Best Food in Hanoi: Where and What to Eat in Hanoi Vietnam

If you are a foodie travelling to Hanoi, then you are in luck! Northern Vietnamese cuisine is exceptional! The best Hanoi food includes regular staples like vegetables, herbs, rice and meat. And when you combine fish sauce, soy sauce, shrimp paste, kumquat, and garlic, you get a sophisticated flavour profile that you can’t taste anywhere else.

Eating in Hanoi is very different from many cultures around the world. The best places to eat in Hanoi are the little mom-and-pop shops and street food vendors who only come out when the stores are closed. Typically they have little stools and tables inside a shop or on the sidewalk. And they only sell one specialty.

I’ve been to Hanoi three times and spent over a month during my last trip. I ate as much as I could to put together a list of the best food in Hanoi for anyone visiting the city for the first time. And even if you have been to Hanoi, hopefully, the list can inspire you to try some old favourites or something entirely new.

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Before you dive into Hanoi food culture

Before trying some of the famous food in Hanoi, check out these tips for eating in Hanoi:

  • Eating in Hanoi is very affordable, especially if you are eating street food. Meals can be as cheap as 25k VND ($1USD).
  • Many local shops and street food vendors have little stools for you to sit and eat. That’s how the locals do it.
  • Most restaurants in Hanoi accept cash only – many small shops and food stalls on the street offer cheap meals, and cash is the only form of payment.
  • Some high-end restaurants and bars will accept credit cards.
  • Check the hours of operation. Some Hanoi restaurants are open for breakfast and/or dinner and some are open throughout the day.
  • Download Google Translate, an app that can translate Vietnamese to English. Some restaurants in Hanoi have Vietnamese-only menus, but some have English menus. 
  • Tipping is not required in Vietnam.

Best Food in Hanoi: Where and What to Eat in Hanoi

In this section, I put together a summary of the best food to try in Hanoi. This is a quick guide for you when searching for what to eat in Hanoi.

And when you scroll down, I include a more extended explanation for each Hanoi food and where you can find the local food. I included the hours of operation and Google Maps links to each Hanoi restaurant and eatery so you can easily find them.

Here is a quick summary of all the food you should try in Hanoi:

Hanoi Famous Food

  1. Bun Cha – grilled pork with vermicelli noodles
  2. Bun Rieu Cua – crab vermicelli noodle soup
  3. Bun Oc – snail vermicelli noodle soup
  4. Cha Ca – grilled turmeric fish with dill and spring onion

Food originated around Hanoi

  1. Bun Dau Met and Bun Dau Mam Tom – bean curd vermicelli with fish sauce or fermented shrimp paste
  2. Mi Van Than Hanoi-style wonton noodles
  3. Bun Moc – Hanoi pork meatball vermicelli noodle soup
  4. Bun Ca – Hanoi fish vermicelli noodles
  5. Pho Cuon – pho rolls
  6. Pho Chien Phong – fried pho noodles

Breakfast in Hanoi

  1. Pho Bo – Hanoi beef noodle soup
  2. Bun Thang – Hanoi chicken noodle soup
  3. Banh Cuon – steamed rice flour pancakes
  4. Banh Mi – Hanoi Vietnamese sandwich
  5. Xoi Xeo – turmeric sticky rice
  6. Chao – Vietnamese rice porridge

Hanoi Street Food

  1. Oc Luoc – Vietnamese boiled snails with lemongrass
  2. Nem Chua Ran – fried fermented pork sausage
  3. Banh Tom – Vietnamese shrimp cake
  4. Nom Thit Bo Kho – dried beef salad

Drinks in Hanoi

  1. Ca Phe Trung – Vietnamese egg coffee
  2. Pho Cocktail – a cocktail inspired by the classic Vietnamese dish “pho”

Hanoi Desserts

  1. Che – Vietnamese sweet soup

Hanoi Famous Food

1. Bun Cha 

What is Bun Cha: grilled pork with a plate of vermicelli noodles. It is eaten with fresh herbs and a fish sauce-based dipping sauce. This dish is a local Hanoi specialty, and it typically comes with a side order of Nem Cua Be (crab spring roll).

Best places to eat Bun Cha in Hanoi:

  1. Bún Chả Hương Liên (8am-8:30pm) – the bun cha restaurant was made famous by a visit from former U.S. President Barack Obama and renowned chef Anthony Bourdain in 2016. I think it is the tastiest bun cha in Hanoi, and not only because it is a Michelin-recommended restaurant. Oh ya, order the Obama combo, which includes grilled pork, noodles, spring roll and a Hanoi beer.
  2. Bun Cha Dac Kim (9am-9pm) – try the Michelin-level bun cha and spring rolls. I’ve been many times, and it’s always been good.
  3. Ô Bún Chả – 46 Nguyễn Hữu Huân (6am-11pm) – the bun cha is pretty good, but the view from the second level is better.

2. Bun Rieu Cua 

What is Bun Rieu Cua: a traditional Vietnamese soup noodle made with minced freshwater crab meat, fried tofu, rice noodles, and a clear tomato-based broth. This local specialty is originally from Northern Vietnam and is excellent for breakfast and lunch.

Best restaurants in Hanoi for Bun Rieu Cua:

  1. Bún Riêu Tóp Mỡ Mọc Giòn Cô Hương Béo (7am-11:30pm) – this place doesn’t have the crab option, so I chose the traditional bowl that comes with meatball, beef, pork sausage and tofu.
  2. Bún riêu Hàng Lược (6-10am) – walk through the narrow walkway to the back and order a crab noodle soup for breakfast.
  3. Bún riêu cua vỉa hè 75 Hàng Bông (6am-9pm) – slurp down a bowl of carb noodle soup in the little alley.

3. Bun Oc

What is Bun Oc: made with freshwater snails, fried tofu and rice vermicelli noodles in a clear tomato-based broth. Then add fresh herbs, shrimp paste and lime for flavour. This is an excellent summer dish and a great breakfast, lunch and dinner option.

Best places to eat Bun Oc in Hanoi:

  1. Bún Ốc Cô Thêm (7am-10:30pm) – try a bowl of snail vermicelli soup for brekkie at this local street food stall.
  2. Quan An Ngon (6:30am-10:30pm) – the Michelin restaurant has all types of Vietnamese food (every dish mentioned in this post). I ordered bun oc, and it was tasty!

4. Cha Ca

What is Cha Ca: boneless pieces of Hemibagrus (Ca Lang) fish are seasoned with turmeric and other ingredients and grilled over hot charcoal. Then the fish is prepared tableside along with dill and green spring onion. It is best eaten with vermicelli noodles, coriander, mint, roasted peanuts and a shrimp paste or fish sauce. This is a unique food in Hanoi; the city even has a street named after it.

Best restaurants to eat Cha Ca in Hanoi:

  1. Chả Cá Thăng Long (10:30am-9pm) – the most popular place to eat cha ca and also a Michelin restaurant. A set menu includes one serving of fish, two fish spring rolls, lots of dill and green onion, vermicelli noodles, herbs and dipping sauces.

Food originated around Hanoi

1. Bun Dau Met and Bun Dau Mam Tom

What is Bun Dau Met: a platter of fried crispy tofu, cucumbers, herbs, and rice noodles cubes. Sometimes it includes slices of boiled pork, fried meat patty and fried intestines. Dip everything in fish sauce and enjoy.

What is Bun Dau Mam Tom: same as above but instead of fish sauce, you dip all the food in Mam Tom (fermented shrimp paste).

Best places to eat Bun Dau Mam Tom in Hanoi:

  1. Quán Bún Đậu Gốc Đa (7:30am-11pm) – there are only three types of beancurd vermicelli with fish sauce to choose from: small, medium and large.
  2. Bún Đậu Mẹt Ngõ 23 (11am-3pm) – they serve beancurd vermicelli with fermented shrimp paste and have really good Google reviews.

2. Mi Van Than

What is Mi Van Than: Hanoi’s version of the wonton noodles has many ingredients. It starts with a bowl of egg noodles (dry or with soup), then add a large piece of fried wonton, boiled wonton dumplings, roasted pork, pork liver, egg, shrimp, mushroom, and vegetables to the bowl. Finally, sprinkle chives and fried garlic for extra flavours.

Best places to eat Mi Van Than in Hanoi:

  1. Lan Mỳ – Mỳ Vằn Thắn (6-10:30am & 5-10pm) – really good wonton noodles near Truc Bach Lake. Choose either dry or soup noodles. There’s no menu, so show them a photo from Google Maps when you order.
  2. Mỳ Vằn Thắn – Sủi Cảo – Thành Trung (6:30am-9pm) – tasty wonton noodle shop that suddenly disappeared from Google Maps. I was just there this week and it is still there so I tagged a location at that corner. English menu available.

3. Bun Moc

What is Bun Moc: the noodle soup starts with a tasty broth made with shiitake mushrooms, pork ribs, and bones. Then add tender meatballs (minced pork, pork paste, shiitake mushroom and wood ear mushroom), vermicelli noodles and cilantro. Add a squeeze of kumquat (similar to lime) and chilli sauce for taste. Option: order quay (deep-fried snack dough) to dunk in the soup.

Best restaurants in Hanoi for Bun Moc:

  1. Bún mọc (7am-1:30pm) – this small restaurant only serves pork meatball noodle soup for breakfast and lunch.
  2. Bún Mọc Cổng Sắt (5:30-10:45am) – eat bun moc for breakfast with the locals at this busy sidewalk food joint.

4. Bun Ca

What is Bun Ca: Hanoi’s fish noodles have crispy deep-fried fish fillets (tilapia or catfish), vegetables, beansprouts and vermicelli noodles. The broth is lightly sweet and sour with the flavours of tomato, dill, and wine vinegar. Order a bowl with or without soup.

Best places to eat Bun Ca in Hanoi:

  1. Bún Cá Sâm Cây Si (7am-5pm) – everyone ordered the fish noodles with soup, but I really wanted the dry noodles. It comes with a small bowl of soup, too – then I understood why everyone wanted a bigger bowl of soup. It tastes light and fresh. It’s not something I’ve ever had before.

5 & 6. Pho Cuon and Pho Chien Phong

What is Pho Cuon: pho rolls are a variation of the Vietnamese noodle soup “pho.” Marinated beef, coriander, and lettuce are wrapped in wet rice paper. Dunk the rolled pho in a dipping sauce made with fish sauce, minced garlic, pickled carrots and green papaya. It is a popular summer snack and appetizer in Hanoi. A full order has 10 rolls, and a half order has 5.

What is Pho Chien Phong: pho noodles are cut into square shapes and deep-fried until golden. Then stir fry marinated beef, leafy green vegetables and tomato. Pour the saucy mixture over the deep-fried pho noodles, and the result is another wonderful variation of the traditional pho.

Best restaurants to eat Pho Cuon and Pho Chieng Phong in Hanoi:

  1. Phở Cuốn 31 (9am-10:30pm) – I tried both pho cuon and pho chien phong here. Get a half order of pho cuon (five rolls) if you want it as an appetizer.
  2. Phở Cuốn Chinh Thắng (10am-9pm) – another restaurant in the Truc Bach area with these two dishes and other pho items on the menu.
  3. Phở Cuốn Hương Mai (9am-11pm) – a chain restaurant with several locations across Hanoi. Tried pho cuon, pho chien phong and other items on the menu.

Breakfast in Hanoi

1. Pho Bo

What is Pho Bo: the classic Vietnamese beef noodle soup has tender pieces of beef, rice noodles and flavourful beef broth. But in Hanoi, the beef noodle soup is garnished with green onions only. Eat it with a fried dough or by itself.

Best restaurants in Hanoi for Pho Bo:

  1. Phở Bò Khôi Hói (6am-9pm) – they serve different cuts of beef with noodles. English menu available.
  2. Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su (6am-10pm) – the touristy Michelin restaurant serves pho bo and other items. English menu available.
  3. Phở Tư Lùn Ấu Triệu (6:30-10am) – the Michelin pho restaurant is only open for breakfast. If you like green onion in your pho bo, then you must try this.
  4. Phở Thìn Bờ Hồ (6am-2pm; 5:30-10pm) – several pho noodle soups to choose from. But I ordered their stir-fry pho noodle, which is so different and yet so tasty.

2. Bun Thang 

What is Bun Thang: the Vietnamese chicken noodle soup has shredded chicken, omelette strips, a few slices of Vietnamese ham, mushrooms, beansprouts, coriander and vermicelli noodles in a clear chicken broth. Try it on its own, or eat it with fried dough.

Best places to eat Bun Thang in Hanoi:

  1. Bún Thang Thanh Thanh gia truyền (7am-2pm) – hidden in a small alley, this restaurant serves bun thang and other chicken noodle and rice dishes for breakfast and lunch. English menu available.
  2. Bún Thang Lan Lùn (6-11pm) – they are only open in the evening, and you can get other chicken noodle dishes.

3. Banh Cuon

What is Banh Cuon: the steamed rice flour pancake is made with a thin sheet of fermented rice batter filled with seasoned ground meat and minced wood ear mushrooms. The dish typically includes cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage) and is eaten with fresh herbs and a dipping sauce made with fish sauce.

Best places to eat Banh Cuon in Hanoi:

  1. Bánh Cuốn Bà Xuân (6:30-11:30am & 3:30-11:30pm) – the Michelin banh cuon restaurant does not have a menu. Just ask for one order, and you will a plate of banh cuon and sausage (like the photo below).
  2. Bánh Cuốn Quang An (4:30-10pm) – I like this place because they have three kinds of banh cuon – pork, chicken and shrimp. And the cook is nice and friendly.
  3. Bánh Cuốn Bà Hoành (6am-8pm) – there are several banh cuon set meals, which include grilled meat and spring rolls. English menu available.
  4. Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyền (7am-1pm & 5-9pm) – a combo has banh cuon and pork meat. English menu available.

4. Banh Mi

What is Banh Mi: Hanoi’s version of the classic Vietnamese baguette sandwich has a few slices of Vietnamese sausages, grilled meat and pork liver paté. Then, add the usual toppings like pickled daikon, carrots, cucumbers, and coriander. Eat it as a sandwich or make your own from the plate. It is one of the cheapest things to eat in Hanoi and an excellent option for breakfast (and honestly, any time of the day).

Best restaurants to eat Banh Mi in Hanoi:

  1. Nguyên Sinh Hà Nội (7am-9pm) – get the gourmet banh mi platter. The menu is in Vietnamese and French so I showed her a photo of the platter from Google Maps. It is one of the best banh mi I ever had!
  2. Banh Mi 25 (7am-9pm) – a touristy Vietnamese sandwich shop that is always busy. Eat-in or takeaway. English menu available.
  3. Banh Mi Paté (6am-9pm) – if you prefer a less touristy place, go to Banh Mi Paté on the same street as Banh Mi 25 and try one of the sandwiches with paté. So good!
  4. Banh Mi Hoi An (6am-8pm) – I had the special banh mi, which comes with char siu (barbecue pork), paté and the usual fillings. English menu available.
  5. Bánh mì Phố (6:30am-9:30pm) – a chain banh mi restaurant that reminds me of Subway (sandwich shop). Excellent grilled minced beef with cheese banh mi. English menu available.

5. Xoi Xeo

What is Xoi Xeo: the turmeric sticky rice is made with glutinous rice, turmeric powder, mung bean and shallot. When you find this at the market or at a street corner, xoi xeo is typically wrapped in a banana leaf. And when you eat xoi xeo in a restaurant, you can order sticky rice with many side dishes, including Vietnamese sausage, paté and egg.

Best places to eat Xoi Xeo in Hanoi:

  1. Quán Xôi Cát Lâm (7am-11:30pm) – I got turmeric rice, three side dishes and a free plate of pickled vegetables for 58k VND. English menu available.
  2. Xôi Yến (6-12am) – a popular sticky rice restaurant that was recommended by one of the hotels I stayed. English menu available.

6. Chao

What is Chao: the Vietnamese rice porridge starts with rice and a rich broth. The mixture is simmered for many hours until it reaches a creamy and smooth consistency. You can find this dish at a local food stall or restaurant for breakfast. Enjoy it by itself, or eat it with pieces of deep-fried dough.

Best restaurants in Hanoi for Chao:

  1. Cháo Sườn Cô Là (6:45am-6:15pm) – the cute little old lady sells porridge only. But you can add fried dough and shredded pork. The pin in Google Maps is not right – it’s actually at the corner of the intersection.
  2. Cháo Sườn Sụn Huyền Anh Đồng Xuân (11am-3pm) – located across from Dong Xuan Market, they serve porridge, noodles and other Vietnamese dishes.

Hanoi Street Food

1. Oc Luoc

What is Oc Luoc: Vietnamese boiled snails with lemongrass is a popular street food in Hanoi. Try the fresh and chewy texture of the freshwater snails with the spicy and sour sauce at one of the many food stalls around Beer Street.

Best places to eat Oc in Hanoi:

  1. Ốc Nóng Hà Trang Đinh Liệt (3-10pm) – a local restaurant specializing in snails. Hover over the little table and try the big snails. They also have Nem Chua Ran. English menu available.
  2. Oc Vi Saigon (10:30am-10pm) – a Michelin restaurant offering several types of snails, seafood and other Vietnamese dishes.

2. Nem Chua Ran

What is Nem Chua Ran: the popular street food is made with fermented pork and deep-fried until golden and crispy. Dip it in the spicy sauce or eat it by itself. It is excellent as a snack and goes well with a Hanoi beer.

Best places to eat Nem Chua Ran in Hanoi:

  • Quán Gốc Đa (8am-9:30pm) – the local restaurant has several Hanoi street foods, including Nem Chua Ran, Banh Tom and Nem Cua Be.
  • Ốc Nóng Hà Trang Đinh Liệt (3-10pm) – even though they specialize in snails, they also have Nem Chua Ran (which is not on the official menu, but you can still order it).
  • Local restaurants on Beer Street and vendors on Tam Thuong Lane

3. Banh Tom 

What is Banh Tom: the Vietnamese shrimp cake is made with shredded sweet potato and whole freshwater shrimp on top. The fritter is deep-fried and wrapped with lettuce and herbs. Eat it with the sweet and sour dipping sauce. This popular snack originated from the food vendors near West Lake, but you can find it anywhere in Hanoi.

Best places to eat Banh Tom in Hanoi:

  1. Bánh Tôm Cô Ầm (10:30am-1pm & 2:30-5:30pm) – order two or three shrimp fritters, and they will bring cut-up pieces of the deep-fried goodness, dipping sauce, lettuce and fresh herbs.
  2. Quán Gốc Đa (8am-9:30pm) – as mentioned, the local restaurant has several Hanoi street food snacks, including Nem Chua Ran, Banh Tom and Nem Cua Be.
  3. Tay Ho Street in Quang An Ward (varies) – the entire street has many restaurants selling freshly fried banh tom.

4. Nom Thit Bo Kho 

What is Nom Thit Bo Kho: slices of beef, beef jerky and shredded green papaya are tossed in a light dressing. Then add roasted peanuts, mint and coriander, and you have a refreshing snack.

Best restaurants to eat Nom Thit Bo Kho in Hanoi:

  1. Long Vi Dung (7am-11pm) – the small local food joint offers a few dishes, including dried beef salad and other Vietnamese snacks. The menu is on the wall and is in English.
  2. Long Vi Dung – Nom Thit Bo Kho (8am-10:30pm) – another location to eat this yummy salad.

Vietnamese drinks in Hanoi

1. Ca Phe Trung

What is Ca Phe Trung: the famous Hanoi drink is prepared with whisked egg yolk, sugar, and condensed milk. Then the mixture is poured on top of Vietnamese coffee. Sometimes the cup is placed in a bowl of hot water to keep its temperature.

Best places to drink Ca Phe Trung in Hanoi:

  1. Cafe Giảng (7am-10pm) – try egg coffee (or other egg beverages) at this old-school coffee shop that invented the famous drink in 1946. Walk through the narrow alley, go upstairs and find a table.
  2. Ca Bop (7am-11pm) – climb up the narrow stairs to the third floor and drink egg coffee overlooking the busy intersection.
  3. Eggyolk Coffee (6:30am-10:30pm) – the coffee and egg mixture are served separately. Pour the coffee into the “egg” cup and mix.
  4. Café Phố Cổ (8am-11pm) – walk through the narrow alley, up a flight of stairs of a cute house and find a seat so you can try egg coffee with a view of Hoan Kiem Lake.

2. Pho Cocktail

What is Pho Cocktail: the cocktail was created by mixologist Pham Tien Tiep for the Diageo World Class competition in 2012. It is a cocktail inspired by the classic Vietnamese dish “pho”. It is made with gin, Cointreau or triple sec, cinnamon, black cardamom, star anise, and coriander. And it really does taste like pho!

Where to drink Pho Cocktail:

  1. Nê Cocktail Bar (7:30pm-2am) – grab a seat by the bar and watch how the bartender makes the pho cocktail. It involves a candle holder-like apparatus and a torch!
  2. Nê Boong-ke (8pm-2am) – another bar serving pho cocktails. I believe this is the sister bar of the previous one mentioned. They also prepare the cocktail with the metal apparatus.

Desserts in Hanoi

1. Che

What is Che: Vietnamese sweet soup. Different ingredients are mixed together to make many variations of this Vietnamese dessert. Some ingredients include beans, grains, jellies, fruits and a mix of all the above. It tastes refreshing and not super sweet (which is what most Asian cultures prefer).

Where to eat Che in Hanoi:

  1. Loc Tai House – Chè Lộc Tài (11am-10:30pm) – a cute restaurant with traditional furniture serving traditional Vietnamese food and many types of Vietnamese desserts.
  2. Chè Bốn Mùa (10am-11pm) – a busy dessert place. English menu available.
  3. Little Bowl (11:30am-10pm) – the traditional mixed bowl has many ingredients, including red beans, taro, pomelo, rice jelly, and so much more.
  4. Chè Ngon 93 (7am-12am) – many desserts to choose from – maybe too many.

Must eats in Hanoi: which food are you most excited to try?

Phew! That was a long list! But it should be longer because there’s so much good food in Hanoi.

If you are spending a few days in the city, you can cover most of these must-try dishes since some of them are quite small in portion. And it is so affordable to eat in Hanoi so that you can try a few more things.

So I’m curious: what are you most excited to eat in Hanoi? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading my Hanoi food guide

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Vietnam:

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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