Known around the globe, the delectable Hanoi street food is a must-try for travellers heading to Vietnam. Here, food is much more than a necessity – it’s a way of life. As soon as the sun comes up, the Old Quarter is alive with noise and clamour as street food vendors fire up their stoves and prepare for a busy day of trading.
If you just have a couple of days in Hanoi, you might be wondering about the best Hanoi street foods and where to try them. With so many sensory delights to tuck into, it’s a struggle to know where to begin.
Hanoian food is all about balance: Locals pair smoky and sharp flavours (like barbecue pork with lime) and creamy with sweet textures. The result? Meals you’ll be craving years into the future.
So let’s dive into the best street food in Hanoi! In this food blog, we’re going to be trying a different dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’d best be hungry…
Why not time your day of sightseeing around some of the best street food in Hanoi City? A day eating your way around the capital is a day well spent in our book!
Breakfast – banh cuon
This moreish breakfast dish is a favourite with locals, yet it’s relatively unknown around the world. Even down south in Saigon you’ll only find banh cuon served at Hanoian restaurants. Try it on the streets of Vietnam’s capital for the very best experience!
Banh cuon is made with soft, rolled rice batter filled with a flavoursome pork and mushroom mix. Like the best Hanoi Vietnamese food, it’s served with fish sauce, spicy chilli, fresh herbs and a sprinkling of fried onion. Banh cuon is soft yet crunchy, smoky yet tangy and undeniably moreish.
Where to eat banh cuon in Hanoi: Bahn Cuon Kim Thoa. If it’s good enough for Anthony Bourdain, it’s good enough for us!
Address: Bánh Cuốn Nóng, 49 Hàm Tử Quan, Phúc Tân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
“Bahn Cuon Kim Thoa is my favourite not only because the food is delicious and the herbs are fresh, but also because the owner is so friendly and always remembers me when I come.” – Emily Rose Wanders, Hanoi expat
Lunch – bun cha
After some city sightseeing (read our guide to Hanoi’s lesser-known attractions) to walk up an appetite, head for the most delicious dish in Hanoi (in our humble opinion). This broth-based noodle dish combines all the most mouthwatering flavours from Vietnam. Pork patties simmer in a fragrant soup with a side of rice noodles and a crispy portion of fried spring rolls (known as nem). What’s not to love? Season generously with herbs and spices and wash down with a cool Hanoi beer. Bliss!
Where to eat bun cha in Hanoi: We love Bun Cha Tuyet. This atmospheric cafe doles out the freshest pork in the city.
Address: 34 Hàng Than, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Dinner – pho (bo and ga)
No Hanoi street food guide would be complete without at least one portion of pho, would it? Pho may sound simple enough, but the devil is in the detail: high-quality local ingredients and a rich broth flavoured with lemongrass and chilli. No one knows how to prepare a steaming noodle soup quite like the Vietnamese.
Pho in Hanoi is most commonly served with bo (beef) or ga (chicken), but you’ll find some vendors who cater to vegetarians.
Where to eat pho in Hanoi: Let us rephrase – where not to eat pho in Hanoi? Every other stall in the Old Quarter serves it, but if you want a guaranteed winner, make the journey to Pho Thin. Known as one of the best restaurants in Hanoi, they’ve been serving pho for 30 years. We hope they don’t stop anytime soon!
Address: 13 Lò Đúc, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Ready to indulge for a second day running? Of course you are! Some of the best food is in the Hanoi Old Quarter, so let’s begin the day there…
Breakfast – bun rieu
Soup for breakfast? When in Hanoi, all rules go out the window. Despite its distant proximity to the ocean, Hanoi has some undeniably tasty seafood dishes. Bun rieu is a soup made with crab meat, shrimp paste and tofu. These tasty ingredients simmer in a tomato-based broth (who said you wouldn’t get your 5 a day in Hanoi?) and come served with a side of banana flower salad.
Where to eat bun rieu in Hanoi: You can search far and wide, but you won’t find a better spot than Bún riêu cua Hàng Bạc, a tiny restaurant on a popular Hanoi food street. Grab a red stool and slurp down your breakfast with the locals. As Hanoi restaurants in the Old Quarter go, it doesn’t get more authentic than this.
Address: 11 Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Lunch – banh mi
It wouldn’t be a Hanoi food blog without banh mi, that’s for sure. These famous Vietnamese baguettes were brought to Asia by the French and never left. Unlike typical French sandwiches, they’re served with the staple Vietnamese ingredients: pork, tofu, carrot, coriander, cucumber, mint and chilli. They’re seriously flavorful, so we challenge you to just eat one!
Where to eat banh mi in Hanoi: While Banh Mi 25 is loved by Western tourists, why not be more adventurous and visit Bahn Mi Tram? Their hearty sandwiches packed with fresh ingredients are known all around the city.
Address: 252 Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Cửa Nam Hoàn Kiếm Hanoi, Vietnam
Dinner – bun bo nam bo
Finishing this Hanoi food guide with a beloved dish only found in Hanoi, enter bun bo nam bo. With ‘bun’ meaning noodle (remember bun cha?) and bo meaning beef, you might have a few ideas as to what this dish is about. While it’s described as a salad, don’t expect a light and healthy meal: bun bo nam bo is comprised of beef, noodles, lettuce and peanuts. Well, at least there’s one vegetable there, right?
The rich peanutty taste of this dish makes it one of our favourites. As with all Vietnamese meals, you’ll find a pot of fish sauce on your table designed for copious usage. Dig in!
Where to eat bun bo nam bo in Hanoi: Where would be more straightforward (and delicious) than Bun Bo Nam Bo? This restaurant has 4 outlets in Hanoi and a simple menu at each one. No prizes for guessing what the signature dish is!
If you’re unsure what to try first, you could also…
Visit the Hanoi Night Market
If you’re looking for the best place to find all of these dishes, then why not visit the Hanoi Night Market for some street food in abundance? This busy market runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 6pm. Here you can try popular Vietnamese dishes and local desserts in an atmospheric setting.
Address: Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Join a street food tour
Another thing you can opt to do is take a gastronomical Hanoi street food walking tour with a local guide who knows all the best foodie spots in town! You’ll be able to try pho, bánh cuốn and bun cha – delicious local dishes featuring Vietnam’s famous ‘yin and yang’ concept of contrasting flavours. Plus, there’s beer and coffee included – definitely a win!
Take a cooking class
You could also learn how to make tasty dishes such as bun cha, nem ran, cha ca, pho and fresh spring rolls in a Hanoi Cooking Class & Market Tour. You’ll get to visit an authentic market and take in local life as you shop for fresh ingredients and enjoy herbal drinks, unlimited beer, coffee and soft drinks!
We hope you’re all feeling hungry after enjoying this Hanoi street food blog! Go ahead and dig in with your all-new Vietnamese vocab. Check out a complete list of Hanoi adventures here.