Vietnom-nom: Must Eats in Hanoi and Where to Find Them

Considered as one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide, Vietnamese food has that distinct taste that stems from the use of fresh ingredients, lots of herbs and vegetables and the lack of oil. But “healthy” does not always equate to “not yummy” because Vietnamese food always makes it to best foods lists. Hence, a visit to Hanoi would not be complete without sampling as much Vietnamese food as possible.  Here is my list of must eats in Hanoi and where to find them.

1.  Pho

The most widely known Vietnamese food is the pho (pronounced as “fa”).  This noodle soup is best with beef (pho bo) and comes with bean sprouts and vegetables.  A slice of lime (or sometimes, calamansi) must be squeezed into the soup then a bit of hoisin and Sriracha sauce should be added.  This dish covers all the five fundamental taste elements of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and spicy that makes it very Vietnamese.  This soup is recommended for breakfast, particularly during the cold winter months.

Pho Bo Pho 10

Where to find it:

The Pho should be available at every turn of the corner, but try it at the Pho 10, located at 10 Ly Quoc Su St. in the Old Quarter.

2.  Banh Mi

The banh mi is composed of a baguette and whatever filling you may be feeling (corny, hehe).  The fillings may range from Vietnamese sausage, grilled pork, liver pâté, pork floss, grilled chicken, canned sardines in tomato sauce, cheese, fried eggs, tofu, etc.  Plus, vegetables such as fresh cucumber slices, cilantro and carrots usually accompany the mix.  Condiments could include chili sauce, mayonnaise and cheese.

One banh mi was enough to power me during our walking tour of Hanoi.

Banh Mi Op La, Hanoi, Vietnam

Where to find it:

The Banh Mi is available in a lot of places, but you may want to visit that lady at the Sunrise Cafe on Phu Doan St. in the Old Quarter.

3.  Goi Cuon

The goi cuon is a salad roll that is also known as “summer rolls”.  This is composed of salad greens, rice noodles, slivers of pork and shrimp, wrapped in the Vietnamese banh trang.  The banh trang is this amazing rice paper that tastes really good and is tough in that it does not disintegrate easily even when dipped in nuoc cham, a fish sauce-based condiment.

The goi cuon is best known as an appetizer but it was my dinner after our Ha Long Bay trip.

Goi Cuon Mon Ngon

Where to find it:

Mon Ngon 24 on Ly Quoc Su St. in the Old Quarter.

The old quarter is a great home base in Hanoi. Check out the Hanoi Hibiscus Hotel for your stay.

4.  Bun Cha

The bun cha is made up of grilled pork or pork patties, rice noodles, herbs and soup, served with nuoc nam (fish sauce).  This dish is usually served for lunch.

I was not able to enjoy the bun cha, but give it a try and tell me how you like it. 😉

Bun Cha Dan Kim Bun Cha

Where to find it:

The most famous bun cha of all is served at Dac Kim Bun Cha at 1 Hang Manh St. in the Old Quarter

5.  Banh Xeo

The banh xeo is a savoury fried extra-flat pancake, stuffed with slivers of pork, shrimp, diced green onion and bean sprouts.  It is served with mustard leaves, lettuce leaves, mint lives and basil leaves plus the banh trang (rice paper).  This very delicious Vietnamese food is also fun to eat because you can roll it by yourself after adding the vegetables and herbs of your desire.  Dip it into the sweet and sour fish sauce and you will be sold to Vietnamese food.

Banh Xeo Quoc An Ngon

Where to find it:

Quan An Ngon at 18 Phan Boi Chau, Cura Nam.  Best to go there after visiting the Temple of Literature in the afternoon.  Better arrive early because this place is popular amongst tourists and locals alike.

I know this list is not exhaustive when it comes to Vietnamese food, but I will be back in Vietnam in a few months so I would be able to try their other dishes.  And, more of their famous ice cream.  ^__^

Going to Hanoi? Check out our Itinerary and Budget here!

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Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.

2 Comments:

  1. This looks really good, you can still eat and be in your right weight with this tasty meals.

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