Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. It has been the center of culture and politics for two thousand years. To learn about the country’s history, try its cuisine. It shows the traditional Vietnamese culture and the unique features of each region.
Northern dishes are different from those from Central Vietnam. Central Vietnamese food can be spicy, sweet, or sour. Northern food is abundant, but not as spicy, sweet, or sour.
Street food is popular in Hanoi. You can find it on the sidewalks. Here are the top dishes to try and the best places to get them.
>>> Check out: Self-Guided Tour: Hanoi Old Quarter
Top Vietnamese Food You Must Eat in Hanoi will answer your questions like:
- What to eat in Hanoi?
- What is Hanoi’s famous food?
- What must eat in Hanoi?
- What must eat in Vietnam?
- What do you eat for breakfast in Hanoi?
What are the must-try street foods in the Old Quarter?
Some of the must-try street foods in Old Quarter include pho bo (beef noodle soup), bun cha (grilled pork with vermicelli), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), banh cuon (steamed rice rolls), and xoi (sticky rice).
What is the best time to visit Old Quarter for street food?
The best time to visit the Old Quarter for street food is in the evening, around 6-9 p.m. This is when most of the street food vendors start setting up their stalls and the atmosphere is bustling with locals and tourists alike.
How much should I expect to spend on street food in the Old Quarter?
Street food in the Old Quarter is affordable and budget-friendly. You can expect to pay around 50,000-150,000 VND (2.0-3.5 USD) per dish.
Are the street foods in the Old Quarter safe to eat?
Yes, the street foods in the Old Quarter are generally safe to eat. However, it’s always a good idea to be cautious and choose vendors that have a lot of customers, indicating that their food is fresh and popular.
What should I do if I have a food allergy?
If you have a food allergy, it’s important to communicate this to the vendors and ask them about the ingredients in the dish. Some of the common allergens include peanuts, shellfish, and gluten.
What is the best way to navigate the streets of Old Quarter for street food?
The best way to navigate the streets of Old Quarter for street food is to walk and explore the different alleys and lanes. You can also join a street food tour to get a more in-depth experience and learn about the history and culture of the cuisine.
Provide more details about some of the food we love.
Mien Tron Muc
This is a truly local dish found in a small lane of Trung Yen. The shop sells Banh cuon for breakfast until 11 AM, and then they start serving this wonderful dish from 11 AM to 6 PM. It consists of grass noodles, water spinach veggies, peanuts, and dried onions. For the best experience, add some chili sauce and mix it well. Don’t forget to order some tra da – iced green tea. By trying this dish, you will truly experience local cuisine. The dish cost 65,000 VND. If you want to add shrimp, it will cost an additional 20,000 VND.
Address: Trung Yen Lane, Hanoi Old Quarter
Price: 65,000 VND
Banh Ran – Local doughnuts.
This small local doughnut shop has been selling banh ran for many years without raising the price. Each banh ran costs 3,000 VND. Customers can choose from four different flavors: sweet with sugar and honey, savory with pork and mushroom, sesame, and yellow bean. The women here are extremely hardworking. You can see them working diligently from early in the morning until 7 PM almost every day.
Address: 5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street
Price: 3,000 VND for each
NUTS, DRIED FRUITS & SPICES at Dong Xuan market
Initially, the Dong Xuan market gained notoriety for its many shops selling spices, nuts, and dried fruits. You’ll find all the variety you could desire sold by weight here for very reasonable prices. It’s the perfect place to explore the best spices in Vietnam. And, of course, all the ingredients needed for cooking PHO, like star anise, black pepper, dried bamboo roots, onion, ginger, and cinnamon. Enjoy looking into these iconic establishments and discovering unique seasoning mixtures and exotic dried fruits. This Hanoi Old Quarter Tour is the perfect way to explore this wonderful part of Hanoi.
There is nothing like eating a healthy Banh Mi in the Old Quarter. It is a popular tradition among the locals, particularly on the weekends when the area is full of locals and tourists. A crispy loaf of bread and a variety of fillings like chicken, mushroom, carrot, cucumber, and more – what’s not to love? With a cult following among locals, Banh mi 25 and Banh mi Hoi An are the top destinations to experience this classic Vietnamese street bite.
Amazingly attractive with its bright yellow color, “xoi xeo” is sold in every wet market or may even be right on the street corner early in the morning. The seller keeps “xoi xeo” warm in a bamboo basket that is carried on the shoulder or fastened behind the bicycle. “Xoi xeo” is a special dish for breakfast, especially with students and manual laborers thanks to its rather low price, its fulfillment, and palatability.
Recommended places to eat in Hanoi:
Xoi xeo – Address: 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Street.
Xoi Sen Minh Long – Address: 188 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh
Local seasonal fruits
Although summer in Hanoi is hot, it is also the fruit season. We have a variety of fruits available, including mango, dragon fruit, lychee, guava, banana, and mangosteen. Don’t forget to try the famous durian, known for its strong smell. You can find a wide selection of fruits at the local market, but remember to negotiate the price. Additionally, it is highly recommended to try the fresh and delicious smoothies in Vietnam.
Address: local market (Hang Be – Cau Go Street)
Vietnamese egg COFFEE
Whether you’re looking to stock up or enjoy a cup of coffee on the spot, the Old Quarter has wonderful offerings. Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer globally, just right behind Brazil. It is famous for the black, bitter, and powerful Robusta bean. While traveling to the old town, several coffee shops will blend and grind coffee beans for you on the spot, like Cong Caphe. Café Giang, with its historic atmosphere, serves unique coffee with egg yolk called the egg coffee made on the site. Are you a coffee addict looking for the best spots in the city? Check out our guide to Hanoi’s best coffee.
Address: cafe Dinh at 13 Dinh Tien Hoan and cafe Giang
Friends worldwide have been curious about the REAL PHO in Vietnam when they travel to Hanoi as there is always a PHO restaurant wherever it has a Vietnamese town. Pho is eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, from the best restaurants to street vendors with makeshift plastic tables. The chewy, white rice noodles and clear broth are garnished with chopped scallions, green herbs, and additional condiments such as segments of lime, chili, and garlic. You can order a bowl of Pho on every corner in Hanoi, but Pho Thin has the title of the best Pho in the old town.
Address: Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su and Pho Bat Dan
Price: 45,000 VND – 60,000 VND
Bun Cha was the dish that President Obama fell in love with when he first came to Hanoi in 2016. It is understandable as this is one of the most flavorful dishes of Vietnamese cuisine. Bún chả is served with grilled fatty pork over a plate of white rice noodles and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce.
*Recommended places to eat in Hanoi:
- Bun Cha Cau Dong – Address: 41 Cau Dong
- Bun cha Dac Kim – Address: 1 Hàng Mành
Hoa qua dam
There is nothing better for dessert than a bowl of Hoa qua dam. Enjoy a nice mix of fruit, yogurt, and milk in Hanoi. You will find the best Hoa qua dam at To Tich Street.
*Recommended places to eat in Hanoi:
- Hoa qua dam Hoa Beo – Address: 23 To Tich
- Hoa qua dam Hang Bac – Address: 66 Hang Bac
Bun bo Nam bo
Bun Bo Nam Bo is a mouth-watering vermicelli noodle dish served with stir-fried marinated beef, shortly known as stir-fried beef noodles. This popular food item has been introduced well from north to south Vietnam and is best known in Hanoi.
Bun Bo Nam Bo means beef noodles of the southern region, but there is no specific information about the origin of this dish until now. Many assumed that this noodle originated from the south of Vietnam, while others agreed it came from Hanoi and served in southern style: dry noodles without broth. Whether from north or south, Bun Bo Nam Bo is still a typical Vietnamese noodle dish that was once recommended among the top 10 must-try foods in Vietnam by CNN.
*Recommended places to eat in Hanoi:
- Bun bo nam bo Bach Phuong – Address: 75 Hang Dieu
Bun Ca Sam Cay Si
A dish with brown noodles, fish, lots of veggies, and dried onions. The best part is to add some chili sauce, kumquat and black pepper, and then you will have the tastiest dish in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Address: 5 Ngo Trung Yen, Hanoi Old Quarter
Price: 40,000 VND
Nom thit bo kho – beef papaya salad
This is a popular dish among young Vietnamese that is made with beef jerky, pickled papaya, herbs, and peanuts. It is usually served with fish sauce and is often enjoyed with tra chanh, a type of green tea with lemonade. The best place to savor this dish is on Ho Hoan Kiem Street near the Thang Long water puppet show. The entire street is dedicated to selling this dish.
Address: Ho Hoan Kiem Street.
Price: 45,000 VND
The Old Quarter is a highlight of Hanoi for all food lovers. Vibrant, unique, and full of delectable culinary treasures waiting to be discovered, it’s one of Hanoi’s most iconic destinations. But if a brief stroll around the area leaves you wanting more, join our Eat Like A Local- Hanoi Street Food & Hidden Path, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you are very welcome to join our Vegetarian Street Food & Stories of Hanoi. You’ll get the best way to taste and experience the best of Hanoi!