What to do in Hanoi Part 2: Hanoi eating
No need to introduce any further, one thing I can make sure is that Hanoi cuisine would immediately amaze you with its complicated taste and definitely become a highlight while travelling in Vietnam. Why? The culture lies in each palate is far more from subtle than what you have tasted before in others places.
In this post I will recommend and also describe about 10 most famous dishes that you may want to eat in Hanoi.
Pho ( Pronounced: Fur )
This is a must, who can resist the temptation of having a bowl of Phở to start a day? The original and traditional Phở include:
- Phở noodles (broad rice noodle) – soaked in hot water until soft and drained
- Finely sliced white onion
- Finely sliced scallions
- Chopped coriander leaf
- Finely sliced beef sirloin (ask your butcher)
Even though you could easily encounter a lot of vendors selling Pho in any corner of Hanoi but not all of them could cook the truly taste of this Vietnamese national dish. Here are the most preferred stores in Hanoi by the locals (located in Hanoi Old Quarter so you could walk there)
Place to eat:
- Pho 24: 31 Hang Khay strt, Hoan Kiem dist (near Trang Tien mall)
- Pho Bat Dan: 49 Bat Dan strt, Hoan Kiem dist
- Pho Ly Quoc Su: 10 Ly Quoc Su strt, Hoan Kiem dist
- Pho Vui (Happy Pho): Hang Giay strt, Hoan Kiem dist.
- Pho Thin: 13 Lo Duc strt, Hai Ba Trung dist
Notice: because Phở is mostly served as a breakfast meal so please come early if you don’t want to wait too long, they’re usually out of service about 9.30 AM . Don’t miss Pho while travelling in Vietnam
Coffee: Weasel Coffee
Place to Coffee Shop :
- 58 Mã Mây strt, Hoan Kiem dist, Hanoi
- 15 Hàng Mành strt, Hoan Kiem dist, Hanoi
- 49 Lò Sũ, Hoan Kiem dist., Hanoi
Xoi: (Pronounced: No idea. So sorry )
A special type of rice (glutinous rice) which is softer, stickier and taste better than regular rice, usually served in two types: Sweet and Savory, mostly depend on its topped food. There are many kinds of Xôi
- Xôi bắp – made with corn, sugar, fried onions, and smashed cooked mung beans
- Xôi đậu đen – made with black urad beans
- Xôi gấc – made with the aril and seeds of the gấc fruit
- Xôi vò – the glutinous rice grains do not stick together in this type of xôi, as they are coated with ground peeled-and-boiled mung beans
- Xôi cá- fried fish xôi
- Xôi chiên phồng – deep-fried glutinous rice patty
- Xôi gà – with chicken
- Xôi khúc – with mung bean filling with a coating of panda leaves paste
- Xôi thập cẩm – subgum xôi
- Xôi thập cẩm chiên – fried subgum xôi
Place to eat: You can easily find this kind of dish in every corner of Hanoi, all are good I have to admit that. You may see a woman sitting in a pavement with a big bamboo basket in front of her, if she doesn’t sell bread, then she sells Xôi.
Banh Cuon: (Pronounced: Bank Kuon):
A rolled caked stuffed with fine chopped pork and mushroom, topped with fried onion, served with special herbs and pork sausage put into dipping sauces. I have to remind you that each dish has different dipping sauces and herbs, both are to enhance the flavor of the main dish so I strongly recommend you to eat all them together to create the best and truly taste of the dish. The standard to evaluate a dish is mostly based on its sauces. The rice sheet is extremely thin and delicate by steaming a slightly fermented rice batter on a cloth that is stretched over a pot of boiling water.
Place to eat:
Banh cuon Gia truyen: 14 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem dist
Bun Cha (Pronounced: Boon Cha)
My favorite dish, when I think about Bun Cha I immediately hear a little voice whispering “Yummy yummy yummy” in my head. This is a dish of grilled fatty pork, fine chopping pork, cold noodles (bún), particular herbs and dipping sauces. There are also another version of this dish which was adjusted to fit the appetite of the Northern, you can read about it here. Travelling in Vietnam means that you could eat a dish in different versions.
Place to eat:
- Bun Cha Dac Kim: 1 Hang Manh strt, Hoan Kiem dist
- Bun Cha Sinh Tu: 8 Ta Quang Buu, Hai Ba Trung dist (you should take a cab)
- Bun Cha Duy Diem: 140 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh dist (quite far)
- Notice: This is a meal served for lunch, make sure you get there before 3 PM
Cha ca La vong: (Pronounced: Char Kar La Vong)
One of Hanoi’s most famous specialties is Cha Ca La Vong (La Vong grilled fish pies). The dish was invented by Doan family and has quickly become so popular that the name of the street where it is served was changed into Cha Ca (fish pie) from its former name Hang Son (Paint Street). This dish contains exquisitely grilled fish served with bún (cold noodle) peanut, green onions, dills and shrimp paste. The fish is carefully chosen so that there are not too many bones and fishy smells. A glass of bia hoi or tra da will definitely give your meal more flavor.
Place to eat:
ONE AND ONLY ONE ADDRESS BELOW
Cha ca La Vong restaurant: 14 Cha Ca strt, Hoan Kiem Dist.
Notice: You may have to wait and also the price is quite high, however they’ve monopolised this dish.
Banh mi (Bank Mee): Vietnamese sandwich
Bread, or more specifically the baguette, was introduced by the French during its colonial period. The classic version, bánh mì thịt nguội, sometimes known as bánh mì đặc biệt or “special combo”, is made with various Vietnamese cold cuts, such as sliced pork or pork bellies, chả lụa (pork sausage), and head cheese, along with the liver pâté and vegetables like carrot or cucumbers. Another type is with scrambled eggs, served on a fresh (and sometimes buttered) baguette, egg is sunny-side-up with onions, sprinkled with soy sauce or Maggi sauce. Place to eat you can click here
After a long day wandering and eating Vietnamese traditional food, how about having a Western diner in a nice restaurant? I think this would be the best to enjoy your holiday, at this point it hard to recommend some names because some restaurants adjust their flavor to fit Vietnamese appetite, but there are 2 restaurants that I really love is Pots ‘n Pans 57 Bui Thi Xuan strt, they serve Vietnamese cuisine and La Biande at 10 Nam Ngu strt for French cuisine, highly recommend these places, the price is not high at all for such amazing food, after all I don’t mind spending money on real good dishes.
Hoping that my review could make your travelling in Vietnam memorable especially in Hanoi. My next post is “What to do in Hanoi Part 3: Hanoi drinking”, reviewing about Hanoi custom in drinking coffee: Weasel coffee in Vietnam and how to make one, as well as Bia Hoi and Tra chanh (fresh beer and lemon tea) – an indispensable culture of the young.
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