Being home of many Vietnamese traditions, Hanoi is where people can find many of our country’s best traditional cuisine apart from a lot of century-old temples and shrines – a good fit to catch up on the 1,000-year history of the capital!
When you think of Hanoi street food and noodle soup, phở – Vietnamese national staple – clear and rich beef- or chicken- based broth with a subtle combination of a lot of flavors with lip-smacking slicks of perfectly chewy white flat rice noodles, and these thinly cut slices of meat, primarily beef or sometimes chicken is the kind of noodle soups that come first to mind. But, do you know that aside from the many a variation of phở, there is a lot of other humble and sexy noodle soups that play a ubiquitous part in Vietnam’s rich culinary experience? It is bún ốc (snail noodle soup) – the queen of noodles that is begging to be enjoyed on your Hanoi food tour.
Cold snail noodle soup
Bún ốc originated in Hanoi, so where better to try this dish than our capital city? Literally found anywhere in Hanoi no matter the time of day, whether it is a staple breakfast food or a favorite noodle dish to noodle binge on while you are in Vietnam, snail noodle soup should definitely be on the list of things to try when you are on your Hanoi street food tour.
Bún ốc is a type of Hanoi’s traditional chewy and smooth noodle which basically comes with a really hot broth – a subtle mixture of sour, sweet, and spicy flavors – that is made by slowly simmering pork or/and chicken bones and garnished with chopped green onions, fragrant Vietnamese herbs (rau thơm), and additional condiments such as segments of chili and lime.
What many love about street food in Hanoi, aside from its tastiness and freshness, is the fact that Hanoians put so much effort into making many innovative dishes. Of course, you can order a standard snail noodle dish served with hot stock and freshly boiled escargot, but they also have fun things like bún ốc nguội (cold snail noodle soup).
Bún ốc nguội Ô Quan Chưởng – a perfect invitation to discover the unique snail noodle soup in the capital city
Bun oc nguoi O Quan Chuong
Maybe you love bún ốc – but how many variations have you ever tried? Why am I asking you this? Because this go-to meal for many a Hanoian on a limited budget can go with many different flavors.
And there are so many restaurants around the city serving this dish. Those who have done their research will assure you that bún ốc Ô Quan Chưởng is one of the best snail noodle dishes they have ever eaten on their Hanoi food tour.
At the simple joint on the pavement of Hang Chai Street where the vendor has been plying her trade for dozens of years, you will enjoy an excellently delicious and fresh-tasting way to eat. A plate of bún (stringy rice vermicelli) here is served with a bowl of boiled snails and a bowl of dipping sauce made from fish sauce, ginger, and rice vinegar (dấm bỗng). The infamous escargot is the only source of protein. Don’t expect any other proteins such as fried tofu, fish cakes, or prawns! Don’t forget lime wedges and chili accompanying the dipping sauce for a bit of customization.
Indeed, take a closer look at a wide range of noodle soups, especially snail noodle soup, to know more about Hanoi’s regional cultures, geography, and locals. Not only a delicious bowl of soup, but bún ốc at one of these top Hanoi-style bún ốc restaurants also provides an interesting lens into the best dishes in Hanoi as well as Vietnamese culture.
Bún ôc nguội Ô Quan Chưởng (O Quan Chuong snail noodle soup)
A bowl of boiled snails
- Address: On the pavement No 1 Hang Chieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi;
- Opening hours: 7.00.A.M.-1.00.P.M.;
- Price range: VND 35,000-55,000 (USD 1.5-2.4)
Which kind of noodle do you love the most? In Hanoi – the capital city of Vietnam, phở is most popularly eaten at home and restaurants everywhere you go while bún ốc is the staple noodle which everyone loves. Slurp snail noodles on the cheap at the simple joint on Hang Chieu Street (opposite O Quan Chuong – Hanoi Old City Gate), and you will see why it is one of the most beloved dishes of Hanoi’s cuisine.