Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi, has plenty of sights to appeal to visitors – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One-Pillar Pagoda, the old quarter with its bustling streets – but if you really want to understand the Vietnamese people and their culture, you’ll need to delve deep into its food.
Hanoi’s street food scene can be overwhelming with its mix of smells and tastes but it’s well worth exploring since it’s one of the freshest, healthiest and most flavorful cuisines in the world.
Let us guide you to five of the hottest spots where you can eat street food in Hanoi like (and together with) the locals.
The Best Street Food in Hanoi
Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyen
14 Pho Hang Ga | Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam
Bánh cuốn is one of the city’s favorite breakfast items and essential to any list of must-try Hanoi street foods.
By itself, the pale white rice batter is silky smooth and soft but otherwise rather bland. Flavor and texture come from a filling of seasoned ground pork, mushrooms, and shallots. The rice noodle roll is served with a separate bowl of clear amber dipping sauce, nước chấm, which is essentially fish sauce.
Banh Tom Ho Tay
1 Thanh Nien, Truc B_ch, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Banh Tom is another Vietnamese dish originating from Hanoi. It’s made of battered and deep-fried sweet potato and shrimp.
The bright orange color comes from the natural flesh of the sweet potato and a bit of turmeric powder in the batter. Often served as an appetizer, Banh Tom is commonly wrapped with lettuce, herbs, and pickled vegetables and dipped in nuoc mam cham dipping sauce.
Bia Hoi Ha Noi9B TA Hien, Hanoi, Vietnam
Bia hoi is a special type of homemade beer, unpreserved, brewed daily and delivered in kegs to local businesses. Unlike canned or bottled beer, Bia hoi should be consumed the day after it leaves the factory. It’s brand-less and very cheap compared to Western-style beers.
Bia Hoi Ha Noi is a classic Vietnamese beer garden, perfect for late sunny afternoons. It’s well-shaded and has plenty of whirring fans to keep you cool.
Pho Gia Truyen
49 Bat Dan | Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam
Locals form a long queue every morning at Pho Gia Truyen, the most famous place in the old quarter for a delicious bowl of Pho Bo.
Pho Bo is arguably the most well-known of all Vietnamese soups. It was inspired by French settlers who commonly ate beef, where Vietnamese traditionally preferred pork, chicken, and fish (whilst using cattle as work animals). Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the number of soup kitchens has risen significantly and Pho Bo has become the favorite dish for breakfast and dinner in Hanoi, and throughout Vietnam.
15 Chan Cam, Hanoi, Vietnam
Located in the heart of the old quarter, Madame Hien is a stunning, century-old Hanoian villa dishing up meals that celebrate Vietnamese ancestral culture, artisanal foods, and regional knowledge accumulated over a thousand years. Try some of the best street food in Hanoi, like the crab noodle soup, banana flower salad, and famous fresh summer rolls.
Foodies will love this 4-hour Vietnamese Cooking Class that includes a chef-led tour of a bustling local market.
First trip to Hanoi? Check out the Best Travel ideas for First Timers in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Where to Find the Best Street Food in Hanoi
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About the Authors
Heike and Stefan Leistner are a German couple addicted to the Vietnamese street food in Hanoi and South East Asia. Since 2004, they’ve traveled to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and India in search of real and authentic street food. In addition to writing and photographing stories and recipes for their website, asiastreetfood, they’ve released an app, Vietnam Eat & Travel, that highlights the best sites and street food in Hanoi and throughout Vietnam.
Heike and Stefan are proud to announce the release of their book about the cuisine of South East Asia.
Updated April 1, 2018