10 of the Best Authentic Food in Hanoi You Must Eat [Updated 2021]

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This Hanoi food guide is an introduction to the local specialties from Northern Vietnam.

Vietnamese cuisine varies by region. Each city, even each village, has its own list of unique local specialties.

Hanoi is no exception. Many of the popular Vietnamese dishes originated here. Namely, the famous Vietnamese noodle soup pho is a Hanoi food known as one of the most iconic Vietnamese foods.

Situated near the Chinese border, northern Vietnamese and specifically Hanoi cuisine reflects Chinese influences. 

With the cooler northern climate and wide availability of freshwater fish and seafood, the food in Hanoi has its own distinctive flavor. 

Prawns, shrimp, crab, clams, and more seafood can be found in some of the best Hanoi food.

Hanoi, as we discovered, is also famous for its street food culture. Street food stalls are popular and make up for the vast majority of Hanoi food. 

Some of the best and surprising local food experiences in Hanoi are made on the sidewalks with locals and not in restaurants.

In this guide, we highlight 10 of the best authentic and local food in Hanoi you must eat and where to have them.

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1. Bun Cha or Bún Chả  – Barbecued Pork with Rice Vermicelli

Bun Cha best food in Hanoi by Authentic Food Quest
Delicious bowl of grilled pork strips and pork balls

Bun cha is one northern Vietnamese food that quickly became our favorite. It is one of the best Hanoi food specialties not to be missed.

Bun Cha consists of grilled pork strips and balls or chả served over a bed of steaming rice vermicelli noodles or bún. The vermicelli noodles served on the side are thin, soft and slightly chewy. 

Bun Cha Meal in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Bún chả meal with noodles, herbs and nem

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 are 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.

We learned quickly how to eat bun cha from mimicking locals around us. Slide the vermicelli in the meatballs broth and mix all the ingredients together. 

Then, you just have to find the right dexterity with the chopsticks to dive into it.

While the origin of bun cha is unclear, it is known as a Hanoi food staple. 

In Saigon, you will find bun cha sweeter cousin called Bun Thit Nuong. This rice noodles dish is made with grilled meat and served directly in the same bowl.

READ MORE: Bun Thit Nuong and Saigon Food Guide

Best Hanoi Restaurants To Eat Bun Cha

Most restaurants in Vietnam specialize in making just one dish. You will find several bun cha Hanoi restaurants and vendors dedicated to serving bun cha.

While it is a popular meal for lunch, some restaurants serve it all-day long. For great local bun cha experiences, here are the best hanoi restaurants you want to check out.

Bún chả Hương Liên, Hùng Lẩu and Đắc Kim Restaurant, are restaurants we visited during our stay in Hanoi.

Bún chả Hương Liên

Bun Cha Huong Lieng Hanoi Restaurant by Authentic Food Quest
Inside the restaurant with prominent pictures of President Obama

Already popular, this Hanoi restaurant gained worldwide acclaim when President Obama and Anthony Bourdain ate Bun cha together. 

To capitalize on this fame, Bún Chả Hương Liên restaurant added the name “Obama” to the link of their Facebook page.

Bun Cha Huong Lieng Entrance A Must Hanoi restaurant by Authentic Food Quest
The entrance of Bún Chả Hương Liên restaurant

Although the walls are now covered with President Barack Obama’s pictures, the cuisine remains the same: local, authentic and delicious. This is one of the best bun cha restaurants in town. 

The pork balls are slightly fatty, incredibly juicy and tasty. Fresh herbs, noodles dipped into the sauce, makes for an incredible harmony of flavors. A must try when you are in Hanoi!

Bún chả Hương Liên

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)

Hùng Lẩu

Hung Lau Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Grilling the pork at the entrance of the restaurant

The second restaurant Hùng Lẩu was actually where we had our very first lunch in Hanoi. It is a very local joint where you won’t find anyone speaking English. 

This place was recommended by our Airbnb host, and undeniably, the restaurant was packed with locals. 

For our first meal out in Vietnam, we were not sure about the ordering process. With no one speaking English and the menu in Vietnamese, we felt a little lost. 

Inside Hung Lau A Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Eating with locals at Hùng Lẩu

We shared a table with local office workers on their lunch break. And with broken English, gestures and facial expressions, we made ourselves understood and they helped us order lunch.

This was a wonderful introduction to bun cha. We found the bun cha pork meatballs to be grilled to perfection! 

The sauce was flavorful, and the combination of tastes and textures divine.  Definitely a place to get your bun cha Hanoi fix. 

Hùng Lẩu

Address: 6, Ngõ Trạm, Hà Nội.

Hours: Everyday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Prices: About 35,000 VND ($1.54 USD) 

Đắc Kim Restaurant

Dac Kim Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Đắc Kim restaurant -reputable and popular with tourists

Another popular option, especially with tourists is Đắc Kim Restaurant. We found the bun cha pork pieces 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 iconic Hanoi food.

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)

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to order your Bun Cha with Nem Cua Be (Must eat Hanoi food #2)

2. Nem Cua Be or Nem cua bể – Crab Spring Rolls

Nem Cua Be Best Hanoi Food by Authentic Food Quest
Delicious lightly fried Nem Cua Be

Nem Cua Be or crab spring rolls are the perfect complement to bun cha. It is a fried roll filled with sea crab and vermicelli noodles. 

While Nem Cua Be is native from Haiphong, a city on the coastline of northeast Vietnam, it is common to see it served with bun cha in Hanoi.

Nem cua be delicious Hanoi Food by AuthenticFoodQuest
Nem cua be ready to be eaten

These crab spring rolls are sold by roll, where one roll is cut into three smaller pieces. They are eaten as an appetizer while waiting for the bun cha meal or dipped into the savory bun cha soup.

Fresh and lightly fried, these nem cua be spring rolls melt in the mouth and are to be savored. 

Authentic Food Quest Tip: If you’re traveling to Hanoi, get to know street food in Hanoi with a local guide. On an early morning Hanoi food tour, leave the touristy trail and watch the city come to life with a local Hanoi chef. Visit four food markets, as you learn the history, culture, and ingredients. Book your Hanoi food tour.

Best Hanoi Restaurants To Eat Nem Cua Be

Nem Cua Be a Hanoi Street food by AuthenticFoodQuest
Fresh Nem cua ready to be served at Dac Kim

The same Hanoi restaurants mentioned above for bun cha serve equally tasty and crispy fresh rolls. 

Bún chả Hương Liên

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

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

Prices: 7,000 VND per piece (about $0.30 USD)

Hùng Lẩu

Address: 6, Ngõ Trạm, Hà Nội.

Hours: Everyday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Prices: About 10,000 VND per roll ($0.44 USD) 

Bún chả hàng mành – Đắc Kim

Address: 1 Hang Manh Street

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

Prices: About 15,000 VND per roll ($0.66 USD)

Pro Tip: Check for the menus to combine the order of Bún Chả and Nuem Cua Be at a lower price

3. Cha Ca or Chả Cá Lã Vọng  – Grilled Fish with Dill and Turmeric

Cha Ca A Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
A delicious bowl of chả cá, one of our favorites Hanoi food

Cha Ca is one of the unique specialties of the Hanoi people and definitely a must eat food in Hanoi. 

So important is this local speciality, that it even has a street named after it – Cha Ca street.

This hanoi food is said to be more than 130 years. It was first created by the local Doan family to serve Vietnamese fighters against the French occupants. The original restaurant Cha Ca La Vong still operates today.

We loved this dish so much and can absolutely say it is a dish worth flying for. 

Hanoians even have a saying that … “someone should try this once in their life before leaving this world.”

The special ingredient in cha ca is grilled fish, typically mudfish or snake-head fish. According to the restaurant, the best fish to use is Hemibragus. This southeast asian fish has fewer bones and a tasty flesh.

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This Hanoi food 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.

Rosemary and Claire savoring chả at Chả Cá Thảng Long Restaurant

Listening to the sizzling sound of the fish cooking and surrounded by the aroma of fresh herbs, we 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 food in Hanoi was definitely one of our best meals in the city, and one you have to experience.

Best Hanoi Restaurants To Eat Cha Ca

Cha Ca Thang Long Hanoi Restaurant by Authentic Food Quest
Entrance to Chả Cá Thảng Long restaurant

You will find several cha ca restaurants in Hanoi.  The one we went to was Chả Cá Thảng Long, which was recommended highly by our local Airbnb host.

This Hanoi Restaurant in the Old Quarter is one of the best places to sample this local delight. The service was friendly and the food delicious, making cha ca one of our best food in Hanoi.

Chả Cá Thăng Long

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

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

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

The original restaurant for cha ca is Chả Cá Lã Vọng also in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. We did not eat at this restaurant as our host preferred Chả Cá Thảng Long for an authentic experience. 

Additionally, Chả Cá Lã Vọng received mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. Nevertheless, noted below is the address of this legendary restaurant.

Chả Cá Lã Vọng

Address: 14 Chả Cá, Hà Nội.

Hours: Everyday from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 5pm to 9pm.

Pro Tip: There are two Chả Cá Thảng Long restaurants, one is smoking, one non-smoking. Make sure you eat the best food in Hanoi at the non-smoking restaurant!

4. Bun Ca or Bún Cả – Fish Noodles Soup

Bun Ca Soup a food in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Bún Cá soup, perfect for cool evenings.

Fish soup is a common Vietnamese dish across Vietnam. The type of fish used is based on where you are in Vietnam.

In Northern Vietnam, freshwater fish is widely used in dishes. This Hanoi food, bun ca, is no exception.

It is a light broth made from fish bones with golden fresh white fish lightly fried. At the bottom of the soup you will find a bed of rice vermicelli. 

Snakehead fish is typically used in Hanoi for this fresh fish noodle soup. 

On the top covering the broth, is a delicate combination of spring onions and bean sprouts mixed with dill herbs.

This fish soup is very fragrant and heartwarming, a hanoi food to savor on the street.

RELATED: Read Hoi An Food Guide and Hoi An Street Food

Best Hanoi Restaurant To Eat Bun Ca

Bun Ca Sam Cay Si Hanoi street food Authentic Food Quest
Bun Ca Sam Cay Si tucked in an alley of Hanoi Old Quarter

To taste this unique dish, there is no better place than Bún cá Sâm Cây Si. This is a typical Hanoi street food joint.

Tucked in a dark alley in the old quarter, this unpretentious small local joint is packed with locals and tourists alike.

We actually stumbled on this place while looking for another Hanoi restaurant close by. As we took our seats, we asked if we were in the right place. 

The owner using gestures pointed us to a closed restaurant, which we learned later on had shut down.

Tempted by the delicious smells and local crowd, we decided to stay and we didn’t regret it.

The hot steaming soup outside on a cool evening was delightful. Tender fresh fish in a flavorful broth, combined with onions that were slightly crunchy was perfect. 

This heart-warming soup at a very local street food joint was one of our best surprises and food in Hanoi. 

Bun Ca Menu Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Menu on the wall at Bún Cá Sâm Cây Si

Bún Cá Sâm Cây Si

Address: 5 Ngõ Trung Yên, Hà Nội.

Hours: Everyday from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm

Prices: About 35,000 VND per person, (approximately $1.54 USD) Add 10,000 VND ($0.44 USD) for Ca Cuon Thit.

Pro Tip: Order a side of Cá Cuốn Thịt with your soup. These are deep fried spring rolls, with a mixture of pork and herbs wrapped in fresh fish. Add another 10,000 VND ($0.44 USD) to your meal and your taste buds will thank you!

5. Banh Cuon or Bánh Cuốn – Steamed Rice Rolls

Banh Cuon best Hanoi food by Authentic Food Quest
Beautiful plate of Bánh Cuốn

Banh cuon is another local Hanoi food that originated in 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.

Banh cuon 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 flavor of the dish resides in its side dipping sauce. It is made with Nuoc Mam a typical fish sauce and a drop of cà cuống which is a giant water bug essence common in Southeast Asia. 

This drop in the sauce adds an extra flavor which tastes like scallop or shrimp. This natural essence is becoming scarce and a lot of restaurants are using imitation essence.

Making Banh Cuon Must Eat food in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Ladies preparing bánh cuốn to order at street side restaurant

The most fascinating is the process to make banh cuon. The rice sheet is made by steaming a fermented rice batter on a cloth stretched over a pot of boiling water. 

Best is to watch the ladies in the front making this “must eat food in Hanoi” on the spot. It is quite fascinating!

Check Out The Making of Banh Cuon Video

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Best Hanoi Restaurant To Eat Banh Cuon

Banh Cuon Gia Truyen Menu Hanoi Restaurant by Authentic Food Quest
Menu at Banh Cuon Gia Truyen

For this dish, we recommend going to Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyen. It is a well known restaurant in Hanoi for its bánh cuốn. 

Apparently the owner is still using the original water bug essence with the dish. You can actually order the essence and the bug as a side dish which is quite popular in Vietnam.

Our Bánh cuốn dish was very light and very flavorful. We would recommend having at least  a couple portions. This is a very unique and delicate dish. 

It is too bad the people serving weren’t trying to be more explicative of the dish and their own specialty. 

Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyen

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)

Pro Tip: To make the best of this Hanoi experience, order a bia Hanoi to go along with your banh cuon. This light beer is the perfect complement to this delicious Hanoi food.

RELATED: 5 Best Authentic Vietnamese Sauces That Will Amaze You

6. Pho or Phở – Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Beef Pho at Pho Gia Nguyen best pho in Hanoi by Authenticfoodquest
Delicious and satisfying Pho Tai Nam. Yum!

Pho is the classic dish of Hanoi, and one that you cannot miss.  Pho, while known as the national dish of Vietnam, originated in the North. 

It became popular as a hearty soup eaten by the rice field workers for breakfast.

Pho is a flat rice noodle soup made of a fragrant meat broth, most commonly beef and sometimes chicken. 

This aromatic soup is filled with slices of meat and a plateful of fresh herbs. The fresh herbs used in the soup typically include green onions, ginger, and coriander.

The meat, primarily beef, consists of thin cuts added into the soup. In Hanoi, we found Pho served most commonly prepared with three types of meat.

Pho Tai is made with slices of rare beef steak, Pho Nam served with beef flank pieces. And finally, Pho Gau which has slices of brisket. 

Hearty but not heavy, this flavorful soup and Hanoi street food is commonly found at breakfast. 

To learn more about Pho, check out our article about pho in Vietnam. Learn more about the soup and where to eat the best Pho on your travels to Vietnam.

READ MORE: The Best Pho You Want To Slurp On in Vietnam

Best Hanoi Restaurant To Eat Pho

PhoRestaurant_FoodinVietnam_Authenticfoodquest
Meat hanging at the counter of the restaurant

For a unique and authentic Pho experience, check out Pho Gia Truyen restaurant.  

This open-air restaurant serves pho, traditionally in the morning starting at 6am and then again later for dinner until 8:30pm.

When we went for dinner to the restaurant, we were amazed to see a long line from the counter serpentine in the street. Usuals as well as a few tourists were waiting to get served the precious bowl of pho.

PhoGiaTruyen_PhoinVietnam_Authenticfoodquest
Long lines on a Sunday night for the best pho in Vietnam – Pho Gia Truyen, Hanoi

Tables were sprawled out inside and outside the restaurant. As soon as anyone left their spot, someone would pounce on their seat immediately. 

The atmosphere is unique. Placing the order while seeing the hunks of meat hanging on the counter is an experience in itself. 

We ordered two Pho bowls, the Pho Tai and Pho Tai Nam. The magic of pho lies in the broth and this one did not disappoint. 

The pho in both versions was very flavorful and filled with ginger, garlic and cilantro flavors. The meat was lean, incredibly tender and very tasty. Such a delightful and filling meal!

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.

Pro Tip: To go with your Pho, add a side of banh quay to your order.  These fried dough sticks are used for dipping into the soup. 

Pho 10 Best pho in Hanoi Restaurant by AuthenticFoodQuest
Pho 10 restaurant for a classic food in Hanoi

Another Pho restaurant popular with locals and tourists alike is Pho 10.  This restaurant serves healthy serving of Pho with fragrant herbs and a heart warming broth.

You can choose from several types of beef cuts and try different versions of this must have Hanoi food.

Pho 10 is where we had our first pho in Hanoi and in Vietnam. It left a wonderful impression and gave us the desire to taste many more pho in Vietnam.

Pho 10

Address: 10 Lý Quốc Sư, Hà Nội

Hours: Everyday from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

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

7. Lau or Lẩu – Vietnamese Hot Pot

Raw Food for lau or hot pot Hanoi food_AuthenticFoodQuest
Tempting raw vegetables for Lau cooking

In the cooler months, Lau is one of the most popular dishes and street food to eat in Hanoi. 

Sitting on the sidewalks, in the evenings, you will see groups of locals huddled together over a large simmering pot.

Ingredients are then cooked on the table when plunged into the hot pot of stock. Typical ingredients cooked in this hot broth are beef, chicken or pork, fish or seafood, noodles, fresh vegetables and more.

Next to the tables, vendors have on display large trays filled with different vegetables and protein to be added to the hot pot.

There are many different kinds of hot pots. Frog is one of the most popular ones that we saw followed by chicken and seafood. 

This is a large dish that is meant to be shared. Cuts of vegetables and meats are dipped into the common hot broth which gets more flavorful as the meal goes on.

The cooked ingredients are then dipped into a sauce, traditionally made with chili, garlic, lime and cilantro.

Best Place to Eat Lau in Hanoi

People Eating Lau a winter food in hanoi by Authentic Food Quest
Groups eating Lau in Hanoi

Lau is a popular street food in Hanoi and you will find types of hot pot served by street food vendors.

If you are tempted by the frog hot pot, check Linh Lẩu Ếch. This restaurant has tables inside and outside to taste the frog hot pot. 

You can also find other meats if the frog is not to your liking. The portions are generous, the ingredients are fresh and the meat is tasty.

Lau Ech 13 Nam Ngu

Address: 13 Nam Ngư, Hà Nội

Hours: Everyday day, all day, no hours listed.

Prices: Hot pot starts at 200,000 VND up to 500,000 VND based on the number of people (approx. $8.7 to $21.7)

8.  Banh Mi or Bánh Mì – Vietnamese Sandwich

Banh Mi in Hanoi Vietnamese Sandwich by Authentic Food Quest
Our first bánh mì sandwich in Hanoi

The banh mi 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. 

Banh mi is stuffed with pork, pâté, cured ham, a mélange of Vietnamese herbs and vegetables. Coriander, cucumber, carrot, slices, radish, and more make up for the banh mi vegetables depending on where you are in Vietnam.

A wealth of textures and flavors, you will savor spicy, salty, savory, sweet, and aromatic tastes in each bite. 

Our favorite banh mi sandwiches are actually not found in Hanoi, but in Hoi An, in central Vietnam.

Best Hanoi Street Food Vendor for Bánh Mì

Banh Mi Ngon Hanoi street food vendor by Authentic Food Quest
Banh Mi Ngon

In Hanoi, we stumbled onto Bánh Mì Ngon where we had two freshly made banh mi sandwiches for the first time. 

These banh mi sandwiches were filled with crispy herbs and vegetables, pate, a fried egg in a delightful homemade sauce. 

To add to the experience, the owner of this local banh mi place made us taste a local dessert. Pomelo slices topped with a mix of chili spices. A very nice and unexpected treat.

Bánh Mì Ngon

Address: 49 Đường Thành, Ha Noi

Hours: Open everyday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm

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

9. Che or Chè – Vietnamese Sweet Soup

Che Vietnamese dessert in the street of Hanoi by Authentic Food Quest
Refreshing chè on the streets of Hanoi

Che or Chè in Vietnamese, literally means desserts. It is the word for traditional Vietnamese desserts and also Vietnamese sweet soups. 

Chè sweet soups are typically made of several ingredients mixed together and served in a large glass.

Che desserts are a perfect end to your meal, especially if eating a light meal like banh cuon. 

In Hanoi, you’ll find che vendors on the street. When it is cooler, delight in a warm bowl of chè deserts. When it’s hot, you will appreciate crushed ice added to your che dessert.

Lady Serving Che Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Street vendor making chè for us

On the street food vendor’s cart, you’ll find different ingredients in large bowls on display. When you order your che dessert, simply point to the ingredients you want.

Some of the typical ingredients include mung beans or mung bean paste, black beans, corn, taro, tapioca, jelly and more.

che troi nuoc One of the Vietnamese Desserts Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Tasty and gingery che troi nuoc dessert

Due to the Chinese influence in Hanoi, you will find a special che called chè trôi nước. 

This is a sweet soup made with mung bean balls wrapped in a glutinous rice flour dipped in a warm ginger sauce. 

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: if you want to learn to make your own che, check out our Che Ba Mau Recipe, an Easy and Refreshing Vietnamese Dessert to Make at Home

Best Hanoi Street Food Vendor to Eat Che

Che Diep Bo Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Chè street vendor

While in Hanoi, we stumbled onto a che street food vendor surrounded by a group of locals. On display were a variety of ingredients for che. 

We ordered one chè dessert mixed with every ingredient she had on the cart. And, we also ordered a delicious warm ginger soup with sesame balls.

SmallStoolSharingChe_FoodinVietnam_Authenticfoodquest
Sitting on small stools while eating chè dessert with locals in Hanoi

Both were excellent and filling desserts. The best part was making conversations with the locals who helped us order. One of the joys of traveling through local food is connecting with the people. 

Don’t hesitate when in Hanoi. Simply pull up a small stool next to the locals and start a conversation through food. You’ll be surprised how enriching the experience can be.

Bánh Trôi Tầu – Diep Beo

Address: 52 Hàng Điếu, Hanoi

Hours: Open everyday from 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm 

Prices: 10,000 VND to 25,000 VND (approx. $0.44 USD to $1.10 USD)

10. Ca Phe Trung or Cà Phê Trung- Vietnamese Egg Coffee 

Egg Coffee Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Rich and silky egg coffee

Although it is not technically a food specialty, Ca Phe Trung or Cafe Trung is a Hanoi specialty coffee.

This Vietamese egg coffee 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. 

This egg coffee was born out of necessity. It is said to have been created in Hanoi in 1946 to cope with dairy shortages during the Indochina War.  

Unlike Mexican coffee which is made with arabica bean, Vietnam’s coffee is made from robusta beans.  This coffee tends to be strong, harsh, and bitter and is often consumed with milk to balance out the flavors.

During the war and due to milk shortages, Nguyen Van Giang, a bartender at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, created egg coffee. 

He is said to have whisked in an egg to the coffee giving birth to this legendary Hanoi coffee drink.

Today, Vietnamese egg coffee is closer to a dessert than coffee.  It is made with creamy condensed milk and beaten up egg yolk until it becomes an airy, creamy and like meringue.

Egg coffee is an experience, especially when you want caffeine and dessert at the same time.

Best Hanoi Coffee Shop for Egg Coffee

Cafe Pho Co View in Hanoi by Authentic Food Quest
View of Hanoi at night from Cafe Pho Co

There are several coffee shops and places to enjoy a silky Vietnamese egg coffee.

One place that offers the best view in Hanoi is a hidden and difficult to find coffee shop called Café Phố Cổ. 

Cafe Pho Co Entrance Must Eat in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest
Hidden entrance of Cafe Pho Co

This quaint coffee shop makes you pass through a narrow corridor before you get to the bottom of the stairs. From there, hike up the stairs until you reach the rooftop. 

With a pick onto the Old Quarter and picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view.

Café Phố Cổ

Address: 11 Hàng Gai, Hàng Trống, Hà Nội

Hours: Open everyday from 8:00 am until 11:00 pm 

Prices: 30,000 VND for a cup of egg coffee (approx. $1.34 USD)

Check Our Map of The Best Local Food in Hanoi 

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In Summary 

Hanoi Food and Northern Vietnamese food has its own unique tastes and flavors. The balance of flavors, the influence of the weather and the unique ingredients make for a wonderful culinary adventure.

Many of the best dishes are found on the streets, on small plastic tables and chairs. For a local and authentic food experience on your travels, put any hesitation aside of eating on the streets. 

Instead, sit with the locals and try some of the local specialties and the must eat food in Hanoi.

Do you like Northern Vietnamese food? Which Hanoi food have you had or would like to try? Leave your comments below.

Savor the Adventure!

Where to Stay in Hanoi

To taste a slice of local life in Hanoi, consider booking your stay at La Santé Hotel & Spa in Ba Dinh.

The hotel is close to the city’s main attractions such as Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Vietnam Military History Museum, the Old Quarter, and Truc Bach Lake, which is perfect for running. 

Find authentic Vietnamese cuisine and Hanoi food at the hotel restaurant.

Click this link to search for more accommodation options in Hanoi.

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Hanoi Food Guide by AuthenticFoodQuest

62 comments

  1. I live in Ho Chi Minh City, I’ve eaten all of the above. However, I don’t know if the taste is the same as in Ha Noi. Hope to have a chance to try. Thank you for sharing this article

    Reply
  2. The first time I was in Hanoi I did a Food tour of the Old Quarter. You can do the walk at lunchtime or in the evening, and make sure that you are really, really hungry, otherwise, you miss out on a lot of good food. It was a lot of fun, the food was tasty, and a treasure trove of information.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for explaining the meaning of the name in Vietnamese. Indeed, were surprised to see it on several restaurants in Hanoi. That’s what we love and want to inspire others to do – is visit the small family owned local restaurants. Cheers!!

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  3. I have a Vietnamese friend who cooks the most delicious things! Would love to try the bun cha, although I think I would mostly stuff myself on seafood ?

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    • That’s awesome that you have access to home cooked Vietnamese foods. Yum!! The bun cha is indeed as delicious as it looks. Hope you can visit the country for yourself. It is quite amazing. Thanks for your comments.

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    • Where in Vietnam were you? Agree, the Bahn mi sandwich is quite tasty and easy to eat. Did you like the egg coffee? I found it more like a treat and less like a drink. Thanks for your comments and sharing the Vietnam love :)!!

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    • Thanks, Salome, appreciate your kind words. Do let us know if you have any questions about the food as you prepare to visit Vietnam. You will love all the delicious foods. Don’t hesitate to reach out!! Cheers.

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  4. Oh wow…. I now wanna go to Vietnam for that food:) Yummy…. And I commend you for eating on the side of the streets… where you normally get the authentic flavors/foods:)

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    • Eating on the streets is one of the best places to experience the local food and culture. It’s actually quite safe and we never got seek. Try eating on the streets when you make it to Vietnam, and please let us know how it goes. Thanks for your comments.

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  5. Seeing all of this food is really making me reminisce about my time in Vietnam and eating some of this delicious food. I didn’t get to eat all of it but that means I’ll just have to go back there soon!!

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  6. OMG. Cha ca is my favorite!! I would seek it out specifically on a Hanoi trip. And thanks for sharing a few things that I’ve never heard of (and we eat a lot of Vietnamese food).

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  7. Egg coffee?! That looks incredible. And here I thought my area had some decent Vietnamese food…I’m going to have to ask around and see if I can get some here in NY otherwise I guess I’ll just add it to my to-try list when I visit Vietnam.

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  8. Honestly, I’ve never had Vietnamese food but this post is making me want to try it! All the dishes looked so good. I’m definitely going to have to find a local Vietnamese restaurant to try since I’m not sure if a trip to Vietnam is in my future.

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    • Thrilled to read that this article is whetting your appetite for Vietnamese food. It is simply amazing – fresh and flavorful, it is one of our favorite cuisines. Yes, please try a local Vietnamese restaurant and please check back and let us know what you think. Cheers!

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  9. I love Vietnamese food and visiting Vietnam. Hanoi is a favourite city. I have eaten many of the dishes you recommend, except for the Vietnamese sandwich. I have a friend in the city and she took the family out for local specialities. How long did you spend in Hanoi?

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    • Thanks Nancy for your comments. Sounds like you had the perfect local tour guide for your visit to Hanoi. We spent a total of one month in Vietnam and about 10 days in Hanoi. A great city and amazing experience. Did you have a particular local food specialty you loved? Let us know!!

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  10. I’ve really enjoyed the Vietnamese food I’ve tried in the states and would love to explore the authentic thing. Pho is one of my favorite things on a cold and wet day. Thanks for the inspiration to plan a trip!

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  11. We have a really great Vietnamese restaurant just outside of Vancouver that i frequent often for Pho. But that egg coffee, it looks delish! I am excited for the food when we visit Vietnam! I love these types of posts so I know exactly where to go when we get there!

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    • Thanks, Lindsay and glad you enjoyed the post with the handy addresses. The egg coffee is quite a delicious experience and worth trying 🙂 Lucky you for having a great Vietnamese restaurant you frequent. See if they have other local specialities beyond Pho. You will be amazed and delighted!

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  12. Mmm.. Vietnamese food- those pictures are making me hungry. Everything looks amazing and it was great to include the places you can find the dishes. I have been on a huge pork kick lately so can’t wait to try Bún Chả!

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  13. Funny enough, I actually had made an egg coffee myself before ever traveling to Vietnam (and got viciously made fun of/ gross out from co-workers). When we found one in Vietnam, I was taking photos and sending it to everyone saying (SEE!? I’M NOT CRAZY!!!)

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    • Wow, that’s impressive that you’ve made egg coffee. Is it difficult to make? Does it look and taste like this one from Hanoi. Yes, keep spreading the love for Vietnamese food. It is worth exploring, especially the authentic and must have dishes of Hanoi. Cheers.

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  14. Excellent article. We just got back from Vietnam, but stayed mainly in the south and didn’t make it to Hanoi. We found Hoi An to be an amazing destination for food. Next time I head to Vietnam, I’ll bring your article … and an appetite for crab spring rolls. Yum.

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    • Awesome to hear you found Hoi An amazing for food. We agree and will be writing about our discoveries shortly. Hanoi is also quite interesting for the food and worth a visit the next time you are in Vietnam. So glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you!!

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  15. As always, I love your writing. You do such a great job of putting the food and culture first and then sliding in the eating suggestions. I think I could really go for some egg coffee right now just because I am feeling nappy but everything you pictured looks absolutely fabulous.

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    • Thank you so much for your feedback and glad to know you enjoy our articles. All of it is delicious and the egg coffee is quite a special treat. Hope you can get to Vietnam and enjoy this delights in Hanoi. Cheers!

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  16. All these street food dishes look amazing, I love Vietnamese food and surprised I haven’t visited this amazing country yet. You really have captures some delicious food in this country.

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  17. I’ve had try only Banh-Mi sandwich before. I really like it, but I’m sure it’s nothing like the real one. The egg coffee seems very interesting and made me a big impression. I would definitely love to try it. What do you think about it? Did you like it?

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    • The egg coffee is quite unique. It is thick and creamy and more like a dessert. Eaten in moderation is it quite delicious. Glad you already like the Bahn Mi sandwich. Explore deeper with these recommendations!! Cheers.

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  18. I am drooling. Great recommendations. I would love to try the crab spring rolls. They look delicious. Thanks for providing the address as well it is super useful.

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