When visiting Vietnam, you’d be right to get excited about the food. The country is home to several distinct regional cuisines with different dishes and flavours. When it comes to Hanoi, our city is simply packed with great places to eat.
The challenge for travellers isn’t finding good food – it’s deciding where to go first. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the 5 local food spots you don’t want to miss on your next trip. Chopsticks at the ready…
1. PHO GIA TRUYEN
Pho is a dish you simply must try in Hanoi – it originated right here in the city and is arguably the national dish of Vietnam. This flavourful soup contains delicious broth, noodles and primarily either beef or chicken. It’s usually served at breakfast but can be enjoyed anytime (we could eat it morning, noon and night!).
This local favourite restaurant has been serving it’s famous pho bo for over 60 years. Prepare to queue – lines of customers can often be found here (always a good sign, we think!). To eat it the correct way, you’re going to want chopsticks in your right hand and a soup spoon in your left – sip the broth first, then tackle the noodles and meat. Feel free to raise the bowl to your lips to finish it off.
Location: 49 Bat Dan
2. BUN CHA
Bun cha is one of Hanoi’s most famous dishes – especially after President Barack Obama dined out on it alongside Anthony Bourdain when he visited Hanoi for his Parts Unknown series.
Bun Cha 34 is a small, very budget-friendly eatery that is loved by the locals. Their bun cha consists of perfectly chargrilled pork in nuoc cham, a traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce made of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar & water. This is served alongside vermicelli noodles, lettuce and herbs and optional, but highly recommended, deep fried nem (seafood spring rolls). You can dip those ingredients in the sauce and mix with the meat for a flavour overload.
It’s definitely some of the best bun cha in the city, with past diners describing the food as “a must eat in Hanoi” and “one of the best meals of our entire trip”.
Location: 34 Hang Than Ba Dinh
3. BUN BO NAM BO
This is another place which specialises in just one dish and its namesake: bun bo nam bo.
This Southern Vietnamese speciality is a mixture of beef, vermicelli noodles, lettuce, cucumber, shallots, bean sprouts, cilantro and chopped peanuts. The beef itself is soaked in sugar, fish sauce and seasoning and cooked upon order to keep its tenderness. Be sure to add fresh lime juice and chili sauce to max out the flavour!
The restaurant itself super simple and authentic – it’s often full of locals stopping by for a quick bowl at lunch or dinner. Grab a small stool at one of the plastic tables, order a couple of beers and watch the world go by as you dig in.
Location: 67 Hoang Dieu St.
4. BANH MI MINH NHAT
Another famous street food you don’t want to miss is the banh mi – a Vietnamese sandwich the fuses Asian and French cuisines. Essentially, it’s a baguette stuffed full of delicious ingredients including barbequed pork, pate, fried egg and lots of fresh vegetables like cucumber and daikon.
You can find spots selling these sandwiches on most corners in Hanoi, but our favourite is Banh Mi Minh Nhat. This spot gained a huge reputation after owner Minh Nhat won Vietnamese MasterChef back in 2014. Another bonus about this place is the location – it’s just opposite the Hoan Kiem Lake so you can enjoy your lunch with one of the best views in the city.
Location:Hoan Kiem Lake
5. JALUS VEGAN KITCHEN
For those that don’t eat meat, don’t worry – in Hanoi, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options for you to try out. One of these includes Jalus Vegan Kitchen which is a local restaurant dedicated to healthy and organic plant based dishes.
Located close by here in the Old Quarter, Jalus serves a mixture of Vietnamese and European meals and is super popular with travellers and locals alike. From the “Lady In Saffron” stew to the spicy potato curry, their dishes are delicious with the place dubbed as a ‘vegan gem’. It’s also really affordable – bonus!
Location: Old Quarter
Feeling hungry? Yep, we are too… Book a stay with us and let’s go out on a foodventure.