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Top 10 Must-try Famous Dish When Visiting Hanoi Capital

When former President Barack Obama traveled to Hanoi in 2016, he famously joined the late Anthony Bourdain for a meal of bun cha, a beloved local specialty made up of bits of marinated, charcoal-grilled pork patties and pork slices in a dipping sauce with rice noodles and herb garnishes.


And then of course there's the world-famous pho. Made with rice noodles, this beef noodle soup is a must-try on the streets of Hanoi -- not to mention readily available overseas.

But there's much more to the city's diverse food scene. So, Is food in Vietnam safe?


10 Must-try Famous Dish When Visiting Hanoi Capital

The answer is that it depends! Some street food stall vendors do not take the necessary hygienic precautions, yet some do. Therefore, before you choose a place to eat at, observe it first. 

The first thing to look out for is to see if the stall is busy. A busy stall would mean that many customers would eat there, so this indicates that the stall is safe. Not only that, but the food is probably delicious! Avoid stalls that are not crowded as this indicates the opposite. 

You should also look for a style before using street food. You can observe this yourself – check which bottle the vendor uses to store their oil and also look at the oil in the pan they are using. If the color looks brown or even black, stay away from it.

Also, in most cases, make sure to carefully observe the ingredients of stalls that offer dishes which are very cheap, because the suppliers may not good.

What is the best food to eat in Hanoi?



Below are 10 famous dishes every Hanoi visitor -- not just global leaders -- must-try.

10 Must-try Famous Dish When Visiting Hanoi Capital
Photo by internet

#1: Pho – Vietnamese Noodle Soup


Pho is THE classic Hanoi food, and possibly one of the best food Hanoi offers. Let’s just say you don’t want to miss this aromatic soup, filled with slices of beef, rice noodles and a plateful of fresh herbs.

There are many places that sell this Hanoi food. One of the best place to eat Pho in Hanoi is Pho Gia Truyen. Be sure to go early, as there is usually a long line!

Where is eat?

Pho Gia Truyen

Address: 49 Bát Đàn, Hà Nội.

Hours: Everyday from 6:00 am to 10:30 am and 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Prices: About 40,000 VND to 50,000 VND per person, approximately $1.75 USD to $2.20 USD.


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Photo by internet

#2: Bún Chả  – Barbecued Pork with Rice Vermicelli


Bún chả, is one northern Vietnamese food that quickly became tourists favorite. It is one of the best Hanoi food specialty not to be missed.

The dish consists of grilled pork strips and balls or chả served over a bed of rice vermicelli noodles or bún. It typically comes with a plate of fresh Vietnamese herbs and a bowl of dipping sauce.  Pickled vegetables, like cabbage, carrots, onion or green papaya served with additional meatballs on the side.

The sauce is made of the famous Vietnamese fish sauce or Nuoc Mam combined with vinegar, lime, sugar, garlic and chili.

Where is eat?

Bun Cha is a popular meal for lunch, some restaurants serve it all-day long. For great bún chả local experiences, here are two exceptional places to check out in Hanoi.

Bún Chả Hương Liên

Already popular, this restaurant gained worldwide acclaim when President Obama and Anthony Bourdain ate Bún chả together.

Although the walls are now covered with Obama’s pictures, the cuisine remains the same – local, authentic and delicious. This is one of the best bún chả restaurants in Hanoi.

Address: 24 Le Van Huu Street in Hai Ba Trung District

Hours: Everyday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Prices: About 40,000 VND to 50,000 VND ($1.77 USD to $2.21 USD)

Another popular option, especially with tourists is Đắc Kim Restaurant. We found the pork to be more fatty and not as tasty or delicate as at the other two restaurants above. Nonetheless, it remains a solid option for this “must eat in Hanoi”.

Bún Chả Hàng Mành – Đắc Kim

Address: 1 Hang Manh Street

Hours: Everyday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm

Prices: About 60,000 VND ($2.65 USD)

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Photo by kenh14

#3: Bánh Mì – Vietnamese Sandwich


The bánh mì sandwich is truly the best Vietnamese sandwich to fall in love with. While its origins are French, the Vietnamese have made it distinctively their own. Generally speaking it is an airy Vietnamese baguette made with a combination of wheat and rice flours with a thin crispy crust.

It is stuffed with pork, pâté, cured ham, a mélange of Vietnamese herbs and vegetables like coriander, cucumber, carrot, slices, radish and more depending on what part of the country you are in. A wealth of textures and flavors, you will savor spicy, salty, savory, sweet, and aromatic tastes in each bite.

Where is eat?

Bánh Mì Ngon

Address: 49 Đường Thành, Hà Nội.

Hours: Everyday from 8 am until 10 pm.

Prices: About 15,000 VND to 25,000 VND ($0.66 USD to $1.10 USD)

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Photo by foodwithluve

#4: Chả Cá – Grilled Fish with Dill and Tumeric


Chả Cá is one of the unique specialties of the Hanoi people and definitely a must eat in Hanoi. So important is this local specialty, that it even has a street named after it – Cha Ca street.

Tourists loved this dish so much and can absolutely say it is a Hanoi food worth flying for. World-renowned, The New York Times followed its history from Vietnam to the United State.  “Hanoians even have a saying that … “someone should try this once in their life before leaving this world.”

This dish is made table side and the experience of preparing the dish is almost as much fun as eating it. A  server will set up a hot pot on your table and will bring everything you need to accompany your meal. Fresh herbs, vermicelli rice noodles, a bowl of roasted peanuts and a dipping fish sauce with sliced chilies. In the pot is the fish grilling with mounds of dill and turmeric.

Listening to the sizzling sounds of the Chả Cá cooking at Chả Cá Thăng Long Restaurant , surrounded by the aroma of fresh herbs, you were in foodie heaven.

Each bite of the buttery grilled fish, perfectly seasoned with turmeric and noodles soaked in fish sauce, combined with the fresh herbs, is a delicious explosion of flavors. This must eat in Hanoi was definitely one of your best meals in the city, and one you have to experience.

Where is eat?

You will find several Chả Cá restaurants in Hanoi.  The one is visited by many visitors - Cha Ca Thang Long.

Chả Cá Thăng Long

Address: 19 – 21 – 31, Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Hours: Everyday from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm

Prices for Cha Ca: 120,000 VND per person, (approximately $5.29 USD)

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Photo by Cafe Giang

#5: Cà Phê Trứng- Vietnamese Egg Coffee


Although it is not a food, it is like food. Egg coffee or Cà Phê Trứng is the most famous coffee in the north of Vietnam. It is a thick dark coffee topped with egg yolk whipped with condensed milk into an airy froth. Rich in taste, it can be likened to tiramisu dessert.

Where is drink?

There are several coffee shops and places to enjoy a silky Vietnamese egg coffee. One place that offers the best view in Hanoi is Cafe Giang.

Address: 39 (lane), Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi.

Hours: Everyday from 7am until 10:30pm.

For coffee lovers in the World: VIETNAMESE COFFEE and how to drink as a LOCAL


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Photo by Guilhem Vellut

#6: Bánh Cuốn – Steamed Rice Rolls


Bánh cuốn is another local specialty from Northern Vietnam that you don’t want to miss.

It is a delicate and light dish usually eaten for breakfast in Vietnam. However, you can find it all day long.

Bánh cuốn is made of a thin rice sheet rolled and filled with ground pork meat and minced mushrooms. It is served with fried shallots and cilantro herbs on top.

The secret flavor of this Hanoi food resides in its dipping sauce. As with most Vietnamese dishes, Nuoc Mam of fish sauce is used in the dipping sauce. The magic comes with the additional drop of cà cuống, the essence of a giant water bug common in Southeast Asia.

This drop in the sauce adds an extra flavor which gives off a taste similar to scallops or shrimps. Today, this natural essence is becoming scarce and many restaurants are now using an imitation essence.

The rice sheet is made by steaming fermented rice batter on a cloth stretched over a pot of boiling water. 

Where is eat? 

Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyền

Address: 12 Hàng Gà, Hà Nội.

Hours: Everyday from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm and 5pm to 11pm

Prices: About 35,000 VND per person, (approximately $1.54 USD)

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Photo by fabulousfabs

#7: Bún Bò Nam Bộ - Beef & Noodles


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.

Where is eat?

Bun Bo Nam Bo is located at 89 Hàng Điếu, Cửa Đông Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội, Vietnam.

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Photo by internet

#8: Phở cuốn - rolled noodles


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.

Where is eat?

Phở Cuốn Hương Mai

Address: 25 Ngu Xa, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi.

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Photo by internet

#9: Lẩu – Hot Pot


In the cooler months, Lẩu is one of the most popular food you will find in Hanoi. Sitting on the sidewalks, in the evenings, you will see groups of locals huddled together over a large pot of simmering soup, cooking beef, chicken, fish, noodles, veggies and so on.

Next to the tables, you will find vendors with a display filled with different vegetables and protein to be added to the hot pot.

There are many different types of hot pots such as: beef, crab, frog, chicken and seafood. This is a large dish that is meant for sharing with several people and it is one of the authentic Vietnamese dishes you must eat in Hanoi.

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Photo by internet

#10: Che - Sweet Dessert Soup.


Chè is the perfect end to your meal, especially if you had a light Hanoi food like Bánh Cuốn. Chè basically means dessert in Vietnamese.

Chè is a sweet soup typically made of several ingredients mixed together and served in a large beer glass. 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.

In Hanoi, you will find chè vendors on the streets. Delight in warm chè in the cooler evenings and refresh with crushed ice added to the dessert in the hot months. 

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

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Item Reviewed: Top 10 Must-try Famous Dish When Visiting Hanoi Capital Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nga Do
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