Perhaps one of the best ways to discover a new place is to try out the traditional food of the people there. It can help to show their agricultural culture, the living style and sometimes even the characteristics of the citizens. Therefore, if you are considering Vietnam, or specifically Hanoi, to be your next destination, let’s take a look at some Vietnamese traditional food you shouldn’t miss when you come to Hanoi.
Pho is a kind of soup consisting of broth of Beef or Chicken and sometimes stewed-bond soups. Rice noodle or called bánh phở, slice of Beef (all different cuts) called “Pho bo”. Chop Chicken with bone and chicken broth called “Pho ga”.
Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam where it found almost a century ago from the northern Vietnam.
You can also see Pho in almost all areas in Vietnam from the North to the South. However, the flavor of broth and the ingredients to make rice noodle and toppings might get quite different in each area.
Where to eat
The most recommended destinations to try out Pho are “Pho Thin”, which has had 30 years of experience in making Pho (located in 13, Lo Duc street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi) and “Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su”, which is located in 10, Ly Quoc Su street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
30.000 – 60.000 VND/ serving
2, Bun cha (Rice Vermicelli with Barbecued pork)
“Bun cha” will be served with a plate of vermicelli (bun), a bowl of broth with grilled pork, and a basket of fresh greens. Bun, the vermicelli noodles, are served on a separate plate.
To make a decent bowl of bun cha, the vermicelli has to be thin, soft, and chewy. Cha is the meat of this dish, served in a bowl. The meat is made from pork and cooked in two styles: cha vien (ground pork) and cha mieng (grilled thin sliced pork).
The delicious bun cha dish has to be made from lean pork belly and shoulder only. Meat is cut into large pieces and marinated with spices to absorb. In particular, the meat is marinated with water that is cooked from 3 tablespoons of sugar and filtered water to yellow the meat when grilled rather than coloring chemicals.
Bun cha should be eaten with some side vegetables including chili sauce, green papaya, lettuce, banana flower and other herbs.
Where to eat
- “Bun cha Huong Lien” at 24, Le Van Huu street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi.
- “Bun cha” at 34, Hang Than street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi.
25.000 – 50.000 VND/ serving.
3. Banh cuon (Steamed rice rolled)
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. It is often served with a dipping sauce made of various ingredients such as vinegar, fish sauce, and pepper.
“Banh cuon” also consists of some different types depending on the regions it comes from, and the difference often lie in the dipping sauce. For examples, “banh cuon” in Hanoi often served with dipping sauce of vinegar and fish sauce, while “banh cuon” in Cao Bang has the dipping sauce of stew-bones soup.
Where to eat
- “Banh cuon Phuong” at 16, Dao Duy Tu street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.
- “Banh cuon nong” at 54, Trieu Khuc street, Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi.
25.000 - 50.000 VND/ serving.
4. Banh duc
Banh duc is a series of steamed cake made of rice flour and molded into different shapes, usually a circle, rectangle, or triangle. You will eat this delicious type of rice cake with dipping sauces and it often has peanuts inside. Banh duc has two common varieties in Hanoi: savory banh duc and plain banh duc with peanut.
Where to eat
- Banh duc nong Le Ngoc Han, which is located at 8, Le Ngoc Han street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi
- “Banh duc Trung Tu” located in C2 Trung Tu, Dong Da district, Hanoi
15.000 – 30.000 VND/ serving
5. Com (Green rice flakes)
Com is freshly harvested sticky (glutinous/sweet) rice that's been toasted to bring out its delicate flavor. It can be eaten as is and out of hand. Though the grains quickly lose their delicate qualities (around 24 hours), people in the North enjoy them past their prime in other dishes.
Among the peoples of northern Vietnam, sticky rice is usually tender sticky rice, the grain of rice presses into milk, while in the central and southern regions, sticky rice usually uses rough sticky rice flakes that explode and then be spread and sweetened with sugar.
Where to eat/ buy
Vong village (also known as Hau village) is the most famous place to make and sell green rice, which is now located in Cau Giay district, Hanoi.
220.000 – 250.000/ kg
6. Bun thang (noodle with chicken soup)
Bun thang is a special dish both in its name and in how it’s made.
In the past, the Hanoian women cleverly used the remaining food from Tet (Vietnamese New Year) and combined the leftovers to make a new dish which was tasty and economical. The dish’s name is derived from this phrase: “Thang thuoc bo,” which means a package of rejuvenation.
Bun thang consists of many nutritious ingredients mixed together. The attraction here is the broth with natural sweetness, white noodles, soft chicken and rich flavor. Thang noodle has many colors of ingredients, the pungency of chili, garlic, the sweetness of bone in the broth..
Where to eat
- “Bun thang Giang Vo” at D2 Giang Vo street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi
- “Bun Thang” at 48, Cau Go street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
30.000 – 55.000 VND/ serving
7. Cha ca La Vong (La Vong’s grilled fish)
Grilled fish is marinated with a mixture of turmeric, garlic, galangal, salt, sugar and fish sauce. After marinating for about 1 hour, the fish will be briefly baked and then fried in oil to serve customers.
Grilled fish is often eaten with a variety of side dishes such as a piece of noodles, herbs, roasted peanuts, lemon chili, shrimp paste, and in the middle of the table will be a stove to put the fish pan on to boil.
This food is so famous that the street where the Doan live and sell cha ca is now known as “Cha Ca Street.” In their restaurant, the Doan family have placed a statue of La Vong (a chef in the 11th century BC) which is why people call the dish “cha ca La Vong.”
Where to eat
- “Cha Ca La Vong” store at 14, Cha Ca street and 107, Nguyen Truong To street, Hanoi.
- “Cha Ca Thang Long” at 19, Duong Thanh street, Hanoi.
150.000 – 350.000 VND/ serving
8. Xoi xeo (sticky rice with Mung Bean topping)
Xoi xeo is a typical breakfast food of Hanoians.
It’s made of steamed glutinous rice and other delicious ingredients. During the steaming process, the rice is mixed with chicken fat. This steamed rice is then paired with mung bean, which is steamed and ground, and topped with crispy fried shallot. This fresh yellow xoi xeo is packaged in lotus leaf. The smells of chicken fat, crispy fried shallot, and lotus leaf combine to make a nondescript yet delectable scent of xoi xeo.
Where to eat
You might encounter lots of vendors selling “Xoi xeo” on many streets in Hanoi in the morning. The flavors are not clearly different. But if you want a recommendation of Hanoians, the first places that come to their mind are “Xoi xeo co May” at Hang Bai street, Ly Thuong Kiet, Hanoi and “Xoi xeo chi Huong”, which is located near Hoang Van Thu park, Luong Khanh Thien street, Hanoi.
5.000 – 15.000 VND/ serving.
9. Che (sweet soup dessert)
Che is any traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, dessert soup or pudding.
There are various types of Che. Each region in Vietnam has its own typical recipe for che, and each region contains many kinds of “che”.
The most popular “che” is the one made with mung beans, black-eyed peas, tapioca, jelly (clear or grass), fruit (longan, mango, durian, lychee or jackfruit), and coconut cream. Other types are made with ingredients such as salt, aloe vera, seaweed, lotus seed, sesame seed, sugar palm seeds, taro, cassava and pandan leaf extract.
The ingredients are prepared with one of a number of varieties of beans, tubers, and/or glutinous rice, cooked in water and sweetened with sugar.
This dish is often enjoyed during summertime when it’s hot because “che” is often eaten with ice. However, Vietnamese people have invented other types of hot “che” that can be eaten in the cold weather of winter like che troi nuoc, may also include dumplings.
Where to eat
- “Che 4 mua” (4, Hang Can street, Hanoi).
- “Che thap cam 1976” (72 Tran Hung Dao street, Hanoi)
Ranging from 10.000 – 50.000 VND/ serving.
10. Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich)
“Banh mi” in Vietnam, at first, was influenced by French bread. However, as time passed by, Vietnamese people have turned it into a traditional food of Vietnam by inventing new ingredients and methods to make “banh mi”
Vietnamese bread was really shaped when the Hoa Ma shop of Mr. Hoa and Mrs. Tinh appeared.
Before the small shop appeared Vietnamese bread was still enjoyed in the Western way: that is, snack, spread butter or dip with soup.
Before coming to Saigon, Mr. Hoa and Mrs. Tinh had time to work for a bakery in Hanoi. Here, people sell bread separately with cold meats and will serve according to customer requirements. Feeling that this is too time-consuming, Mr. Hoa and his wife have devised ways to put all kinds of fillings into the bread - in case the guests do not have time to sit down at the restaurant to eat.
This creative idea have been spread through Vietnam and here we have Vietnamese sandwich nowadays.
Vietnamese sandwich now not only has cold meat, pate but also pork sausage, sour foods - which are the foods closer to Vietnamese cuisine.
Where to eat
- “Banh mi Pho Co” at 38, Dinh Liet street, Hanoi.
- “Banh mi Nguyen Sinh” at 19, Ly Quoc Su street, Hanoi.
20.000 – 40.000 VND/ serving
11. Spring rolls
Spring rolls is one of the oldest and most typical dish in Hanoi.
The dish consisted of a delicious piece of boiled meat, a large boiled shrimp, a little tangled noodles, a salad, a few stalks, marjoram skillfully cut with stalks.
This dish can be eaten with sweet and sour sauce or soy sauce. Perhaps because of the interesting color combination of spring rolls, the dish can satisfy the toughest diners.
Biting a rolling salad, feeling the chewy texture of the rice paper, the rich fat of bacon mixed with the sweetness of boiled shrimp, adding a little salty but of the sauce are a wonderful experience.
Spring roll has become an indispensable dish in Vietnamese restaurants’ menu.
Where to eat
- “Nem nuong Nha Trang” at 202, Hang Bong street, Hanoi.
- “Nem lui Kim Lien” at 1, Luong Dinh Cua street, Hanoi.
30.000 – 50.000 VND/ serving
12. Vietnamese egg coffee
Egg coffee is a Vietnamese-based beverage made from coffee (Robusta coffee) with chicken eggs (with honey added) and sweetened condensed milk.
According to the current owner of the cafe, egg coffee was born in the 1950s in Hanoi, due to the scarcity of fresh milk at that time, so his father, the first owner of the shop used the yolk. Chicken eggs as an alternative, later, this is a specialty of Hanoi.
Ingredients for making egg coffee include fresh chicken eggs, sugar, milk and coffee. Egg yolk is beaten by hand with milk, granulated sugar, then poured boiling coffee. Egg coffee is made from whipped egg, which will create a beautiful and fragrant foam layer.
Egg coffee has yellowish color and often served in a small cup.
Today, when the egg is very finely beaten, fluffy, smooth with a machine, there is an additional coffee of ice egg, cocoa cocoa, egg green bean, matcha (tea powder) egg ... all serve either hot or ice, depending on the taste of each person.
Where to eat
The first and most mentioned place for egg coffee must be “Ca phe Giang” at 39, Nguyen Huu Huan street, Hanoi. It was the first place to invent this special kind of coffee and has contributed to build the reputation of this traditional dish for many years. . "Giang Coffee" is Hanoi's oldest and most famous coffee shop serving this drink
20.000 – 35.000 VND/ cup
When you book tours to famous tourist attractions in Hanoi, please remember to give some time trying out the cuisine here so that you can have deeper feelings and memorable experience in the lands that you have left your steps behind.
If you are looing for a place to satisfy your curiosity about Northern Vietnamese cuisine, then Lang Lieu is exactly where you should head to!
Named after the progenitor of Vietnamese cuisine, we dedicate ourselves to providing a special journey back time so that every guest can fully sense Vietnamese culture-rich history through the food we serve. Our menu presents signature traditional dishes in Northern Vietnam, from the Old Quarter of Hanoi to the mountainous North-West and North-East. Also, located right in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, Lang Lieu has such a tranquil vibe that you will immediately find peace the moment you step past the door.
Book a table and start your culinary journey with us!