweet gruel of this dish is such a must for tourists to try. Besides, there are other hot sweet gruels such as rice ball sweet soup (chè trôi nước), cassava gruel (chè sắn).

Recommended places: Xoi che ba Thin (1 Bat Dan street)
Price range: VND 15,000 – VND 25,000 ( $0.65 – $1)

The Hanoi cuisine is forever the proud and nostalgia of Hanoians and it is a beautiful aspect in Hanoi’s culture. We hope that the above article has managed to deliver one message: Without tasting the Hanoi foods, it is very hard to understand the traditions and lives of Hanoians. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and let’s go!