10 of the Most Authentic Hanoi Food

Hanoi food is widely acclaimed for its exceptionally diverse and distinctive, making this city a culinary gem in Asia and beyond. The city’s culinary offerings encompass a delightful symphony of flavors, ranging from the vibrant and contrasting notes of sweet, sour, and spicy to the satisfying crunch of fresh herbs. If you’ve already had a taste of Vietnamese cuisine, you may be familiar with popular dishes like pho and bun cha, which can be found throughout the country. However, Hanoi boasts its own set of unique culinary delights. If you’re unsure about what to eat while in Hanoi, allow me to recommend some of the best local foods in Hanoi that are an absolute must-try. These dishes showcase the authentic flavors and specialties that Hanoi has to offer, providing you with a truly memorable dining experience.

Unique Features of Hanoi Cuisine

Hanoi’s culinary scene stands out prominently among other regional cuisines in Vietnam due to its remarkable and distinctive features. Here are some notable characteristics that make Hanoi’s cuisine truly unique:

  • Influences: Hanoi’s cuisine is a wonderful amalgamation of culinary influences from various regions and cultures, with notable contributions from Chinese and French traditions. These influences have greatly enriched the flavors and cooking techniques present in Hanoi’s diverse range of dishes.
  • Balance of Flavors: Hanoi cuisine prides itself on its exquisite balance of flavors, skillfully intertwining the elements of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and spiciness. Every dish is meticulously crafted to achieve a harmonious fusion of these flavors, resulting in a culinary experience that is both gratifying and well-rounded.
  • Fresh Herbs and Vegetables: In Hanoi’s culinary creations, fresh herbs and vegetables play a prominent role, gracing dishes with an abundance of vibrant colors, enticing fragrances, and refreshing, crunchy textures. These delightful ingredients not only add visual appeal but also enhance the overall taste of the dish.
  • Seasonal Ingredients: Hanoi’s cuisine is deeply rooted in a strong appreciation for seasonal ingredients, ensuring that dishes are prepared using the freshest and finest produce available. The emphasis on seasonality adds a layer of depth and variety to the flavors, allowing the culinary creations to capture the essence of nature’s bountiful offerings.
  • Rich Culinary History: Hanoi takes immense pride in its rich culinary heritage, which spans centuries of history. Traditional cooking methods and cherished recipes have been lovingly handed down from one generation to the next, ensuring the preservation of authenticity and the city’s culinary legacy.
  • Street Food Culture: Hanoi is renowned for its vibrant and bustling street food culture, captivating the taste buds of locals and visitors alike. Throughout the streets, you’ll encounter an array of delectable and pocket-friendly street foods in Hanoi, spanning from savory snacks to meals.

When visiting Hanoi, don’t miss embracing these unique features by exploring street food stalls, visiting local markets, and trying the city’s traditional dishes. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the distinct flavors and culinary traditions that make Hanoi’s cuisine truly exceptional.

Top 10 Delicious Hanoi Foods

Pho – The Most Famous Hanoi Food

Pho is an iconic Vietnamese dish known worldwide, and it’s fascinating to discover the regional variations within Vietnam. The country offers a wide range of options when it comes to enjoying a steaming bowl of noodle soup. Whether you’re wandering the streets or dining in upscale establishments, you can find pho readily available throughout the country. As Hanoi is located in the Northern region, the pho served there typically features wide rice noodles. The most common types of pho in the Northern region include chicken pho (pho ga) and beef pho (pho bo).

Pho Hanoi

Pho Hanoi with a clear amber broth

Pho Hanoi holds a distinct allure compared to pho found in other locations, mainly due to its signature large, white noodles. The broth of Pho Hanoi is infused with the enticing aroma and delightful sweetness derived from simmering beef bones. As a result, food enthusiasts often flock to pho restaurants starting from 9 am, as this is when the broth reaches its pinnacle of richness. Enjoying a steaming bowl of beef or chicken noodle soup in the morning is a cherished experience, particularly when the weather in Hanoi takes a colder turn.

Bun rieu cua (Crab Vermicelli Noodle)

Next on our list is Hanoi crab noodle soup, also known as bun rieu. This delightful dish rivals the popularity of pho, making it a beloved culinary choice. However, compared to the Southern variation, Hanoi’s bun rieu tends to have a slightly lighter topping. Bun Rieu is traditionally served with vermicelli noodles. The main components of this soup are crab meat and crab paste. Skilled chefs combine these ingredients with a selection of spices, including tamarind fruit, tomatoes, rendered fat, shrimp paste, fish sauce, salt, and scallions. While the toppings may be less abundant than in the Southern version, the flavors, and textures of Hanoi’s bun rieu remain truly satisfying.

Bun rieu cua Hanoi

Bun rieu cua Hanoi

Bun Thang (Rice Noodle Soup with Chicken and Egg)

When exploring Hanoi’s Old Quarter, you should not miss the opportunity to savor the delightful dish known as Bun Thang. Crafting a truly exquisite bowl of Bun thang requires the seller’s meticulous attention and expertise. The aromatic essence of simmering chicken, shrimp, onions, and shiitake mushrooms is heightened by the naturally sweet broth derived from simmered bones. Each bowl of Bun thang features tender, delicately flavored chicken, accompanied by fresh green onions and fragrant laksa leaves. These elements come together harmoniously, resulting in a bowl brimming with flavors and textures that will captivate your taste buds.

Bun Thang

Bun Thang

Bun Cha (Grilled Pork with Noodles)

Originating from Hanoi, bun cha is a delectable combination of pork, noodles, herbs, and a savory dipping sauce. Grilled pork patties and rice noodles form the heart of this dish. It bears a striking resemblance to another Vietnamese delicacy known as “bun thit nuong”, with the primary distinction lying in the meat selection. Bun cha features minced pork, while bun thit nuong boasts a succulent grilled pork belly.

Bun Cha

Bun Cha

While both dishes possess immense flavors, it is worth noting that bun cha remains a culinary food primarily confined to the boundaries of Hanoi. On the other hand, bun thit nuong enjoys wider popularity throughout Vietnam. Thus, if you find some light food to try in Hanoi, it is highly recommended to seize the opportunity to savor the unique and authentic taste of bun cha.

Banh Cuon (Rice Noodle Roll)

Banh cuon, beloved street food in Hanoi, holds popularity due to its delightful flavors. This delicious dish comprises steamed rice noodle rolls, filled with a mixture of ground pork and mushroom. Accompanied by refreshing elements like cucumber, bean sprouts, and Vietnamese pork sausage, banh cuon offers a light and satisfying culinary experience, suitable for breakfast or snacking. Banh cuon can be easily found both in the bustling streets of Hanoi and in local restaurants. With its simplicity and deliciousness, banh cuon stands out as a top choice for those seeking a satisfying culinary experience.

Banh cuon - Must-try food in Hanoi

Banh cuon

Cha Ca La Vong – A Signature Food in Hanoi

In the vibrant city of Hanoi, there exists a remarkable street dedicated to celebrating this exceptional dish. Cha Ca Street is home to Cha Ca La Vong, which holds the distinction of being one of Hanoi’s oldest establishments, with roots dating back over a century. This legendary restaurant was the first to grace the historic Cha Ca Street, etching its name in the city’s culinary history.

Cha ca La Vong - Must-try food in Hanoi

Cha Ca La Vong

The renowned dish served at Cha Ca La Vong is none other than the iconic Cha ca, a recipe that has been cherished for more than 130 years. Its origins trace back to the resourceful Doan family, who crafted this special dish to nourish troops during the era of French colonial rule. Combining vermicelli noodles with turmeric-spiced fish, Cha Ca offers a tantalizing experience where you have the pleasure of grilling the fish themselves.

Banh Mi (Vietnamese Baguette)

Although originally influenced by French cuisine, the Vietnamese have masterfully transformed this culinary creation into a delight of their own. Known as Banh mi, this Vietnamese food in Hanoi boasts a unique composition, combining both wheat and rice flour to achieve a remarkable texture. Banh mi is filled with a delectable assortment of ingredients, including succulent pork, pâté, cured ham, and a harmonious blend of Vietnamese herbs and vegetables. Among the herbaceous delights are coriander, cucumber, carrot slices, and radish, with additional regional variations reflecting the diverse culinary landscape of the country. Each bite offers an exquisite symphony of textures and flavors, ranging from spicy and salty to savory, sweet, and aromatic, creating an unforgettable gastronomic experience. This delicious dish is also a wonderful choice for breakfast in Vietnam.

Banh Mi

Banh Mi

Xoi (Steamed sticky Rice)

Sticky rice can be found in many places, but the sticky rice in Hanoi possesses a unique flavor. Hanoi’s sticky rice stands out for its vibrant variety and delectable taste. The assortment of options is extensive, including white sticky rice, xeo sticky rice, flower areca sticky rice, peanut sticky rice, green bean sticky rice, cassava sticky rice, black bean sticky rice, and more. For those seeking a more indulgent experience, there are options like sausage sticky rice, chicken sticky rice, braised pork sticky rice with rimmed egg, and Gac sticky rice. Each type of sticky rice offers a distinct flavor profile and is accompanied by its own array of accompanying foods. White sticky rice pairs perfectly with sesame salt, shrimp paste, braised meat, spring rolls, sausages, and other complementary flavors.



Interestingly, in certain Hanoi restaurants, xoi is also served as a dessert. For this sweet variation, the sticky rice is adorned with delightful toppings such as dried coconut shavings, roasted sesame seeds, and crystallized sugar.

Nem Ran (Deep Fried Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

Nem Ran holds a prominent place in the menus of Vietnamese restaurants worldwide and is enjoyed throughout the year. It has gained such popularity that locals from different regions of Vietnam have given it their own names, with northerners calling it “Nem Ran” and southerners referring to it as “Cha Gio”. The ingredients used in fried spring rolls can vary based on regional preferences. However, commonly, they include lean minced pork, sea crabs or unshelled shrimps, edible mushrooms, dried onions, duck or chicken eggs, pepper, salt, and an assortment of seasonings. These elements come together to create a flavorful filling. It’s worth noting that there are special variations of the traditional pork-based rolls, such as Crab spring rolls or Nem Cua Be, which add an additional layer of culinary excitement to this beloved dish.

Nem ran

Nem ran

Egg Coffee – A Mouthwatering Food in Hanoi

Enjoying a steaming cup of egg coffee while exploring the charming Old Quarter in Hanoi is an essential experience. Vietnam, renowned as the world’s second-largest exporter of coffee, boasts a populace of genuine coffee aficionados. However, coffee in Vietnam is not served in a conventional manner, instead, it is accompanied by generous amounts of creamy condensed milk and a frothy beaten egg yolk, resembling a complete breakfast in a mug. The robusta coffee used in this traditional drink possesses a dark, intense flavor that expertly balances the sweetness of the condensed milk. As a result, don’t anticipate an excessively sugary taste, as the Vietnamese approach to food and beverages revolves around achieving a harmonious balance. So, don’t miss sipping and savoring this unique and delightful blend that captures the essence of Vietnam’s coffee culture.

Egg Coffee

Egg Coffe

We have provided you with a list of Vietnamese foods that Hanoi is renowned for. We hope this has inspired you and given you a good sense of what to explore next. If you are seeking a personalized food tour, we invite you to get in touch with us. Let us show you the best of Hanoi’s food scene and create unforgettable gastronomic experiences together.

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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.


    1. Hi Jasmina,
      Glad to know that you love our Hanoi cuisine. Hope to see you more in our beautiful country.
      Best regards,
      Alice Pham.

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