Uncovering the Delights of Hanoi Street Food

Hanoi is a paradise for street food enthusiasts, offering a unique culinary experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the country. Recognizing the high demand and popularity of Hanoi street food scene, we now organize Hanoi street food tours, ensuring that every tourist can indulge in a gastronomic adventure without missing out on any specialties. The roadside establishments serving these delectable dishes may lack extravagant decor, opting instead for a minimalist design and simple seating arrangements, allowing people to fully immerse themselves in the pleasure of eating.

Hanoi Street Food Culture

The street food culture in Vietnam is not confined to Hanoi alone; it permeates throughout the entire country, forming a significant part of Vietnamese identity that they deeply cherish. But what exactly does this culture entail, and what delightful treats can you expect to find?

Street food stalls can be as simple as a humble food stand nestled on the sidewalk. They are ubiquitous, from serene residential areas to bustling motorways. Each stall is equipped with all the necessary cooking equipment, ranging from gas stoves with gas bottles to barbecues, pots, pans, soup bowls, plates, and cutlery. Many of these vibrant stalls also provide low stools and tables for their guests to savor their meals comfortably, and these items can be effortlessly stored when needed. However, the street food concept extends beyond the stalls; some locals prepare delectable dishes in their own homes and sell them directly on the streets. In such cases, you’ll often find inviting rows of low plastic stools placed on the sidewalk in front of their houses.

Enjoying Hanoi Street Food

Enjoying Hanoi Street Food

An intriguing aspect of Hanoi street food culture is that many stalls specialize in serving just one signature dish. This practice ensures that every order is made fresh and bursting with flavors.

Despite the diverse array of dishes offered by these stalls, they all have one thing in common – affordability. Indulging in the scrumptious world of Vietnamese street food won’t break the bank; you’ll typically pay no more than $1.5 for a soul-warming bowl of noodle soup or a mere $1 for a mouthwatering filled baguette.

To fully savor Hanoi street food, you can explore the bustling streets of the Old Quarter and its surrounding areas. It is often said that the true food experience in Hanoi lies within the vibrant streets, bustling with meat butchers, fruit vendors, and most notably, the famous “bun cha” farmers who cannot be overlooked.

Must-Try Hanoi Street Foods

Besides some globally popular dishes like Pho and Banh mi, Hanoi offers an extensive array of delectable street foods that are definitely worth a try. In this article, we will suggest you top must-try signature street foods of Hanoi, ensuring that you don’t miss out on these delectable culinary delights.

Boiled snails (Oc Luoc) – Well-liked Hanoi Street Food

On a breezy day in Hanoi, you’ll witness a bustling scene where numerous individuals gather around bustling sidewalk stalls, offering a delectable assortment of snails. Visitors sit in proximity on plastic chairs, leisurely sipping steaming cups of tea while awaiting a serving of steamed snails. The enticing flavors of this dish captivate individuals of all ages. Hanoi’s culinary enthusiasts recommend indulging in the authentic essence of snails by opting for a bowl of boiled snails, devoid of additional spices, accompanied solely by a touch of lemongrass and a few lemon leaves. By dipping the hot snails into a tangy sauce infused with fish sauce, ginger, garlic, chili, lemon, and lemongrass, you can truly comprehend why this culinary dish remains a beloved choice among many people.

Boiled snails (Oc Luoc) - Must-try Hanoi street food

Boiled snails (Oc Luoc)

Pork Rib Porridge (Chao Suon)

Pork rib porridge has long served as a comforting afternoon snack, a light Vietnamese breakfast, or a warming late-night treat for the Hanoians. The key ingredients of this dish are simple: white rice and spare ribs. The ribs must be expertly cooked, while the rice should be thick, velvety, aromatic, and subtly sweet. A flawless bowl of pork rib porridge is crafted through the harmonious interplay of a rich broth, tender pork, and slow-cooked rice. When enjoying, you’ll eat this porridge with twisted bagel bites and a hint of pepper or chili powder. The smooth consistency of the porridge, the melt-in-your-mouth braised pork ribs, and the satisfying crunch of the bagel twists blend together flawlessly, providing a comforting warmth.

Pork rib porridge

Pork rib porridge

Stuffed Sticky Rice Ball (Banh Troi Tau)

Don’t miss to experience the perfect Hanoi street food on a frosty winter day with the”banh troi tau” (stuffed sticky rice balls). In a small bowl of banh troi, you’ll find two delectable dumplings, one filled with mung beans and the other bursting with black sesame seeds. These dumplings are gently boiled in a ginger-infused syrup, causing them to gracefully float on the surface, earning the name “banh troi” which translates to “floating dumplings.” Upon serving, the dumplings are immersed in a thick, dark-brown sauce, infused with the essence of ginger. This ginger addition not only enhances the fragrance but also provides a comforting warmth, perfect for warding off the winter chill. To add a touch of richness and nutrition, you can savor this delectable treat with some crushed peanuts.

Stuffed sticky rice ball (Banh troi Tau)

Stuffed sticky rice ball (Banh troi Tau)

Pillow Cake

Banh goi, also known as pillow cake or Vietnamese dumplings, is a must-try delicacy for your Hanoi street food adventure. This treat can be found at various markets and street corners throughout Hanoi. Encased in a shaped pastry resembling a pillow, Banh goi entices food enthusiasts with its crispy exterior, which encloses a delightful filling of ground meat, vermicelli, wood ear mushrooms, and quail eggs. To complement its rich flavors, you’ll enjoy banh goi with a sweet and tangy sauce, alongside a variety of fresh vegetables and herbs such as lettuce, coriander, and pickles. Whether savored for breakfast or as a late afternoon snack, the alluring taste of pillow cake is sure to captivate your palate.

Banh goi - Must-try Hanoi street food

Banh goi

Banh Mi with Wine Sauce (Banh Mi Sot Vang)

Your Hanoi street food guide would be incomplete without mentioning “banh mi sot vang” – a familiar dish that features the beloved Vietnamese bread known as “banh mi.” Originally derived from a traditional French stew of beef braised in red Burgundy wine, this dish has undergone modifications to suit Vietnamese tastes. While the sauce still incorporates red wine as its base, the spices and flavors have been adapted to create a unique Vietnamese rendition. Fragrant warm spices such as cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom replace the herbs like parsley, rosemary, and thyme. The result is an extraordinary, aromatic, and indulgently rich Vietnamese beef stew. This flavorful stew pairs perfectly with crispy, freshly baked banh mi, providing a delightful combination. Additionally, it can also be enjoyed with noodles, offering a versatile dining experience.

Banh mi sot vang

Banh mi sot vang

During the winter days in Hanoi, everyone always wants to enjoy some hot snacks in the afternoon, and one of the most sought-after dishes is fried banana cake, known as “chuoi ran.” This delectable treat captivates food enthusiasts with its lustrous golden crust, satisfyingly crispy texture, and delightful sweetness concealed within. The key ingredient that brings this dish to life is the use of ripe bananas, commonly known as “honey” bananas in Vietnamese, characterized by their wrinkled skin and black spots. Across the numerous stalls in Hanoi, you can witness a familiar scene unfold, a bowl filled with flour mixed with banana slices, a large frying pan brimming with oil, and a rack presenting these cakes with their enticing golden hue. Typically, these mouthwatering delights are sold at approximately 10,000 VND per piece.

Fried banana cake

Fried banana cake

Vietnamese Plain Rice Flan (Banh Duc)

When traveling to Hanoi, you shouldn’t miss out on the plain rice flan, a must-try street food that stands as one of the most humble dishes in the Northern region. Its essence lies in non-glutinous rice flour or corn flour, combined with peanuts to create a delicacy with a jelly-like appearance and a gentle taste.

Plain rice flan (Banh duc) - Must-try Hanoi street food

Plain rice flan (Banh Duc)

Whether served hot or cold, Vietnamese plain rice flan is commonly accompanied by soy sauce and occasionally complemented with tofu. The buttery notes of peanuts and rice flour mingle with the spicy sweetness of soy sauce and the texture of tofu, creating a refreshing dish that provides respite from scorching summer days. It also serves as a delightful treat during winter, when you can enjoy a steaming bowl of plain rice flan adorned with ground pork, finely-chopped wood ears, crispy fried onions, roasted sesame seeds, and fragrant herbs. Each season unveils its distinct flavors, offering a unique experience with every bite of plain rice flan.

Fried Chung Cake

Banh Chung, known as Chung cake, is a revered dish in Vietnam, particularly during the Lunar New Year festivities. However, it also holds a special place as popular street food in Hanoi during winter. Just like other delectable street foods found in Hanoi, pan-fried Chung cake can be easily found along numerous sidewalks and alleys. Crafting a delectable Chung cake involves the art of deep-frying it on both sides, transforming its texture from soft to chewy. The aim is to ensure a crispy outer layer while maintaining a hot and slightly tender interior consisting of sticky rice and succulent fatty meat. To enhance its appeal, the people of Hanoi often accompany it with a serving of vegetable pickles. Besides, you can choose to eat Chung cake with various toppings, such as sausage, cha com (green sticky rice patties), and gio lua (lean pork paste).

Fried Chung cake

Fried Chung cake

Deep-fried Fermented Pork Roll (Nem Chua Ran)

Nem chua ran stands out as one of the deep-fried delicacies found abundantly in Hanoi. Its irresistible appeal lies in its crispy exterior and chewy interior. Crafted from a combination of flour, cured pork, and pork rinds, nem chua ran undergoes a natural fermentation process for a brief period to ensure it retains its desired flavor without becoming overly sour. Subsequently, it is seasoned, coated in flour, deep-fried to perfection, and finally cut into bite-sized pieces. This renowned street food of Hanoi is commonly accompanied by refreshing slices of pineapple, and cucumber, and savored with a tantalizing chili sauce. A tray containing 10 nem chua ran pieces typically costs around 40,000 VND.

Nem chua ran

Nem chua ran

Trung Vit Lon – A Street Food to Challenge Your Taste Buds

Trung vit lon, also known as balut, is a traditional Vietnamese street dish consisting of a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and then eaten directly from the shell. While it may not be as well-known or widely consumed by tourists, it is indeed a popular choice among locals in Vietnam. Balut is commonly found at Hang Rong shops, which are small food stalls or vendors specializing in quick and affordable meals. These shops are often frequented by locals looking for a comforting supper or breakfast option. Balut is typically served with a side of salt and ginger, which adds flavor and enhances the overall dining experience. For those open to trying new and adventurous foods, it can provide a unique culinary experience and a glimpse into Vietnamese gastronomy.

Trung vit lon - Must-try Hanoi street food

Trung vit lon

>>> If you want to go beyond your limits with other unusual dishes in Vietnam, check out Top 10 Unusual Vietnamese Foods that Challenge your Taste Buds.

Fresh Fruits with Crushed Ice (Hoa Qua Dam)

Hoa qua dam is a delightful combination of mixed fresh fruits with crushed ice. This treat garners the attention of both locals and tourists throughout the year, particularly during summer. It presents an unparalleled opportunity to combat the sweltering heat while indulging in a refreshing assortment of fruits packed with essential vitamins.

Depending on the season, the medley typically includes popular fruits such as strawberries, avocados, grapes, longans, lychees, mangoes, jackfruits, dragon fruits, papayas, guavas, and watermelons. These fruits are meticulously washed, peeled, and sliced into bite-sized pieces, then combined with condensed milk, coconut milk, fruit syrup, and soft jelly. In addition to the classic blend of mixed fruits with coconut milk, you can enjoy this delectable treat with yogurt, ice cream, and caramel, which provides a diverse range of culinary experiences to suit various palates.

Fresh fruits with crushed ice (Hoa qua dam)

Fresh fruits with crushed ice (Hoa qua dam)

Tofu Pudding (Tao Pho) – A Must-Try Street Food in Hanoi

During the scorching days of summer, no one can resist the allure of tofu pudding (tao pho), the beloved street food in Hanoi. In traditional, a bowl of tofu pudding consists of soybeans, fragrant jasmine sugar syrup, and a generous serving of ice. However, the Hanoians have elevated its taste by incorporating a variety of enticing toppings. Now, you can relish the addition of grass jelly, tapioca pearls, shredded coconut, and dried coconut, making each spoonful a burst of flavor. The distinctive taste of soybeans, coupled with the sweetness of the sugar syrup and the delicate aroma of jasmine flowers, harmoniously intertwines with the refreshing chill of the ice. They create a fresh summer that satisfies every palate, even those experiencing it for the first time.

Tofu pudding (Tao pho) - Must-try Hanoi street food

Tofu pudding (Tao pho)

For food enthusiasts, the street food scene in Hanoi offers a delightful and affordable alternative that can be a refreshing departure from the norm. It is a sentiment commonly expressed by all those who embark on a city tour of Hanoi – to forgo indulging in its street food would mean overlooking an experience of great significance. Hanoi, a city brimming with culinary treasures, is a paradise for those who relish the idea of savoring delicious food. If you’re planning a trip to Hanoi, do not hesitate to contact us for immersing yourself in the long culture of the city through delicious street cuisine.

Read more: 

We are here to help you...

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our specialists

Truong Giang

Hi, I'm Giang. As a person who is passionate about discovering the world, I hope that my writings will help you gain more experience for your trip when visiting Southeast Asian countries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published

You might also like

IDC Travel & GolfLux Year End Party 2023 – A Look Back on a Year of Great Success

IDC Travel & GolfLux Year End Party welcomed all company members & their families as well as close partners and guests. This…

14 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia: Ultimate Journey to Southeast Asia

Let’s go for a journey through Southeast Asia, a region where ancient traditions seamlessly intertwine with modern cityscapes. In the heart of…

13 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia: Exploring the Gems of Indochina

Cambodia and Vietnam are unique in terms of culture, religion, history, modern development, and landscapes. In a circuit of 13 days in…

Create My Trip