General tips to find the best Vietnamese food in Hanoi

Nga Do
Eating out in Hanoi, or more specifically finding the best Vietnamese food to eat in Hanoi, can be a daunting prospect. This is our ultimate guide to the best food in Hanoi Old Quarter, based on what we ate over two three-day visits to this amazing city. We’ll show you where to eat in Hanoi and hope that it might come in handy for you as Hanoi tour guide for food.
Food in Hanoi Old Quarter – who tipped us off!

Arriving in Hanoi

We arrived in the old quarter Hanoi Vietnam to an utterly mind-boggling cacophony of traffic, noise and scents. Quite quickly, we accustomed our ears to the ever-honking horns of motorcycles and taxis, reminding us in their uniquely Asian way that they are right behind us. We soon figured out that the only way to cross the street is to watch carefully what is coming, try and make eye contact and move with slow purpose from one kerb to the other.

But what really piqued our senses was the steam and aromas coming from the seemingly millions of cooking pots across the city. On every street corner, within every small alleyway, we found mouthwatering street foods all over Hanoi Old Town.

Street food in Hanoi Old Quarter – general tips

Here are a couple of basic tips that we have picked up from our experience of street food in Hanoi Old Quarter, and the rest of Vietnam:

1. Follow your nose, and eat where the locals eat, when they eat. That way you can find the best street food in Hanoi. You will not have any authentic experiences or even great food if you stick to westernised, tourist restaurants.

2. Linked to point 1 above, get used to eating at places that in your home country would not pass any food hygiene regulations. We had literally no bad food and no Delhi-belly or similar. EVERYONE from all classes and income levels eats Vietnamese street food in Hanoi. Leave any food snob tendencies at home.

3. Get used to using chopsticks. Practice at home before you leave if you can’t already use them. Check on YouTube or Google for tips on how to use them. But please, don’t ask for a knife and fork. Many places just don’t have them. Little kids in Vietnam know how to use chopsticks. Refuse to use them, and you will look like an idiot.

4. You can slurp down any kind of noodles or soups without concern about table manners. Just grab yourself a paper napkin or three to mop up any ensuing mess, and chow on down.

5. The famous Vietnamese food is not very hot-spicy in general. Many places have bowls of chilli sauce on the table or will serve chillis on the side. So you can adjust the spice levels to your own flavour preferences.

We found out about the best places to eat in Hanoi, what to eat in Hanoi and where to go in Hanoi for our daily Hanoi walking tours. If you are an adventurous food lover, then Hanoi and its old Quarter should be high on your list! We definitely miss Hanoi a lot!

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