Must try dishes when visiting Hanoi

  • Fri, 24/06/2016
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Since a long time ago, Hanoi has become a promising land for all of the food-adored souls. With the interference and influence of multiregional cuisine, there are countless choices of food for tourists when visiting Hanoi. If you’ve ever heard about Pho, Cha Ca La Vong, Bun Cha, Banh Com, etc, they are the iconic dishes attached to the capital city. The following list contains some of the most typical dishes that visitors must taste at least once by doing Hanoi street food tour to experience local food culture in the capital.

1. Pho (Noodle Soup)

Whenever you visit Vietnam, especially Hanoi, the first thing you should try would be Pho noodle. For generations, this has been the most symbolic dish representing for northern Vietnamese cuisine. In Hanoi, you will find the diversity of choices for how you want your Pho to be, for instance, Pho with beef (on Lo Duc street or Sword lake area), Pho with chicken (Quan Thanh or Ton Duc Thang streets), fried pho (Bat Dan street) or pho rolls (Tay Ho district), etc. Every type of pho has their unique taste that you would be surprised how one dish could turn into variation. Hanoi Pho is served differently from many regions. They don’t come with a basket of herbs but the amount of spring onion and coriander in the bowl would be enough to leave such pleasant aftertaste. There are many famous Pho restaurants in Hanoi, for example, Pho Co Cu on the crossroads of Lieu Giai and Kim Ma street; Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su on Ly Quoc Su street; Pho Thin on Lo Duc street; Pho Suong in an alley on Dinh Liet street, etc. The price for a bowl would fall from 30.000vnd to 60.000vnd.


2. Banh Com (Green Young Rice)

Com is immature rice kennels roasted over very low heat and pounded until flattened. Com is originated from rural regions and normally wrapped in lotus leaf in square shape that can be eaten plain or turned into different types of dessert like Banh Com or Com Xao. Banh Com is the Vietnamese dessert made from glutinous green rice and bean, and can only be kept within a few days so once you bought it, it’d better be eaten right away. Com Xao is a little bit stickier and sweeter than Banh Com. The best Banh Com to buy is at 11 Nguyen Ninh street, and to get Com Xao it would be on Dinh Liet street, a place called Quan Nha Que.


3. Cha Ca La Vong

One of the most famous dishes that were on many food magazines all over the world is Cha Ca La Vong. This should be on your to-do-list once you visit Hanoi. The dish is a perfect combination of the typical Vietnamese spices like saffron, dills, fermented shrimp paste and fish sauce. Cha Ca is a type of river fish cake fried up in a pan full of herbs and seasoned to make it sweet, sour and spicy. The fish meat would melt in your mouth once you take a bite and leave with such special after taste. The dish is normally served with red chillies, rice noodle and different types of menthol herbs on the side. Nowadays you will find many restaurants that serve this dish, but the one and only on number 14 Cha Ca street is the oldest and most well-known.

4. Bun Cha

Bun cha is placed in the top 10 of the most popular street food in Hanoi. It is not only locals’ favourite but also foreigners’ all over the world that ever come to visit the capital. Bun Cha brings such traditional flavour that was never been mixed or changed. You would really enjoy the dish served with a bowl of pickled green papaya, grilled mini burger pork patties and pork belly in dipping sauce and a plate of rice noodle on the side as well as a generous basket full of herbs to refresh your palate. Tourists can easily come and try this dish at number 34 Hang Than street where it is very popular today, or at the long time famous ones like Bun Cha Hang Manh or in the market alley way in Dong Xuan Market. The price usually falls from 15.000vnd to 30.000vnd.

5. Banh Tom (Shrimp Cake)

Banh Tom is battered fresh water shrimp deep fried until crispy and it will be ready to serve. Every cake is usually like your palm hand size so it’s perfect for an afternoon snack or served as finger food at your party. In Hanoi, people normally have them with fresh herbs and dipping sauce that includes sweet and sour fish sauce, vinegar and pickled cucumber to reduce the greasy after taste. Nowadays, the original Banh Tom is only served in a restaurant on Thanh Nien street near Truc Bach lake. You can easily relax in the area with beautiful lake view while enjoying the famous shrimp cake. The restaurant is outdoor and spacious so tourists can come in big group without being too crowded and suffocated like being inside a typical restaurant.

6. Bun Thang

This might be the soup dish that contains the most ingredients in one serving bowl. Just like making Pho broth, Bun Thang broth is also a like piece of art to make but they use pork bones and prawns instead of using beef bones. The ingredients include chicken, omelette, pork cake and pickled radish all shredded like strings and served in one bowl filled up with hot boiling seasoned broth. And last but not least, you can put a bit of fermented shrimp paste to delight your palate.

7. Bun Dau Mam Tom

Talking about simplicity both in the food itself and technique required to make, this might be the most easy-going dish that is widely loved by the locals and even tourists after trying. Deep fried tofu, rice noodle and fermented shrimp paste whisked with green cumquat until foamy are all the ingredients you need. Some people love to put a spoon of boiling oil in their dipping sauce to have the greasy taste. One great thing about this dish is that you can have it at any time of the year no matter it is hot or cold.
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