Hanoi Street Foods: 7 Mouthwatering Must-Try Vietnamese Delicacies

Hanoi is well known for many reasons, and its cuisine is definitely one of them.

If you ever find yourself traveling in Hanoi, you will most likely eat food from street restaurants and vendors. It is without a doubt that Hanoi offers some of the most delicious street food in SouthEast Asia. One thing you should know is that most of the menus aren’t in English.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from trying the delicious traditional food and pastries that Hanoi has to offer.

Most of the food stalls and restaurant offer one or two types of food, so you won’t be overwhelmed with a variety of food not knowing what to pick. Making a decision on what to eat is definitely easier.

Below we have summed up 8 of the most mouthwatering Vietnamese dishes that you must try in Hanoi.

1. Phò

Vietnamese Pho

One of the most well-known dishes in all of Vietnam is Phò.

It is a Vietnamese noodle soup made up of broth, rice noodles, some herbs, and meat. It is a popular street food which was created in the early 20th century.

If you ever decide to travel to Hanoi, or if you are just passing by Hanoi, you most definitely need to stop at one of the street restaurants or street vendors and try this delicious dish.

Phò can be made with either chicken meat or beef meat, but the secret to its mouthwatering qualities is the broth.

Phò is usually eaten in Vietnam for breakfast. So take a break from eating pancakes or eggs for breakfast and try this great dish.

2. Bánh rán

Banh ran

Bánh rán is a delicious deep-fried rice ball which is made from glutinous rice flour.

It is very popular in northern Vietnam and it is covered in sesame seeds.

The name “Bánh” is a category of food that includes pies, cakes, and pastries. “Rán” on the other hand translates into “fried”.

Traditionally, Bánh rán is prepared by frying the shell alone and the keeping the filling separate. They do this so that they can hear the filling rattle against the shell when you shake it.

You can also find this pastry with a sugary syrup poured over it.  You can find salted Bánh rán in Hanoi. The difference between the sweet and salty is mainly the filling, where the sweet Bánh rán has a filling of sweetened mung bean paste and the salty Bánh rán has a filling made of a combination of minced pork meat and mushroom.  

3. Nộm bò khô

Nom bo Kho

(Photo by stu_spivack, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).

Nộm bò khô has become one of the most popular street food in all of Vietnam.

It even began to be seen at a lot of Vietnamese wedding parties and death anniversaries. Nộm bò khô is a delicious salad which consists of many mouthwatering ingredients.

These include chili, dried beef, julienned green papaya, herbs and roasted peanuts. The most important part of the salad is the dried beef, while it is cut into big and thin slices. The way beef is prepared is by soaking it overnight with seasonings such as salt, garlic, oil ginger, and chili. Afterward, it is dried and then put into the oven to be cooked.

This dish is by far one of the most diverse and delicious of all. If you ever travel to Hanoi, be sure to try this awesome salad!

4. Nem rán

Nem Ran

(Photo by Phó Nháy, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).

Also known as Chả giò, the famous dish Nem rán is made up of meat (usually pork) with mushroom and vegetables which is wrapped in rice paper.

Afterward, it is deep-fried until the color of the rice paper turns golden brown.

Locals even use different types of meat to create new versions of Nem rán. Some even use crab, shrimp, chicken and even snails. In Europe, this mouthwatering dish is usually served as an appetizer.

You can find Nem rán in many street restaurants in Hanoi and you can eat it either alone or by dipping it in fish sauce.

5. Phở Cuốn

Pho Cuon

(Photo by Casablanca1911, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).

Different from the famous noodle soup Phở which we previously discussed, Phở Cuốn is actually a dish in which beef and fresh herbs are rolled with fresh rice paper sheets to form a sort of spring roll.

Even though this delicious dish is fairly recent, it has begun to gain fame in the Hanoi street restaurants and vendors.

6. Bánh mì

Banh mi

(Photo by QSNguyen, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license).

Bánh mì is another word in Vietnamese that means bread.

This type of bread, which can also be referred to as a baguette, is a symbol of the French colonialism period in Vietnam.  The word “Bánh” refers to many food types, including bread itself. The word “mì” means wheat in Vietnamese.

“Bánh mì” alone is understood as the Vietnamese baguette, but in Vietnam people will also mean a famous sandwich. The ingredients of this delicious traditional sandwich are coriander, meat, cucumber, pickled carrots, and daikon. You can find Bánh mì anywhere around the streets of Hanoi and is also sold in France since 1950.

7. Bún chả

Bun cha

(Photo by Stu Spivack, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license).

Bún chả is Vietnamese dish that is made up of grilled pork and noodle.

This dish originated in Hanoi and has been one of the most popular street foods yet.  The way Bún chả is usually served is with grilled fatty pork, which is “chả” on a plate of white rice noodle known as “bún”.

The dish is also served with herbs and dipping sauce on a side dish. This Hanoi specialty can be found at some food stalls that serve nothing else but Bún chả. This is a must try street food if you ever find yourself visiting Hanoi.

With the number of visitors to Vietnam increasing each year (last year over 10 million), the Vietnamese cuisine continues to grow bigger and better.

You can find all sorts of delicious dishes that can be sold on the streets of Hanoi.

One thing you need to know before you travel to Vietnam is that there can be some travel risks. It is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance that can cover any medical expenses. You can never be too sure of what can happen, so it’s better to take precautions so that you have the best possible experience in Hanoi.