Hanoi’s unique food on Phat Loc Street

Nga Do
In Hanoi, for the purpose of tasting of eating full, you should visit small streets where the finest cuisine has not been commercialized. Wandering in the Old Quarter, you will seem to be lost in a paradise of cuisine with many stores from normal to luxurious ones. In the Hanoi Old Quarter, Phat Loc Street is a place where tourists can find well-known noodle dishes that symbolize Hanoi food.

Bun cha que tre (vermicelli with grilled pork meat sticks)

Bun Cha is a food of the northern part of Vietnam, but most popular in Hanoi. The dish has grilled pork meat in central and southern Vietnam, but the dipping sauce has a gentle flavour. There are two kinds of pork meat balls in Phat Loc Street: pork meat balls on bamboo sticks and minced meat wrapped betel leaves. 

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All kinds are grilled on charcoal but sophisticated diners can smell the fragrance of bamboo sticks, not simple smoky smell of iron grill. With minced meat wrapped in betel leaves, minced meat is well marinated. The shop owner wrap minced meat on betel leaves, then skewered on bamboo and grilled them on charcoal.

Bun rieu cua (Vermicelli soup with crab)

Vermicelli soup with crab has long become an important dish of Hanoi. A bit of sour flavor of vinegar or tamarind, a little “tai chua” and a few slices of ripe tomatoes and the sweet flavor of crab and shrimp pasteall create an unforgettable dish. The origin of vermicelli soup still remains unknown, but through many years, the way of processingand spices of this noodle dish today is slightly different. 

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Vermicelli soup of old Hanoi includes very basic ingredients such as crab, sour spices such as tomatoes, vinegar, tamarind, etc., noodles and vegetables as: chopped spinach, banana flower, perilla, salad and a little chilli. But along with the development of society, cuisine has also certain changes and vermicelli soup with crab is no exception to that rule. A bowl of vermicelli soup with crab will be an attractive gift that you cannot miss, especially in cool days during the fall.

Bun dau mam tom (Noodle with fried tofu and shrimp paste)

If eating right on the street, you will be served “bun dau” on a medium-size tray, with everything on it.  Just squeeze some drops of kumquat in your sauce, dip rice noodles, piece of tofu or ham into the sauce, and don’t forget the herbs. The simple combination of various flavors: hot, tasty tofu, cold, fresh noodles, strong, spicy, sour, a bit sweet dip sauce and nice smell from herbal Vietnamese balmmakes “bun dau” unique, especially in the cold weather in Hanoi.

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Although “Bun dau” here is not luxurious, it is still strangely attractive. Despite being a sidewalk eatery, you can still catch a lot “beautiful girls, cool boys” or gentlemen and ladies coming here to enjoy this kind of street food.

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