Hanoi street food, representing the unique sidewalk culture, adds to the charm of the capital city. Your Hanoi travel journey would be incomplete without tasting its irresistible street food. With diverse dishes, unique flavors, and healthy ingredients, Hanoi cuisine will definitely take every tourist by surprise. Check out this Hanoi street food guide to find the best dishes in town.
1. Tofu pudding (Tao pho) - A popular Hanoi street food
Tofu pudding (tao pho) is a favorite Hanoi street food of many people, especially on summer days. This sweet treat has been popular for decades, becoming the perfect dessert to cool down the heat.
A bowl of tofu pudding traditionally includes soybeans, jasmine sugar syrup, and ice. Nowadays, the locals make it more appealing and delicious by adding more toppings, such as grass jelly, tapioca pearls, shredded coconut, and dried coconut. The unique flavor of soybeans, the sweetness of sugar syrup, the gentle scent of jasmine flower, and the coolness of the ice all combine to create a refreshing summer flavor dish. It seems to suit everyone’s taste, even if you are a first-time trier.
If you visit Hanoi in winter, you can still enjoy this dish, which is added with fresh ginger instead of ice to pamper your belly. A bowl of tofu pudding costs between 10,000 VND and 20,000 VND.
2. Hot bagel twists (Banh quay nong)
Hot bagel twist (banh quay nong) is another popular Hanoi street food that tourists should not miss out on. This super easy-to-eat dish has an incredibly good savor. Made from flour, it is commonly served as a side dish for the famous “pho” and other noodle dishes. When mixed with the broth of pho, the crispy hot bagel twists will have a slightly sweet flavor. When eaten alone, bagel twists are often dipped into a sweet and sour sauce. This way, you can feel its crunchiness and richness more clearly.
This hot crispy dish is one of the favorites of the locals when winter comes. With only 20,000 VND, you will have a delicious plate of bagel twists.
3. Banh mi with wine sauce (Banh mi sot vang)
A dish of beef and red wine stew may seem to only belong in a Michelin-star restaurant, yet like many other delectable Vietnamese dishes, it can be easily found on the sidewalks of Hanoi. Initially, the dish was a classic French stew made with beef cooked in red Burgundy wine. It was gradually modified to suit Vietnamese tastes. Red wine still serves as the sauce's base, but the original spices and seasonings have been changed. Herbs like parsley, rosemary, and thyme are replaced with warm spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom.
Take a piece of hot-baked bread, dip it in the rich and savory broth, and you will be amazed by the flavors. A plate of this banh mi varies from 30,000 VND to 50,000 VND.
4. Chicken sticky rice (Xoi xeo)
Chicken sticky rice (or xoi xeo) is a delightful treat that you definitely have to try once in Hanoi. Made literally of sticky rice and mung beans, it is a typical breakfast dish that can be easily found on the streets of the capital city.
To make xoi xeo, people mix glutinous rice with turmeric powder. It is then steam-cooked after being soaked in water for hours to get the desired yellow look. At the same time, mung beans are thoroughly steamed and bashed.
Xoi xeo is often served with dried pork, salty sesame, peanuts, or even with just deep fried shallots and a tablespoon of vegetable oil. It will cost around 10,000 VND for a simple set of xoi xeo. The locals also make several variations of this dish by adding different toppings, such as braised egg, braised pork, sausage, pork pies, and chicken breast and drumstick; and the prices will be higher, from 15,000 VND to 50,000 VND.
5. Plain rice flan (Banh duc) - A must-try street food in Hanoi
Plain rice flan or banh duc is a must-try Hanoi street food, which is considered one of the most rustic and simple dishes in the Northern region. The main ingredients are non-glutinous rice flour or corn flour and peanuts. It has a jelly-like look and a mild flavor.
Plain rice flan can be served either hot or cold, usually with soy sauce and sometimes with tofu. The buttery taste of peanuts and rice flour and the spicy-sweet flavor of soy sauce and soft tofu are mixed perfectly, altogether making a cool dish on hot summer days.
It is also a good treat in winter, when a hot bowl of plain rice flan is topped with ground pork, finely-chopped wood ears, fried onions, roasted sesame seeds, and herbs. Plain rice flan offers distinct flavors in each season. It would be fantastic if you could try both versions of it. The price for this dish usually ranges from 15,000 VND to 30,000 VND.
6. Vietnamese dumplings (Banh goi)
Banh goi (pillow cake, or Vietnamese dumplings) is a popular treat that should be included in your Hanoi street food tour. You can find it at any market or street corner of Hanoi. Wrapped in a pretty pillow-shaped pastry, banh goi attracts gourmets with the crispy shell filled with ground meat, vermicelli, wood ear, and quail eggs. To balance the rich taste, it is often eaten with a sweet and sour dipping sauce and different kinds of fresh vegetables and herbs, such as lettuce, coriander, and pickles.
With its unique attractive taste, pillow cake can be enjoyed for breakfast or late afternoon snacks. A cake costs around 10,000 VND.
7. Fried chung cake (Banh chung ran)
Banh chung, or chung cake, is a traditional Vietnamese food during Lunar New Year. It is also a common street food in Hanoi in winter. Just like other Hanoi street foods, pan-fried chung cake can be easily found on many sidewalks or alleys. You can see street vendors sitting with a round tray filled with banh chung and some plastic chairs around for customers.
To make a delicious chung cake, the locals will deep-fry it on both sides, turning its texture from soft to chewy. They have to ensure that the outer layer is crispy while the inside, which includes sticky rice and fatty meat, is hot and slightly soft.
The cake itself has a delicate fragrance thanks to the blended flavors of black pepper, mung beans, and “dong” leaves. To make it even more appetizing, the people of Hanoi often serve it with a full plate of vegetable pickles. The sourness of the pickles helps balance the richness of this fried dish. You can also enjoy banh chung ran with other toppings, such as sausage, cha com (green sticky rice patties), and gio lua (lean pork paste). A portion of chung cake costs between 15,000 VND and 30,000 VND.
8. Boiled snails (Oc luoc) - A well-liked Hanoi street food
On a windy day in Hanoi, you will come across many people gathering at crowded sidewalk stalls selling snails. Diners sit close to each other on plastic chairs, sipping a hot cup of tea while waiting for a steamed bowl of snails. Its flavors have been attracting people of all ages.
According to Hanoi’s foodies, to enjoy the true taste of the snails, you should order a bowl of boiled snails with no added spices, with only a little lemongrass and a few lemon leaves. Dipping the hot snails into a sweet and sour sauce made of fish sauce, ginger, garlic, chili, lemon, and lemongrass, you will know why this dish is a favorite of many people. A bowl of boiled snails costs around 25,000 VND.
>>> Read more: Hanoi Old Quarter: The FULL guide for your cultural exploration in 2022
9. Fresh fruits with crushed ice (Hoa qua dam)
Mixed fresh fruits with crushed ice (hoa qua dam) is among the top healthy and delicious Hanoi street foods. This dish attracts both locals and tourists all year round, especially in summer. There is no better way to beat the heat and get a serving of vitamins than savoring a glass of fresh and cool fruits.
Each shop offers slightly different variations of mixed fruits. Depending on the season, they typically include popular fruits such as strawberry, avocado, grape, longan, lychee, mango, jackfruit, dragon fruit, papaya, guava, and watermelon.
All the fruits are washed, skinned, sliced into small pieces, and mixed with condensed milk, coconut milk, fruit syrup, and soft jelly. Upon your tastes, the locals may also add pandan jellies or tapioca balls for more texture. Each glass of mixed fruits offers fresh flavors and eye-catching colors.
Besides mixed fruits with coconut milk, there are other options, including fruits mixed with yogurt, ice cream, and caramel. The dish is priced from 15,000 VND to 40,000 VND per portion.
10. Pork rib porridge (Chao suon)
Pork rib porridge (or chao suon) is a delicious and nutritious dish that is very familiar to the people of Hanoi. It has long been served as an afternoon snack, a light breakfast, or a warm night snack for the locals.
It is made of two main ingredients: white rice and spare ribs. It is not difficult to make this dish, but making it delicious is a different story altogether. The ribs must be cooked properly, and the rice must be thick, smooth, fragrant, and sweet.
A perfect bowl of pork rib porridge is created by the sweetness of the broth and the tenderness of the pork and porridge after hours of stewing. It is often served with bagel twists and a little pepper or chili powder. The smooth porridge, the soft braised pork ribs, and the crunchy bagel twists combine perfectly to provide warmth, flavor, and texture to this dish.
Each Hanoi rib rice porridge shop has a different recipe to make a unique flavor that will satisfy diners. A bowl of rib porridge costs from 20,000 VND to 30,000 VND.
11. Stuffed sticky rice ball (Banh troi Tau)
On a chilly winter day, the hot and sweet flavor of “banh troi tau" (stuffed sticky rice ball) makes an ideal Hanoi Vietnam street food to try. A small bowl of banh troi often includes 2 yellow dumplings, one has mung beans while the other comes with black sesame seeds. They are boiled in ginger syrup and float on the surface of the sauce. This is why this hot treat is called “banh troi”, as “troi” means floating.
When served, the dumplings are put in a viscous dark-brown sauce, which also has the fragrance of ginger. The ginger makes the dish more aromatic and warm, which is ideal to relieve the cold of winter. Some smashed peanuts are added as well to make this treat more greasy and nutritious. You can often enjoy this dish for 20,000 VND/bowl.
12. Noodles with chicken stew and herbs (Mi ga tan)
Noodles with chicken stew and herbs, or “mi ga tan'', is one of Hanoi’s most attractive dishes. Not only delicious, it is also healthy and fulfilling as the chicken is soaked with aromatic medicinal herbs. These herbs include several kinds of dried mushrooms, goji berries, ginseng, almonds, dried dates, dried jujube, dried lily bulbs, dried longans, and fresh ginger. The herbs also help create a tasty broth with complex flavors and natural sweetness.
A bowl of mi ga tan is served with noodles and sprinkled with bean sprouts on top. Then, the chicken is piled over the noodles and sprouts, followed by bitter mugwort and the signature black broth. The people of Hanoi always eat mi ga tan while it is hot in order to enjoy the savory broth, the fat and firm chicken, and the aroma of the ingredients. A bowl of mi ga tan varies from 35,000 VND to 80,000 VND.
13. Fried banana cake (Chuoi ran) - A tasty Hanoi Vietnam street food
Hanoi’s winter days tend to make everyone crave hot snacks in the afternoon, and fried banana cake (chuoi ran) is one of the most popular dishes for those snacks. The dish attracts people with its golden crust, crispy texture, and rich sweetness inside.
The most important ingredient for this dish is overripe bananas, often referred to as "honey" bananas in Vietnamese, which have wrinkles and black spots on their skin. Every stall in Hanoi seems to have the same set-up, which includes a bowl of flour mixed with banana slices, a big frying pan filled with oil, and a rack displaying golden-colored cakes. Typically, these cakes are sold at around 10,000 VND each.
14. Roasted corn and sweet potato (Khoai, bap nuong)
Roasted corn and sweet potato are must-try street foods to feel the essence of Hanoi’s cuisine. On chilly and especially freezing days, you can see vendors selling roasted corn and sweet potatoes all across the city. Vendors often start roasting the corn in the late afternoon. They sit around a stove, the corn and potatoes are placed on burning coal and turned over frequently so that they are not burnt.
If cooked well, khoai and bap nuong will have an appealing browned look. Taking a bite, you can feel the outer layer is firm while the inside remains sweet and flavorful. The fire and the hot dishes will help you relieve the cold. It will cost you around 30,0000 VND to 50,000 VND to fill your stomach with these dishes.
15. Fried fermented pork roll (Nem chua ran)
Nem chua ran, or deep-fried fermented pork roll, is one of many delicious deep-fried treats available in Hanoi. It is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Nem chua ran is made of flour combined with cured pork and pork rinds, and it is fermented naturally in a short time to avoid becoming too sour. Then, it will be seasoned, coated with flour, deep-fried, and cut into small pieces.
This well-known Hanoi street food is often served with guava, pineapple, cucumber, and dipped in chili sauce. On chilly winter days, the richness and aroma of nem chua ran combined with the spicy flavor of chili will drive foodies crazy. A tray with 10 nem chua ran pieces costs about 40,000 VND.
For a complete experience in the capital city of Vietnam, along with exploring Hanoi street foods, you should also visit many famous destinations on your trip, such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi Old Quarter, Presidential Palace, and especially VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City - an unmissable entertainment spot. At Vinpearl Aquarium, you have a chance to observe the colorful marine life. Meanwhile at VinKE, your family can have relaxing moments together and your kids are given helpful vocational guidance through many job simulation games.
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In addition to the culturally rich capital city, Vietnam also boasts many other fascinating places to visit, such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, etc. Each place embraces a unique beauty that is worth exploring. For any destination that you intend to go to, you should plan where to stay in advance to have the best experience. It is recommended that you choose Vinpearl - a leading accommodation brand that can be found in most touristy destinations across the S-shaped country. Here, you can experience luxurious rooms along with all sorts of amenities, such as outdoor swimming pools, children's playgrounds, babysitting services, restaurants, bars, gyms, etc.
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Hanoi street food offers tourists a diversity of dishes. Whether you come to Hanoi in winter or summer, you can find plenty of alluring dishes to satisfy your taste buds. Therefore, if you happen to be here, do not miss out on the above-mentioned dishes for a wonderful culinary excursion.
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