The best foods in Hanoi

Last updated - April 6, 2024
The best foods in Hanoi

Hanoi is renowned for its vibrant and eclectic cuisine, which draws on a multitude of culinary traditions from across Vietnam. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or a curious traveler, there's something for you to enjoy in Hanoi's colorful markets and bustling street stalls or any casual restaurant in the city. Here are 10 dishes that showcase the best food in Hanoi that should not be missed.

List of the top 10 best foods in Hanoi

Table of content


1. Pho Hanoi ( Hanoi noodle soup )

Pho is a beloved Vietnamese noodle soup that is famous around the world. With a steaming hot bowl of Pho, you'll find a savory broth that's been simmered for hours, chewy rice noodles, and tender slices of beef or chicken.

Pho Hanoi or Hanoi noodle soup

But what really sets Pho apart are the fragrant herbs and spices that infuse each bite with a burst of flavor. When you sit down to enjoy a bowl of Pho, you'll find a colorful array of herbs, bean sprouts, chili sauce, and other accompaniments that let you customize your dish to your liking. Whether you're fighting off a cold or simply in need of some comfort food, Pho is the perfect dish to warm you up on a chilly evening or to savor after a day trip.

Where to eat Pho Hanoi ?

  • Pho Gia Truyen: 49 Bat Dan Str, Hanoi.
  • Pho Ly Quoc Su: 10 Ly Quoc Su Str, Hanoi.
  • Pho Suong: 24 Trung Yen Alley, Dinh Liet Str, Hanoi.
  • Pho Bung: 1 Hang Trong Str, Hanoi.

2. Turmeric fish with Dill ( Cha Ca )

This dish, known simply as Cha Ca, is a turmeric-spiced catfish dish that's served with vermicelli noodles and an array of herbs and spices. The dish is so popular that there's even a street in Hanoi dedicated to it.

Cha Ca or Turmeric fish with dill

For Cha Ca dish, diners can grill their own fish and mix in their preferred toppings to create a personalized culinary masterpiece. Cha Ca is said to have been invented more than 130 years ago by the Doan family, who served the dish to French colonial troops. Today, it's one of Hanoi's most beloved dishes and a must-try for any foodie visiting the city.

Where to eat Cha Ca ?

  • Cha Ca Thang Long restaurant: 21 Duong Thanh Str, Hanoi.
  • Cha Ca La Vong restaurant: 14 Cha Ca Str and 107 Nguyen Truong To Str, Hanoi.

3. Vietnamese Baguette ( Banh Mi )

The Vietnamese version of the French baguette, known as Banh Mi, is a culinary delight that has become a beloved staple in Vietnamese cuisine. This airy sandwich is made with a combination of wheat and rice flours, resulting in a thin, crispy crust and a soft, fluffy interior. The filling is what really sets Banh Mi apart, with a delectable combination of savory pork, pâté, and cured ham, as well as a colorful medley of Vietnamese herbs and vegetables like coriander, cucumber, carrot, and radish.

Delicious Banh Mi is on one of the best foods in Hanoi

The result is a symphony of textures and flavors in every bite, from the spicy kick of chili peppers to the salty tang of pickled vegetables and the aromatic notes of fresh herbs. Whether you're on the go or enjoying a leisurely lunch, Banh Mi is the perfect meal to satisfy your cravings for something spicy, sweet, and absolutely delicious.

Where to eat Banh Mi ?

  • Banh Mi 25: 25 Hang Ca Str, Hanoi.
  • Banh Mi Hoi An: 98 Hang Bac Str, Hanoi.
  • Banh Mi Pho Co: 38 Dinh Liet Str, Hanoi.
  • Banh Mi Nguyen Sinh: 19 Ly Quoc Su Str, Hanoi.

4. Grilled Pork with Vermicelli Noodle ( Bun Cha )

Renowned for its mouthwatering flavors, Bun Cha is a dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of many, including former US President Barack Obama, who famously fell in love with it during his visit to Hanoi.

Bun Cha is a favourite local food in Hanoi

This beloved Vietnamese specialty is made up of grilled fatty pork, served over a bed of white rice noodles and a fragrant mix of herbs, with a side of dipping sauce that's typically made with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chili. The dish has a long history in Hanoi. Hanoi's first bun cha restaurant was located in the Old Quarter, on Gia Ngu Street in Hoan Kiem District, and to this day, it remains one of the most popular and iconic dishes in Vietnamese cuisine.

Where to eat Bun Cha ?

  • Bun Cha Dac Kim: 1 Hang Hanh Str, Hanoi.
  • Bun Cha Huong Lien: 24 Le Van Huu Str, Hanoi.
  • Bun Cha Ta Hanoi: 21 Nguyen Huu Huan Str, Hanoi.

5. Fried Spring Roll ( Nem Ran )

Vietnamese-style deep-fried spring rolls, known as Cha Gio or Nem Ran, are a dish that's enjoyed all year round and can be found on the menu of almost every Vietnamese restaurant around the world.
This crispy and savory delicacy is so beloved in Vietnam that it's often referred to as a specialty of the region, with northerners calling it "Nem Ran" and southerners referring to it as "Cha Gio".

Fried Spring Roll is in every traditional Vietnamese restaurant

The filling of the spring rolls can vary depending on the region, but it typically consists of lean minced pork, sea crabs or unshelled shrimps, edible mushroom, dried onion, duck or chicken eggs, pepper, salt, and various seasonings.

In addition to the classic pork-based version, there are also special variations of the spring roll, such as crab spring rolls or Nem Cua Be, which feature a delicious blend of crab meat, pork, and vegetables. Whether you're enjoying them as an appetizer or a main course, these crispy and flavorful spring rolls are sure to satisfy your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

Where to eat Nem Ran ?

  • Nem Ran Hanoi:  74 Hang Quat Str, Hanoi.
  • Nem Ran Hang Be: 21 Hang Be Str, Hanoi.
  • Noodle and Roll: 39C Ly Quoc Su Str, Hanoi.
  • Quan An Ngon: 18 Phan Boi Chau Str, Hanoi.
  • New Day Restaurant: 72 Ma May Str, Hanoi.

6. Bun Rieu Cua ( Crab Vermicelli Noodle )

This tangy tomato soup is elevated with the delicious flavor of freshwater crabs, served with rice vermicelli and topped with pounded crabmeat, crispy deep-fried tofu. A side of pungent purple shrimp paste is offered, which adds an extra burst of flavor to the dish and fresh herbs are added, making this a complete one-dish meal.

Bun Rieu Cua or the crab vermicelli noodle

The gray-shelled crabs are sourced from the flooded rice paddies of northern Vietnam. At Hanoi's bustling wet markets, vendors skillfully pry off the crustacean's top shell, scoop out its rich fat, and pound the remaining body into bits using large mortars or electric grinders. Then with some other procedures, the crab vermicelli noodle is made.
This dish is a true representation of the vibrant flavors and culinary traditions of Hanoi.

Where to eat Bun Rieu Cua ?

  • Bun Rieu Cua: 16 Hang Luoc Str, Hanoi
  • Bun Rieu Cua: 22 Hong Phuc Str, Hanoi
  • Bun Rieu Cua: 23 Nguyen Sieu Str, Hanoi

7.  Steamed Rolled cake ( Banh Cuon )

Banh Cuon is a ubiquitous dish that can easily be found all throughout Hanoi. Despite its ubiquity, this dish remains a favorite among locals and tourists alike. This delicate rolled rice flour pancake is typically made from a thin sheet of rice batter that is filled with a flavorful mixture of minced pork, mushrooms, and herbs. Depending on the region, the filling may also include chicken, eggs, or other meats.

Banh Cuon or Steamed rolled cake

Although Banh Cuon is commonly eaten for breakfast due to its affordability and convenience, it is worth taking the time to seek out Banh Cuon nong, which is served piping hot and fresh off the steam. The warmth of Banh Cuon enhances the flavors of the filling, making for an even more enjoyable culinary experience. If you're visiting Hanoi, be sure to indulge in this simple yet delicious dish that embodies the city's vibrant street food culture.

Where to eat Banh Cuon ?

  • Banh Cuon Ba Xuan: 16 Doc Hoe Nhai Str, Hanoi.
  • Banh Cuon Ba Hanh: 16B Tho Xuong Str, Hanoi.
  • Banh Cuon Phuong: 68 Hang Cot Str, Hanoi.

8. Sweet Sticky Rice ( Xoi Xeo )

Xoi Xeo, a popular Vietnamese dish made from sweet sticky rice, is typically served with a delicious combination of green mung bean paste, soy sauce, and dried shallots. However, for those looking for a heartier meal, there are a variety of add-ins available such as pate, boiled chicken, cha lua (Vietnamese ham), marinated pork belly, or preserved eggs.

Xoi Xeo or Sweet sticky rice

In addition to savory options, some restaurants also offer sweet variations of xoi xeo as a dessert. These versions are topped with delectable toppings such as dried coconut shavings, roasted sesame seeds, and crystallized sugar. Whether you prefer your xoi xeo sweet or savory, it is a must-try dish when visiting Vietnam. The combination of sticky rice and flavorful toppings creates a unique culinary experience that is sure to delight your taste buds.

Where to eat Xoi Xeo ?

  • Xoi Yen: 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Str, Hanoi.
  • Xoi Thai: 27 Nguyen Sieu Str, Hanoi.
  • Xoi Cat Lam: 24 Duong Thanh Str, Hanoi.

9. Fresh Spring Roll ( Goi Cuon )

Fresh Spring Roll or Goi Cuon in Vietnamese is a classic Vietnamese dish that typically features a combination of pork, shrimp, vegetables, rice vermicelli (bun), and other ingredients wrapped in Vietnamese banh trang (rice paper) or cold roll. Although spring rolls have origins in China, they were introduced to Vietnam by Chinese immigrants and have since been adapted to suit local tastes.

Fresh Spring Roll is so delicious

These delicious rolls are a popular appetizer or snack, and are often served with a flavorful dipping sauce made from ingredients such as fish sauce, hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and lime juice. The fresh ingredients used in goi cuon make it a healthy and refreshing option, perfect for those hot summer days. Whether you're a longtime fan or a newcomer to Vietnamese cuisine, Goi Cuon is a must-try dish that embodies the country's unique blend of flavors and culinary traditions.

Where to eat Goi Cuon ?

  • Noodle and Roll: 29C Ly Quoc Su Str, Hanoi.
  • Quan An Ngon: 18 Phan Boi Chau Str, Hanoi.
  • So Cuon: 13 Hang Chuoi Str, Hanoi.

10. Sweet Soup ( Che )

Prepare to have your taste buds blown away with Hanoi's unique and delicious dessert, which challenges preconceived notions about both sweet food and street food. This dish is literally a sweet soup, featuring a diverse array of ingredients including taro, sweet potatoes, red mung bean paste, coconut milk, and crunchy roasted peanuts. With every spoonful, you'll experience a different flavor and texture, making for an unforgettable culinary experience.

Sweet Soup with ice is great for summer days

These sweet soups are a true work of art, as colorful and visually stunning as they are flavorful. You'll find that each vendor has their own take on this beloved dessert, resulting in a wide range of variations that reflect the creativity and diversity of Hanoi's street food scene. Whether you're a fan of sweet or savory food, you won't want to miss out on this unique and delicious dessert that showcases the best of Vietnamese cuisine.

Where to eat Che ?

  • Che Xoan: 29 Hang Giay Str, Hanoi.
  • Che BoboChacha: 92 Cua Bac Str, Hanoi.
  • Che 4 Mua: 4 Hang Can Str, Hanoi.

What is the best food in Hanoi ?

That's subjective and depends on individual taste. Many tourists consider Pho and Bun Cha to be the best, while others prefer Cha Ca or Banh Mi. However, the top 10 most delicious dishes in Hanoi are listed above. Visitors should not hesitate to try these dishes, which can be enjoyed at casual restaurants or as street food, both of which offer traditional Hanoi cuisines.

Related article:

Top 15 amazing things to do in Hanoi

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