My latest trip to Hanoi had been a fantastic experience. Probably because it was my first time in Vietnam. There were so many new things to discover & learn about as well as new eating places to explore and new & unfamiliar food to try.
Vietnamese food has always been one of my favourite cuisines and this Hanoi eat-venture had really given me a completely new level of understanding/appreciating what the essence of the Vietnamese food culture was about. Truly inspiring. I have so many ideas running in my head now, that I’m going to try recreating these dishes in my kitchen and I will of course share the recipes with all of you later on.
My Hanoi travel series had stretched well over 2 months’ worth of blog posts. And I thought it would be helpful to do a recap on all the drool-worthy eats I had while in Hanoi as well as the best places that serve up these dishes. For those of you who are considering a holiday in Hanoi, read on so you can start planning your food-hopping adventure. 😉
1. Bun Bo Nam Bo
A humble-looking bowl of beef vermicelli salad which was one of the best dishes I had in Hanoi. The winning factor was the perfect balance of flavours in that delicious nuoc cham dressing (fish sauce based). Not forgetting a generous amount of beef too.
Recommended place: Bun Bo Nam Bo @ 67 Hang Dieu
2. Banh Mi
No visit to Vietnam is complete without having a banh mi, a fusion baguette sandwich that originated since the French colonialism days. You can enjoy the banh mi anytime because it’s so readily available and the best part is, it is very cheap & good.
Recommended place: Banh Mi 25 @ 25 Hang Ca
3. Chao Suon Sun
This ultra smooth porridge that was cooked in a pork rib & cartilage broth and topped with crispy, chunky fried dough fritters and moreish pork floss was simply spectacular. It was so delicious & comforting. Definitely the best porridge I ever had.
Recommended place: Chao Suon Sun (roadside stall) @ junction of Ly Quoc Su & Ngo Huyen
4. Pho Chien Phong
This dish really brought pho noodles to a whole new level as we could enjoy them in the form of fried ‘pillow cakes’ that came with sliced beef & vegetables in a savoury sauce. Incredibly tasty. Truly mind blowing.
Recommended place: Pho Cuon Hung Ben @ 26-35 Nguyen Khac Hieu
5. Ice Cream
Looked like the regular scooped ice cream on cone but the recipe here was somewhat different. Texture was more icy and it wasn’t very sweet or cloying. The cone reminded me of the egg rolls we’d eat during CNY. No wonder the locals love this so much.
Recommended place: Kem Trang Tien @ 35 Trang Tien
6. Bun Cha
Initially I thought the bun cha from Bun Cha Huong Lien might be overrated with all that media hype last year but after trying it myself, I must say it was absolutely legit (BEST one I had in Hanoi). Now I know why Anthony Bourdain had brought Barack Obama here.
Recommended place: Bun Cha Huong Lien @ 24 Le Van Huu
7. Nom Thit Bo Kho
Nom Thit Bo Kho or ‘dried beef salad’ consists of green papaya, assorted herbs (mint leaves, coriander, etc), sliced beef, dried beef and chopped roasted peanuts in a fish sauce dressing. It’s the perfect salad for the carnivorous.
Recommended place: Long Vi Dung – Nom Thit Bo Kho @ 23 Ho Hoan Kiem
8. Banh Xeo
The banh xeo or rice flour pancakes come with different savoury fillings that include chicken, beef or shrimps. They can be rolled or wrapped up in rice paper wraps and then eaten like spring rolls dipped in fish sauce. Great combination of textures & flavours.
Recommended place to eat: Banh Xeo Zon @ 25 Lo Su
9. Egg Coffee
The original creator of egg coffee had brought coffee drinking to a whole new level. This is more than just coffee, or rather, it is a dessert in a cup that tasted similar to a tiramisu. Rich, creamy and delicious. A must try.
Recommended place: Cafe Giang @ 39 Nguyen Huu Huan
Xoi is a glutinous rice dish that comes with various toppings of your choice. It’s a unique breakfast dish and also a very scrumptious one which kinda reminds me of a deconstructed bak chang.
Recommended place: Xoi Yen @ 35B Nguyen Huu Huan
11. Doner Kebab
The banh mi may be the epitome of Vietnamese street food but this unrivalled Doner Kebab from Banh My Duc Long Doner Kebab is just as divine. Massive portions at very affordable prices. There’s no reason not to like.
Recommended place: Banh My Duc Long Doner Kebab @ 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen
12. Banh Cuon
A different version of banh cuon that originated from Phu Ly, the capital city of Ha Nam province in northern Vietnam. Instead of being rolled up, this was more like dry rice noodles paired with grilled pork and fried shallots. Simply delish.
Recommended place to eat: Banh Cuon Phu Ly @ 14 Cua Bac
13. Com Suon Nuong
Com Suon Nuong is Vietnamese pork chop rice. The smoky flavour of the grilled pork was just incredible. A savoury sauce was doused over the rice so this entire plate was packed full of flavour.
Recommended place: Com Suon Nuong @ 73 Quan Thanh
Many would not disagree if we are to say pho is the national food of Vietnam. You can find pho almost on every street in Hanoi. Light, flavoursome broth with tender beef slices. A very comforting meal to have anytime.
Recommended place: Pho Bac Hai @ 22 Hang Bo
15. Bia Hoi
Bia Hoi is a type of draft beer that has no added preservatives. It is freshly brewed on a daily basis and then delivered to beer joints every day. Price of bia hoi can start from as low as 5,000VND (SGD0.30) per glass – super cheap.
Recommended place: Bia Lan Chin @ 22 Hang Tre
16. Cha Ca
I’ve never eaten so much dill in my whole life! The combination of herbs with turmeric-flavoured fish is not just unique but delicious too. This dish is a must try when you’re in Hanoi – it’s so good, a street is actually named after it.
Recommended place: Cha Ca Thang Long @ 21 Duong Thanh
17. Kem Caramen
Kem Caramen (or better known as crème caramel) has always been a very popular dessert in Vietnam because of French influences in the past. We tried and simply fell in love with that nice eggy pudding with a perfectly balanced caramel.
Recommended place: Kem Caramen Duong Hoa @ 29 Hang Than
18. Crispy Fried Eel
Never been a big fan of eel but the stir-fried glass noodles with crispy fried eel at Mien Luon Dong Thinh was pretty good especially with a good squeeze of lime. It was like a Vietnamese version of Sin Chew Bee Hoon.
Recommended place: Mien Luon Dong Thinh @ 87 Hang Dieu
S’Patisserie, located near the southern end of Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter, serves up delicious cakes coupled with great atmosphere and impeccable service. Also, check out South Korean bakery, Tous Les Jours at Vincom Mega Mall Royal City – their Asian-French pastries and breads are delicious beyond words.
Recommended places: S’Patisserie @ 17-19 Hang Khay, Tous Les Jours Bakery @ Vincom Mega Mall Royal City
Yenyen Bakery is a humble shop in Ba Dinh district that sells tasty French style breads and pastries at reasonable prices. The Almond Twist (pictured) is a must try! Also, check out King Roti at 34 Hang Gai, that specialises in Mexican Coffee Buns – rich, salty and fragrant!
21. Che Xoai & Thach Rau Cau Dua
The Che Xoai (mango dessert soup) and Thach Rau Cau Dua (coconut jelly) from Minci were pretty amazing. Need a dessert to end your day on a sweet note? You can’t miss this dessert house that also offers a wide selection of other sweet treats.
Recommended place: Minci Che Xoai @ 2 Nguyen Truong To
22. Bit Tet
The Bit Tet is a unique example of Vietnamese-style Western food i.e. steak. It is served with fresh baguette so you can use it to mop up all that delicious gravy and runny egg yolks. Worth a try if you’re looking for something beyond the regular Vietnamese fare.
Recommended place: Banh My Pho Co @ 38 Dinh Liet