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What to Eat in Hanoi Vietnam – A Hanoi Food Guide

In Food Travel Guides, Vietnam by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch28 Comments

Wondering what to eat in Hanoi Vietnam? Our Hanoi food guide showcases the best food that we ate in Hanoi during our three weeks in Vietnam’s chaotic capital city. We arrived knowing that we would like the Pho, but it turns out that the Hanoi Vietnam food scene is so much more than soup.

Mien Tron - Soya Noodles with Muscovy Duck - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

This Mien Tron, or Soya Noodles with Muscovy Duck, is one of the many great foods in Hanoi.

Stepping into the chaotic streets of Hanoi can be scary. Wherever you are, motorbikes and cars whiz by haphazardly. There aren’t many crosswalks, and the relative few in the city are more suggestive than heeded. And let’s not even get into the hawker ladies aggressively selling their wares on shoulder poles that are also used to trap tourists. Sounds awful, right? Wrong! Hanoi’s chaos is part of what makes it uniquely wonderful. The other part is the food.

Typical Hanoi Restaurant - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Expect open-air dining at knee-high tables and plastic stools at typical Hanoi restaurants. Dress code = t-shirts and shorts.

Hanoi street food is for real and is something you must eat in Hanoi Vietnam. This is a city that takes the phrase “street food” seriously – food is literally everywhere. Each block has dozens of cafes, with diners spilling on to sidewalks littered with tiny plastic chairs representing every primary color of the rainbow and similarly sized tables. What about the prices? Street food is the answer if cheap eats Hanoi is the question.

Day or night, a stroll easily becomes a Hanoi street food tour. During the day, Old Quarter Hanoi street vendors sell fruit and sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. It’s nighttime though when these streets really come alive with the kinds of food that Hanoi residents love most including our personal favorite – meat on a stick. Long story short – there’s lots of great street food to eat in Hanoi with or without a Hanoi street food guide.

Meat on a Stick - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

The 2foodtrippers enjoy the ever-popular meat on a stick on the Hanoi streets.

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2foodtrippers Hanoi Food Guide

Finding good food in Hanoi is the opposite of a challenge. Instead, at least for visitors, the challenge is knowing what and where to eat in Hanoi Vietnam. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with our picks for the best Hanoi food. Use our Hanoi guide to find the best places to eat in Hanoi as well as a variety of yummy things to eat in Hanoi during your visit. Trust us – there’s no shortage of wonderful food to eat in Hanoi, and we’re happy to share some of the best food in Hanoi Vietnam here.

Pho (Noodle Soup)

Pho - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Pho may be the perfect soup with its combination of wide rice noodles, meat and herbs. It’s no surprise that pho is the most famous food in Hanoi.

Oh, Hanoi Pho, how do we love you? Let us count the ways. We love you for your savory broth and your slow-cooked meat, both beef and chicken. We love you for your reasonable price of around $2 US. We love you for your condiments, especially the small but potent red peppers. Most of all, we love you for your freshly made rice noodles that we always swirl on our chopsticks before slurping into our mouths. We hate to pick favorites, but we think you’re the best food to eat in Hanoi.

Pho originated in Hanoi and is arguably the national dish of Vietnam. We could eat this soup morning, noon and night. In fact, we did while in Hanoi. Any time we wondered what to eat in Hanoi, the answer was almost always Pho. Watch our Hanoi Pho Video to see us in action eating some of the best Pho in Hanoi.

Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)

Beef Pho - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Don’t be fooled by this bowl of Beef Pho. It may look simple, but it is filled with complex flavors from spices like star anise and cinnamon.

We’ve eaten Beef Pho many times before, but never like in Hanoi. We stumbled into Pho Bat Dan on our first night in town and ate there another half dozen times over the next three weeks. The lines may often be long (a good sign) compared to the other Hanoi pho shops, but the wait is well worth it when the reward is cheap bowls of soup with ultra-fresh ingredients and slow-cooked, melt-in-your-mouth slices of beef. Though super casual, Pho Bat Dan is one of the best restaurants in Hanoi.

Pho Bat Dan is located at 49 Bát Đàn, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup)

Chicken Pho - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

The broth in this Chicken Pho may be clear, but the soup’s flavors are deeply complex. We slurped and slurped until our big bowls were empty.

Tucked away on an alley near the Hanoi Hilton, Pho Lam Nam Ngu serves the kind of Chicken Pho that we could easily eat every day without getting bored. Eating here is a full-on experience starting with the women cooking the soup over coals and continuing inside the bare bones restaurant with long community tables and wooden benches. It’s the soup, though, that steals the show with its clear broth and tender chicken. Don’t even get us started on the condiments…

Pho Lam Nam Ngu is located at 7 Nam Ngư, Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam. 

Cha Ca (Grilled & Fried Fish with Rice Noodles)

Cha Ca - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Eating Cha Ca in Hanoi is an interactive experience best enjoyed with friends over a leisurely meal.

We fell in love with the Hanoi food scene while eating Cha Ca at our first lunch at non-touristy Cha Ca Phan. Cha Ca, a Northern Vietnamese specialty involves pan-fried chunks of meaty, fatty skinned fish, turmeric, dill, peanuts, shrimp paste and rice noodles. Check out our Cha Ca Hanoi Video to see what it’s like to make and eat Cha Ca. If you haven’t tried it before, then Cha Ca may be the most unique food to try in Hanoi

Cha Ca Phan is located at 20 Xóm Hạ Hồi, Hanoi, Hoàn Kiếm, Vietnam.

Xoi (Sticky Rice)

Hanoi Sticky Rice at Xoi Yen. - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Hanoi Sticky Rice at Xoi Yen

Sticky rice may be the ultimate Hanoi comfort food. We especially liked the version at popular Xoi Yen, where they flavor the glutinous rice with green mung bean paste and lots of chicken fat. Topped with meat and paired with a bottle of beer, Hanoi sticky rice is a true guilty pleasure.

Xoi Yen is located at 35B Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Bun Cha (Grilled Pork & Noodles)

Bun Cha - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Don’t miss Bun Cha, a local Hanoi creation. Our Bun Cha meal was quite a feast as pictured here.

If Pho is Hanoi’s number one dish, then Bun Cha is easily number two when it comes to being a Hanoi local food favorite. And who can blame the locals for loving this dish where grilled pork and rice noodles are the stars and fresh herbs, sliced papaya, red chili and garlic are the supporting players. If that’s not enough for you, then add fried spring rolls to the mix. Check out our Bun Cha Hanoi Video to see the full Bun Cha dining experience at Bun Cha Ba Duc.

Bun Cha Ba Đuc is located at 103 – C5 TT Giảng Võ (Trần Huy Liệu), Quận Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Bun Bo Nam Bo (Beef & Noodles)

Bun Bo Nam Bo - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Bun Bo Nam Bo may not have been created in Hanoi, but the city serves up a mighty fine version of this dish.

No worries if you don’t eat pork, head over to Bun Bo Nam Bo for the Southern Vietnamese dish of the same. Unlike Pho and Bun Cha, this dish is not a Hanoi creation, but it’s still worth eating in Hanoi at Bun Bo Nam Bo for the melange of ingredients (grilled beef, veggies, herbs, peanuts and crispy onions) artfully served together in one big bowl. When you eat Bun Bo Nam Bo, be sure to add fresh lime juice and chili sauce for maximum flavor.

Bun Bo Nam Bo is located at 89 Hàng Điếu, Cửa Đông Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Banh Mi (Baguette Sandwich)

Banh Mi - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

As in the rest of Vietnam, Banh Mi is a popular type of fast food in Hanoi.

As hard as we tried, we never found the best Banh Mi in Hanoi, though we ate several in our quest. They were all good but not great. Though our quest continues for the Banh Mi greatness, we can’t neglect including the Vietnamese staple in our Hanoi eating guide.

Banh Mi baguettes can be found throughout the city.

Pho Cuon (Rice Noodle Rolls)

Pho Cuon - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Pho Cuon is a great finger food to eat in Hanoi.

If you love rice noodles, then you will love Pho Cuon where big rice noodles are rolled around beef and green herbs to create a delightful finger food. If the delicate flavors aren’t enough for you, then ramp it up by dipping the Pho Cuon into Nuoc Cham, a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and chili. Check out our Pho Cuon in Hanoi Video to learn more about Pho Cuon and why it’s one of our favorite Hanoi foods.

Pho Cuon Huong Sơn is located at 19 Ngũ Xã, Trúc Bách , Tây Hồ, Ha Noi, Vietnam.

Pho Chien Phong (Fried Pho Noodles)

Pho Chien Phong - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Pho Chien Phong are technically fried pho squares with beef gravy and vegetables, but we prefer to call them pillows of yumminess.

We discovered Pho Chien Phong in the Truc Bach neighborhood, the same neighborhood where we ate Pho Cuon. In this dish, the pho noodles are cut into squares, deep fried and then topped with beef and sautéed green vegetables. Considering that we previously dubbed these squares as “little pillows of yumminess”, it’s fair to say that we highly recommend this dish.

Pho Cuon Vin Phong is located at 40 Ngũ, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Nem Ca Xa Lo4 (Catfish Spring Rolls)

Highway4 Catfish Spring Rolls - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Highway4 offers a modern take on Vietnamese spring rolls with these catfish beauties.

Highway4 was double recommended to us, first by a friend of a friend who previously lived in Hanoi and then by our local fixer, so it was a no-brainer for us to check out this relatively fancy Old Quarter spot for a different take on Hanoi cuisine. As we sipped on rice wine and feasted on a variety of Northern Vietnamese dishes, we especially enjoyed the catfish spring rolls. This modern take on a traditional spring roll has gently fried catfish and herbs inside a clear rice wrapper, but the real star of the dish may be the wasabi soy sauce served on the side.

Highway4 is located at 25 Bát Sứ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Banh Cuon (Steamed Rice Rolls)

Banh Cuon - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Banh Cuon may not be popular outside of Vietnam, but hopefully that will change. We loved it!

When we think about our time in Hanoi, a key memory will likely be sitting on small plastic chairs and eating Banh Cuon for the first time. We had never eaten this dish before, and we immediately fell in love with the big pieces of fermented rice noodles served with fresh herbs and bowls of pork, mushroom and minced shallots. Our love for Banh Cuon did not fade when we later heard a rumor that the dipping sauce may have been flavored with ca cuona, the essence of a giant water bug. If the rumor is true, then we got some extra protein.

Buon Quon ba Hoanh is located at 66 Tô Hiến Thành, Bùi Thị Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Che (Sweet Dessert Soup)

Che - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

This bowl of Che was served hot and with plenty of ginger.

Che is a Vietnamese dessert that we had not tried prior to our Hanoi visit, and we were unclear what it was until we tasted the sweet dish in Hanoi. Che can be either hot or cold, and it can have a wide range of ingredients like mung beans, red beans, fruit and tapioca beads. We sampled a couple of varieties at decades old Che Ba Thin in the Old Quarter, but our favorite was this hot sugar cane brew with a porridge-like texture and a strong ginger taste.

Che Ba Thin is located at 1 Bat Dan and Hang Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Drinks

Hanoi Drinks - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Hanoi is a city where beer and soda peacefully co-exist.

Drinks are a very important part of life in Hanoi since it’s important to stay hydrated in the hot climate. Our drinks of choice skewed toward the local Hanoi beer (Bia Ha Noi) and an old standby (Coca Cola). Sometimes, though, we wanted something different to drink in Hanoi. When we did, here’s what we drank.

Tra Sua (Milk Tea)

Truang Xuan Teahouse - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Truang Xuan Teahouse, a traditional establishment in the heart of the city, offers a respite from the urban hustle bustle.

It turns out that milk tea doesn’t actually have any milk in it, at least not at Truang Xuan Teahouse. We enjoyed a pleasant break here after touring the Temple of Literature. Like most drinks in Vietnam, milk tea is sweetened. Other tea options at the chill teahouse include jasmine, lotus and ginger.

Truang Xuan Teahouse is located at Ngô Tất Tố, Dong Da, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Ca Phe (Coffee)

Cafe Pho Co - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Cafe Pho Co serves its coffee with a view. Make sure you know the address because this is a hidden cafe.

We always seek out coffee shops when we travel, both for the caffeinated elixir as well as for workspaces with wi-fi. Though we weren’t sure what to expect in Hanoi in this regard, we found a thriving coffee scene with a wide range of coffee shops serving both traditional Vietnamese coffee drinks with sweetened condensed milk and western coffee drinks with espresso and steamed fresh milk. Exploring the Hanoi coffee shops is fun. Some cafes are hidden, some double as art galleries and others serve their coffee with a view. Our favorites are listed here.

Cafe Pho Co is located at 11 hang trong ha noi, 11 Hàng Gai, Hàng Trống, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Manzi is located at 14 Phan Huy Ích, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Tranquil Coffee and Books is located at Cửa Đông Hoàn Kiếm Vietnam, 5 Nguyễn Quang Bích, Cửa Đông, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Xofa Cafe is located at 14, Tống Duy Tân, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Ca Phe Trung (Egg Coffee)

Egg Coffee - What to Eat in Hanoi - A Hanoi Food Guide

Part coffee and part dessert, the Egg Coffee at Hanoi’s Cafe Giang is an addictive liquid treat.

Of all things we drank in Hanoi, egg coffee may be our very favorite. At Cafe Giang, second generation owner Tri Hoa Nguyen makes the decadent beverage by adding a sweet topping of whisked chicken egg yolk, Vietnamese powder, sweetened condensed milk, butter and cheese over a base of strong coffee. Is it a coffee or is it a dessert? The answer is “yes” to that question, but the bigger question is when can we drink it again. Check out our Egg Coffee Hanoi Video to find out more about this unique Hanoi coffee dessert.

Cafe Giang is located at 39B Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.


Hungry for more Vietnamese food? Be sure to check out our Food Guides for Central Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City


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We thank Mai Nguyen from the Hanoi food blog Tho Loves Food. Our visit to Hanoi would not have been the same without her friendship and guidance.

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Comments

  1. So. Many. Delicious. items in this post! The Pho and noodle dishes look amazing. Sorry to hear you haven’t had a mind-blowingly good banh mi yet. Egg coffee? wow. Oh, and I simply love the cups the tra sua is served in. Lovely!

  2. Oh my gosh, I wish I could jump on a plane right now and to Hanoi to eat everything! I love traveling and exploring through the local cuisine. 🙂

  3. I remember eating in Hanoi on a trip about 8 years ago, this post brings back memories. I would be happy to go back there just for the food!

  4. I just recently tried Vietnamese food, though not in Vietnam. But the restaurant owners are from Vietnam and my Vietnamese friend tells me it is quite authentic. It’s delicious! I’m totally drooling over everything in this post.

  5. Vietnamese food is one of my favorites, good guide on what to look for! Haven’t had much beyond pho, spring rolls and Banh mi. A friend recently went there and he praised the coffee endlessly!

  6. I love pho, and I can’t wait to actually try it in Vietnam one day. Your pictures and descriptions make everything look/sound amazing. I haven’t really tried much Vietnamese food except pho and maybe seaweed.. But all of these dishes look yummy!

  7. I love Vietnamese food but have not tasted many of these dishes. The Pho Chien Phong looks interesting and I would love to try the egg coffee!

  8. As someone who travels for food, I have to say this looks like an amazing destination to just eat! The streets remind me of Thailand, I felt like we were risking our lives every time we had to cross. The egg coffee sounds amazing!

  9. Ok you two, who doesn’t love meat on a stick?! Let’s face it! Love your photos and it’s all making my mouth water.

  10. I think I need to stop reading your blog before breakfast! Now I am starving — everything looks so good.

  11. I’d love to go to Vietnam and one of the many reasons is food: I tried it in Europe many times and I feel it’s high time I try the real thing! I am very tempted by that coffee: it seems to have the texture of Italian zabajone (not sure of the word in English?) with an oriental caffeinated twist – and your faces in the video while tasting it are priceless 🙂

    1. Author

      We’ve never thought of it in terms of a zabaglione but the comparison is apt. In a way, you could say that egg coffee is like a drinkable tiramisu!

  12. The food in Hanoi sounds incredible! While I am not as adventurous an eater as my partner (she would die for the pho!), I do like to try new things when traveling. Thanks for the useful tips!

  13. All beautiful dishes guys! We visited Hanoi for 2 weeks a while back. Prepare for sitting in small kid’s plastic chairs – it seems to my long Western legs LOL – hunching over to enjoy some of the world’s finest food. We loved Morning Glory. Simple veggie dish. Rocked around the clock. Unfortunately many Vietnamese are against – it seems – placing ice in our beloved banana shakes. Why of why? hahaha…..thanks guys for sharing!

  14. Vietnamese food is one of my favorites. All these foods in Hanoi are going on my list of foods to try when I finally get to visit Vietnam. Everything looks so delicious!

  15. Sounds delicious! I admit that I don’t remember so much of the food I ate in Northern Vietnam. Except that I often had to share the food of the other people in the restaurants as they always invited me. And they were always eating dog 🙁
    In the tribal markets, I almost always eat their local version of pho, using different kind of meat. Delicious! And when I was on Quan Lan Island, the owner of the guesthouse always offered me some delicious seafood she prepared by herself.

  16. Wow, just wow.

    This has made me want to jump on a plane straight back to Vietnam! I cannot get enough of Banh Mi rolls back in Australia either 🙂

    1. Author

      Make sure you go to Hoi An when you do. The Banh Mi’s are out of this world there!

  17. Thanks for sharing the Guide i am really thankful to you. M right now in Hanoi and i am a great food lover. The pictures in the post are making my mouth watering.

    1. Author

      Thanks for visiting our site. We hope you enjoy the food in Hanoi as much as we did.

  18. Just discovered your blog and bookmarking this for our trip to Hanoi in a few months. Thank you!! Looks fantastic and I can’t wait for the rice noodles you list!

    1. Author

      You will surely have a wonderful time. Let us know if you have any questions as you plan your trip. And, of course, you will love the rice noodles!

    1. Author

      Hanoi is a much larger city than people realize. We hope our guide provides you with plenty of ideas of where to eat among the delicious chaos. Have a great trip!

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