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Five Must Try Foods in Hanoi, Vietnam

There is a Vietnamese proverb that says “Ăn Bắc, mặc Nam” that means, "Eating as in the North (Hanoi), clothing as in the South (HoChiMinh city)". Food in Hanoi is known to have really rich traditions and encompasses Vietnam's most famous dishes. As you are travelling in Hanoi, we at Vintour recommend 5 dishes that you must try during your Hanoi holiday. Step out of your Hanoi hotel and satisfy your cravings with the following dishes:

1. Phở (Pho - flat rice noodles)

Ha Noi Pho

Pho is the most popular of Hanoi dishes. You can find Ha Noi pho in restaurants at every corner of the city. There are three elements that make up a bowl of Vietnamese pho: the broth, the rice noodles and the meat (beef for Pho Bo or chicken for Pho Ga). It is often served with basil, mint leaves, lime, and bean sprouts.

The broth is the key to a successful bowl of pho. It must be prepared following certain rules and standards to create perfect broth, with the right taste. There is no single technique to create broth. It’s generally made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, charred ginger and spices. The result is simply mouth-watering.

Be sure to check some of our recommendations for the best and the oldest Ha Noi pho restaurants.

Ha Noi Nem2. Nem (fried or fresh spring rolls)

The principle to cooking Nem is very simple. It is made from shrimp, pork, crab, chicken, glass noodle, wood-ear mushroom, carrot and green onion, wrapped in rice paper. Vietnamese spring rolls are made differently depending on the region. They may be served deep fried or fresh, filled with fresh herbs, lettuce, cucumbers, and sometimes with fresh garlic chives. Vietnamese spring rolls are deliciously served with a dipping sauce. A standard sauce is composed of fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, sugar, chilli and boiled water.  


Ha Noi Banh Cuon3. Bánh cuốn (Rolled rice pancake)

Banh cuon is a paper-thin, steamed rice, flour pancake, rolled with minced pork and black mushrooms. The cake preparing process includes grilled rice which is steamed and spread with oil to have that sweet smell. The cake is served with salted shredded shrimp and fried dry onions. It is often eaten with different sides of pork sausages and fresh herbs.

Banh cuon in Ha Noi is a light dish traditionally eaten as breakfast in Hanoi, but can also be eaten as a late night snack.

Ha Noi Bun Cha4. Bún chả (Grilled Pork Noodle)

Bun cha
is a dish that originated from Hanoi. Imagine a plate of white rice noodle (bún), served with meat grilled over hot coals, along with a steamy fish sauce, fresh herbs and vegetables. Depending on the locality, it may have a different sauce which is mixed with sugar, vinegar or lemon juice, garlic, pepper, some sliced papayas, and carrots.

If Phở is popular for breakfast, Bún chả is for lunch. Bún chả is served in every Hanoi street food stall.

O Mai Hanoi5. O Mai (Hanoi jam)

O Mai is a good-looking and delicious delicacy of Hanoi. It is made from fresh sour apricots that are fermented, dried, salted, sprinkled with ginger, and then fried. There are many kinds O Mai such as apricot ginger, biting apricot, apricot licorice, apricot spicy, soothing plum, salt lemon, sugarine lemon, tamarind chilli, etc.

Drinking a cup of tea with O Mai is the best way to take a break and relax.

For more information about what and where to eat in Hanoi, check out our Hanoi Restaurant Guide. Also find information about booking hotels on our Hanoi Hotels page. Feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions about what to eat, see or do while travelling Ha Noi!