Hanoi Breakfast - an essential part of the Vietnamese cuisine

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N o matter how busy and modernized Hanoi has become, the Hanoi food and the traditional breakfast habit of the Hanoians have been well preserved. Their breakfast menu is quite diversified with dried food, including rice, bread or pastries, and many different types of noodles and noodle soup. The Hanoians make their breakfast at home or go to a small restaurant on the street - some prefer to buy the food on the street and eat it at home.

As the Hanoi people go to work or school early in the morning, the streets here are already crowded early in the morning with small eateries lining up and plastic stools occupied by hurried eaters. Most popular and crowded are ‘pho’ and other Vietnamese noodles restaurants, including snail noodle soup, crab noodle soup, noodle soup with assorted toppings, eel noodle soup, fish noodle soup, etc, which are the distinct traditional dishes of Hanoi and Vietnamese street food. These meals are light enough for the summer and hot enough to keep you warm in the winter.

People who want a heavier meal can go for sticky rice or a Vietnamese sandwich. There is a varied choice of toppings or side dishes to go with them – different kinds of Vietnamese sausages, Vietnamese pate, fried eggs, shredded pork, butter, sauces, fried spring onions… Fresh rolls, fried rice or fried noodles are also among the favorite breakfast dishes.

The Hanoi people prefer to eat their breakfast and sometimes other meals at street restaurants and the street vendors’ than classy, air-con restaurants. Most of them say traditional food tastes best in the street – the expensive restaurants only copy it in a clumsy way. That is why Vietnamese street food is popular not only among Vietnamese people but also foreign tourists.

To a real Hanoian, a decent breakfast has to be followed by a cup of Vietnamese coffee or bitter tea in one of the tiny, laid-back places in the Old Quarter where they get updated on daily news or get their shoes shined. Only after then does a new day really begin.