Hanoi – the capital city of Vietnam is a unique city that you should never miss if you’ve ever been to Vietnam. There are lots of aspects of this centuries-old capital when it comes to doing Hanoi and around travel reviews, but this time I will specifically review the incredible street food scene of Hanoi.
Hanoi is famous for its wide range of cuisine in general and street food in specific. CNN has listed Hanoi in Asia’s 10 greatest street food cities.
Hanoi street food (Source: Internet)
I am a foodie traveler who has a great passion for food and culinary art. When I pick my next destination, gastronomy must be considered first. There is no reason not to try them out. However, you cannot eat all of Hanoi street food out there especially when I'm not a local, and it’s hard to know what and where to eat. So I took a Hanoi street food tour.
To help you have a great experience, I will show you what I ate during the tour and some tips as a Hanoi street food guide.
What I ate
Vietnam has more than one dish that has been thrust into the spotlight and famous all over the world. As for me, a Hanoi best food tour is the best way to taste all of these dishes!
Pronounced as /fɜːr/, Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup which consists of rice noodles and meat. Meat here can be either chicken or beef. I don't eat beef, and Chicken Pho does not disappoint me. When you eat Pho, squeeze in some lime and eat with herbs. It is awesome! White and soft noodles make it very easy to digest. All of the flavors including spicy, salty, and a bit sour of lime juice really blend into one balanced flavor that can conquer any fussy eater. And it did! For decades and around the globe.
Pho (noodle soup) Hanoi (Source: Internet)
A delicious dish that is popular amongst both locals and international tourists coming to Hanoi. But the former president of US, Barack Obama is the one who lifted its profile. Bun Cha is also another kind of noodle but not a noodle soup like Pho. Rice noodle is served together with grilled pork, herbs and, a special mix sauce. Both pho and bun cha are really good. I can’t decide which one I like better, and my advice is you should try both of them!
Bun Cha Hanoi (Source: Internet)
Banh mi is a Vietnamese word for bread. This is a sandwich with Vietnamese fillings, an ever-varying combination of whatever the eater prefer from grilled pork, pate, ham, egg, and lots of vegetables…. You can ask the seller to add or remove some ingredients according to your personal taste. Banh mi is the product of French colonialism. But I am really impressed how Vietnamese people can make such a delicious dish out of French baguette. Fresh herbs and pork are covered with a crispy baguette.
Banh mi Hanoi (Source: Internet)
Good points about Hanoi street food
Low price: They are affordable to every tourist in any budget. With around $2, you can have a hot served bowl of Pho. A day wandering Hanoi to try street food will only cost you $10 to $20.
Mix tastes which can fit a broad sense of taste: Hanoi street food and Vietnamese food, in general, rely on the balance of all flavors, so it is not too spicy like Thai food or too oily like Chinese food. Almost every dish is served along with fresh vegetable weighing down oil. Easy to eat and fit people of the different preference. That is the reason why Vietnamese food easily becomes a favourite wherever it goes.
Easy to find: street food can be found everywhere all over Hanoi, at every corner or roadside. So you can just walk around to enjoy most of the typical dishes like Pho or Banh mi.
Questionable hygiene: due to the fact that it is street food, the food that is made right on the sidewalk. You will find yourself sitting in the middle of smoke and dust from vehicle to eat. I did not have any problem on the last trip, but you should be aware before going for a Hanoi street food tour.
Uncomfortable seats: most of the street food court only provide plastic tables and chairs which are tiny to westerners. And you should be ready to run while eating. Yes, no kidding! The government does not allow vendors to vend on the streets so when the police visit your food court, both you dish and sellers need to disappear. Don't worry, one the police have already left you can back to eating. I see it quite funny and a one-of-a-kind experience.
- Go to a restaurant or a permanent food court instead of street vendors. You are likely to have better sanitary conditions as well as service.
- Ask the price first if you don’t want to be overcharged. If possible, you should go with a local Vietnamese.
- Some restaurants will not provide English translation for the menu or even do not have the menu at all. In that case, look around and pointing at what others are eating.
- Wet wipes are not free but the dry tissues are. Normally, wet wipes price is about 5000 to 10000 dong. It is not much but being a foreigner, remember to check the price in advance.
Hope this review from streetfoodofhanoi is useful for you and stay tuned for next topic in my Hanoi and around travel reviews.