What to Eat in Hanoi Vietnam – A Hanoi Food Guide

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What to Eat in Hanoi Vietnam – A Hanoi Food Guide


Wondering what to eat in Hanoi Vietnam? Our Hanoi food guide showcases the best food that we ate in Hanoi over five weeks in Vietnam’s chaotic capital city. Check out our favorite Hanoi restaurants, cafes, bars and street food because you won’t want to miss a thing during your visit.

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. In fact, we jokingly refer to these walkways as suggested crossings! Yes, pedestrian conviviality has never been a Hanoi strong suit.


HONK HONK, BEEP BEEP. THE TRAFFIC IN HANOI IS FOR REAL.

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 Vietnam uniquely wonderful. The other part is the food.

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.

EATING OUT IN HANOI IS NOT ONLY CHEAP BUT ALSO FUN.

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.

THE FOOD OPTIONS IN HANOI ARE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS. WE ATE THESE NEM AT BUN CHA HANG QUAT.

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.
HANOI HAS NUMEROUS MARKET WHERE SHOPPERS CAN BUY FRESH FOOD AS WELL AS SIT FOR A MEAL. THE LARGEST, CHO ĐONG XUAN, IS LOCATED IN THE CENTRAL TOURIST AREA.

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. 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.

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Hanoi Food Favorites

SEA SNAILS ARE A LOCAL FAVORITE IN HANOI. ARE YOU UP FOR A SNAIL FEAST WHEN YOU VISIT LIKE THE ONE WE ENJOYED AT OC LAN BEO HAI PHONG?

Any visitor to Hanoi will quickly find out that the number one thing to do in Vietnam’s capital city is to eat. The city has over 7.5 million residents, many of whom eat out on a daily basis. Though Hanoi food options run the gamut, most diners choose from the following classics:

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.

Pho (Noodle Soup)

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, that’s what we do whenever we’re in Hanoi. Any time we wonder what to eat in Hanoi, the answer is almost always Pho.

Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)

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 following weeks.

The lines may often be long (a good sign) compared to 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.
Quán phở Gia Truyền Bát Đàn is located at 49 Bát Đàn, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup)

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 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…

Phở Lâm is located at 7 Nam Ngư, Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam. 

Headed south? Check out our Da Nang Food Guide with the best eats in Central Vietnam from street eats to fine dining and everything in between.

Cha Ca (Grilled & Fried Fish with Rice Noodles)

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. If you haven’t tried it before, then Cha Ca may be the most unique food to try in Hanoi.

Pro Tip: If you have limited time, you can find Cha Ca in Hanoi’s Old Quarter where an entire street is dedicated to the popular dish. The most famous Cha Ca restaurant is called Cha Ca La Vọng.


Cha Ca Phan is located at 84 Trần Quốc Toản, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.
Chả Cá Lã Vọng is located at 107 Nguyen Truong To, Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Bun Cha (Grilled Pork & Noodles)

THOUGH PRICIER THAN THE AVERAGE BUN CHA STAND, BUN CHA HANG QUAT SERVES A SUPERIOR BUN CHA LUNCH.

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 these ingredients aren’t enough for you, then add fried spring rolls called Nem to the mix.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT FRESHNESS AT BUN CHA HANG QUAT WHERE EMPLOYEES GRILL PORK OVER AN OPEN FLAME IN THE COURTYARD.

Similar to Pho, you will find Bun Cha restaurants all over the city. After eating at several different Bun Cha restaurants, we consider Bun Cha Hang Quat our favorite. Though somewhat hidden in an alley, the Old Quarter restaurant does a brisk business of serving freshly made bun cha to the starving masses for just four hours a day from 10 am to 2 pm. Go early to get a good seat and beat the crowd.
NICKNAMED BUN CHA OBAMA AFTER THE FORMER US PRESIDENT ATE HERE, BUN CHA HURONG LIEN SERVES BUN CHA AND BEER TO A STEADY CROWD OF LOCAL DINERS AND GAWKING TOURISTS.

Fun Fact: Bun Cha achieved international fame when Anthony Bourdain and Barak Obama sat on little chairs to eat the noodle dish at Bún Chả Hương Liên. Though we found the food here to be above average, we were less impressed by the higher prices and surly service. Even still, it’s a fun spot to eat Bun Cha amid photos of two of Hanoi’s most acclaimed visitors.

Bun Cha Hang Quat is located at 74 Hàng Quạt, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.
Bún Chả Hương Liên is located at 24 Lê Văn Hưu, Phan Chu Trinh, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Xoi (Sticky Rice)

HANOI STICKY RICE AT XOI YEN

Sticky rice may be the ultimate Hanoi comfort food. We especially like 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 cheap bottle of beer, Hanoi sticky rice is a true guilty pleasure.

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

Bun Bo Nam Bo (Beef & Noodles)

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.

Bun-Mien Ngan (Rice Noodles with Muscovy Duck)

MUSCOVY DUCK IS A POPULAR PROTEIN IN HANOI.

For the uninitiated, Muscovy ducks are indigenous in the Americas and can be found in countries as far away as Australia and New Zealand. We don’t know why the large, meaty ducks are so popular in Vietnam, but curious diners can enjoy Muscovy duck at eateries around town in versions ranging from soups to noodle dishes.

Pick your passion. As for us, we like to eat ours with cellophane noodles at spots like Hanh Ngan De.

Hạnh Ngan Dé is located at 63 Cửa Bắc, Quán Thánh, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Banh Mi (Baguette Sandwich)

EATING A BANH MI IN HANOI IS GREAT FOR AN INEXPENSIVE SNACK; HOWEVER, YOU WILL FIND BETTER VERSIONS IN CITIES LIKE HOI AN AND SAIGON. WE SHARED THIS ONE AT BANH MI BA LAN.

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 Banh Mi greatness, we can’t neglect including the Vietnamese staple in our Hanoi eating guide.

Ironically, our favorite Banh Mi sandwiches in Hanoi were at nameless stands including the one outside our Airbnb apartment. We also enjoyed a decent Banh Mi with paté at Bánh Mì Bà though the flavor profile oddly skewed sweet over savory.

Bánh Mì̀ Bà Lan is located at 8 Chả Cá, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Pho Cuon (Rice Noodle Rolls)

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.

Phở Cuốn Hương Sơn is located at 19 Ngũ Xã, Trúc Bách , Tây Hồ, Ha Noi, Vietnam.

Pho Chien Phong (Fried Pho Noodles)

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.
Phở Cuốn Vinh Phong is located at 40 Ngũ, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Banh Cuon (Steamed Rice Rolls)

BANH CUON MAY NOT BE POPULAR OUTSIDE OF VIETNAM, BUT HOPEFULLY THAT WILL CHANGE. WE LOVE 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 at Banh Cuon Ba Hoanh. 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.

Bánh Cuốn Bà Hoành is located at 66 Tô Hiến Thành, Bùi Thị Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Ôc Len Xào Dùa (Sea Snails in Coconut Milk)

SNAILS, GLORIOUS SNAILS

Diners can be separated into two groups – those who love snails and those who don’t. We get that some people don’t feel comfortable eating the little mollusks. As for us, we love them.

In Hanoi, adventurous food travelers can eat snails bathed in coconut milk and lemongrass and then wash their hands in lemongrass-infused water. At least that’s what we did at Ốc Lan Béo Hải Phòng. See photo of our snail feast above.

We recommend eating Hanoi snails at your own risk since we can’t vouch for the cleanliness of the snails or the water where they live. Interestingly, our Vietnamese friend confided that she had never see foreigners eat local snails until she saw us suck down the little critters.

Ốc Lan Béo Hải Phòng is located at B1 Phạm Ngọc Thạch, Trung Tự, Đống Đa, Hà Nội.


Che (Sweet Dessert Soup)

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.

Visitors can sample different varieties at decades-old Che Ba Thin in the Old Quarter. Our favorite is a hot sugar cane brew with a porridge-like texture and a strong ginger taste. You can find che at many eateries in the Old Quarter as it is a popular local Hanoi dessert.

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

Worth a Splurge

THE PASTRY WORK AT MAISON MAROU IS WORTH A VISIT… OR TWO… OR THREE.

Traditional Hanoi food is as cheap as it is good, but sometimes we like to treat ourselves to something different. Plus, we occasionally like to eat in a dining room with proper chairs and air conditioning even when we’re on holiday.

Hanoi restaurant food options range from elevated Vietnamese classics to global food from around the world. If you stay in Hanoi for more than a few days, you should check out one or more of the following restaurants:

Angelina

ANGELINA SERVES THEIR LAMB RACK WITH GREEN BEANS, CHERRY TOMATOES, ROSEMARY AND GARLIC.

Located in Hanoi’s most historic hotel, Angelina is a modern restaurant and whiskey bar with an international menu that features dishes like Wagyu fillet, Scottish smoked salmon and Canadian lobster. The wine list is similarly global with bottles sourced from France, Australia and the US.

ANGELINA SURPRISED US WITH THIS CREAMY MELON DESSERT WITH VANILLA PANNACOTTA, JAPANESE MELON AND CRISPY WAFERS.

We enjoyed our meal that started with roasted king scallops and a caesar salad and continued with wagyu beef tenderloin and a lamb rack before finishing with an artfully presented pannacotta dessert. We must note that Angelina’s prices are a splurge and comparable to western restaurants. However, if you’re hankering for a steak and have the budget, Angelina is an excellent spot to indulge your craving.

Angelina is located at 56, Phố Lý Thái Tổ, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Highway4

HIGHWAY4 OFFERS A MODERN TAKE ON VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS WITH THESE CATFISH-STUFFED BEAUTIES.

Highway4 was double recommended to us, first by a friend of a friend who previously lived in Hanoi and then by a local food fanatic. With two trusted recommendations, we just had to check out this relatively fancy Old Quarter spot for a different take on Hanoi cuisine.

We relaxed during our meal while we sipped rice wine and feasted on a variety of Northern Vietnamese dishes. Though the owner originally hails from the UK, the innovative dishes are authentically Vietnam.

We especially enjoyed Highway4’s version of catfish spring rolls. This modern take on a traditional spring roll packs gently fried catfish and herbs inside a clear rice wrapper, but the real star of the dish is the flavorful wasabi soy sauce served on the side.

Highway4 has multiple locations in Hanoi. We recommend the location at 25 Bát Sứ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Pizza 4P’s

THIS SPICY SEAFOOD TOMATO PIZZA AT PIZZA 4P’S TASTES LIKE VIETNAM BUT THE CRUST IS PURE NAPLES.

Delivering Wow, Sharing Happiness

Pizza 4P’s is a Vietnam-based Japanese run Italian pizza restaurant that serves Neapolitan pizza in three Vietnamese cities including Hanoi. Neapolitan pizza in Vietnam? Yep, after eating some of the best pizza in Naples and Caiazzo, we were skeptical too – until we took our first blissful bite.

GOOD PIZZA IS A LUXURY FOOD IN HANOI. WE ATE THIS BEAUTIFUL PIE WITH BURRATA, PARMA HAM AND TOMATOES AT PIZZA 4P’S.

Beyond its impeccable service and open kitchen concept, 4P’s serves pizzas that expertly blend Neapolitan techniques with Vietnamese ingredients. Yosuke and Sanae Masuko, the pizza chain’s Japanese owners, have introduced a farm to table concept that shines brightest with their housemade burrata. But the Japanese perfectionists don’t stop there. They even make their own chili sauce.

Eating authentic Neapolitan pizza with the best Vietnamese ingredients has a cost, with a pizza at 4P’s easily costing ten times the cost of a bowl of Pho. However, when it comes to value, 4P’s delivers.

Pizza 4P’s has multiple locations in Hanoi. We recommend the Old Quarter location at Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam.

S&L’s Diner

CAN YOU EAT CHICKEN AND WAFFLES IN VIETNAM? THANKS TO S&L’S DINER, YES YOU CAN.

We don’t normally consider diner fare to be a splurge, but western food comes at a premium in Hanoi. This is a city where Vietnamese food reigns supreme, but there’s only so much Pho that a traveler can eat. If you stay in Hanoi long enough, you will eventually crave familiar foods like burgers and fries. It’s inevitable.

Owned by American expat Steven Kackerski originally from the Philadelphia area, S&L’s Diner has a menu filled with American comfort food favorites like chicken & waffles and macaroni & cheese. For the ultimate splurge, diners can wash their meals down with American-style milkshakes. The diner is open nightly until midnight, making it a great western way to start or end a night on the town in Hanoi.

S&L’s Diner is located at 22 Phố Báo Khánh, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.