9 Must-Try Street Foods in Hanoi

Jennifer Arnow

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is famously home to some of the most incredible street food in the world. Delicious, fast, and fresh, there are endless options to choose from on every bustling street. Here are our picks for dishes you must try when visiting Hanoi. —Jennifer Arnow

Jennifer Arnow

Pho

Phò is arguably Vietnam's most famous dish. A rice noodle soup made with herbs and either beef or chicken, phò can be eaten at any time and is particularly popular for breakfast. The broth is light, but don't let that fool you—this soup packs quite a flavorful punch and will leave you satisfied. You can't go wrong grabbing a bowl anywhere in Hanoi, but if you're seeking out the best, head over to Pho Gia Truyen. Open for breakfast and dinner, seats fill up fast, and there's always a line of hungry customers that snakes out to the street. Don't forget to try the quay, fried dough sticks that are served on the side.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Cà phê sữa nóng

You've never really had coffee until you've had the Vietnamese variety. Coarsely ground, locally grown, dark roast beans are brewed using a small individual serving-size drip filter. This may yield a smaller cup of coffee than you’re used to, but once you add the requisite condensed milk, you've got a drink that will keep you energized all day. If hot coffee on a hot day isn’t your thing, ask for cà phê sữa đá, coffee with ice.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Banh bao

Like its Chinese counterpart, bahn bao is a fluffy yet savory treat. The steamed buns can be found on nearly any street corner and come with a variety of fillings: chicken, pork, or mushroom and quail egg to name a few. They're a perfectly portable snack for when you're zipping around Hanoi’s chaotic streets.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Bun cha

You've probably heard of bun cha. Anthony Bourdain and President Obama chatted over bowls of this succulent barbecue pork dish when they met in Hanoi earlier this year. Barbecue pork is served in a sweet and salty broth, alongside other ingredients you can add as you please, such as fresh herbs and greens, vermicelli noodles, hot chilies, and crushed garlic. Attack this delicious bowl with both chopsticks and a spoon and refill as needed.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Bun bo nam bo

Unlike some of the other dishes on this list like bun cha or phò, bun bo nam bo is a noodle dish served with a refreshingly tangy sauce in lieu of a broth. This beef noodle salad consists of strips of marinated beef alongside lettuce and cucumbers, vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, and topped with a mix of fried shallots and crushed peanuts. If you head to Bun Bo Nam Bo and order a bowl, make sure to stir the contents before digging in—the sauce is hiding under the mountain of ingredients. Wash it down with a cold Bia Hà Nội, the local beer.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Banh mi

Nowhere is the French influence stronger on Vietnamese cuisine than the banh mi. The delectable sandwich is made from buttery pâté, pickled daikon and carrots, cold cuts, cucumbers, and cilantro nestled in a freshly baked baguette. The sandwich is so popular, you’ll find variations that include fillings like barbecue pork, sausage, and tofu. Whether you are craving a classic banh mi or newer variations, head over to Banh Mi 25. Owner Phuong Nguyen serves up what might be the best banh mi in Hanoi.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Nom bo

More sour than spicy, this refreshing salad is loaded with harmonious flavors and textures. Thinly sliced dried beef and green papaya are topped with mint and crushed peanuts, all of which sit in a tangy fish sauce dressing. It’s an invigorating snack for the steamy temperatures of the city.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Banh cuon

With just a few ingredients expertly rolled into paper-thin rice sheets, banh cuon is light in texture but heavy on flavor. The rolls are steamed, then filled with a mixture of minced pork and mushrooms and topped with deep-fried crispy shallots and cilantro. Make sure to dip these delicate rolls in the savory dipping sauce served on the side.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Meat skewers

Although this dish is quite simply grilled meat on a stick, the flavors are anything but simple. With ingredients like lemongrass, nuoc cham, and chili, these sweet and spicy meats are cooked on hot coal grills that are usually found right on the sidewalk. Whether you choose beef, pork, or chicken, the aromas will make it hard to resist this tangy snack.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hanoi Guide

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