5 Must Try Foods Of Hanoi
In Hanoi, amongst the busy streets and crowded allies you will find some of the most delectable, scrumptious meals of your life. As you wander through the city, dodging scooters and motorbikes you can see the French influence. Vietnam, having been colonized by the French in the early 1800’s still bears some similarities to its former oppressors.
Much of the layered architecture bears homage to quaint French styles and a few main dishes found on the streets of Hanoi are reminiscent of French meals. Fresh baguettes and pastries are peddled down the roads in woven baskets, pâté layers the sandwiches and fresh snails marinate in hot soups. The melding of cultures is clear in Hanoi’s’ architecture and food but Vietnam is nothing if not Vietnamese.
I was lucky enough to try some of the main foods that shape Hanoi, here are the ones you can’t miss!
Cha Ca Thang Long
This was one of my favorite dishes in Hanoi, it combines all the different elements of Vietnamese cuisine: texture, flavor and color. It consists of Catfish marinated in ginger, turmeric, garlic and fish sauce, then fried in the pan until golden and crispy. In the same pan lots of dill, green onion and scallions are added on top of the fish, then are quickly sautéed releasing all their wonderful flavors.
When everything is cooked you combine the pieces of fish and greens with rice noodles, then top with roasted peanuts, chilies and spicy sauces! Only thing left to do is eat many, many bowls and bask in its glorious tastiness.
We ate this magical dish at a restaurant literally named after it:
Chả Cá Thăng Long: 21 Đường Thành Cửa Đông Cửa Đông Hoàn Kiếm, Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
Another beautiful, tasty treat that you can devour literally anywhere in Hanoi is Banh Mi which literally translates to bread. This is another product of French colonialism in Vietnam. Banh Mi sandwiches consist of a fluffy baguette layered with meat and pâté, stuffed with an assortment of different vegetables, such as cucumber and coriander creating a perfect balance of French and Vietnamese flavors.
You can grab these anywhere in Hanoi but here are my favorite places!
Bánh Mì 25: 25 Hàng Cá, Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Bánh Mi Bread: 98 Hàng Bạc Hàng Đào, Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ban Oc (Vietnamese Snail Soup)
After watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown I was inspired to find the same location where he ate Bun Oc, or rather Vietnamese snail soup. After wandering around for a little while we stumbled upon it! Small fresh snails were pulled out of their shells right there on the street where small plastic stools acted as tables and chairs.
Even though I am not a huge snail fan I was pleasantly surprised, this noodle soup was amazing! With a tomato and green onion base, the snails are boiled and mixed together with rice noodles and spices like coriander, and Vietnamese basil. It was delicious and a lot of fun to try! This particular vendor was in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, but there are many different random locations, just look for a large woven basket of snails!
Bun Cha is arguably Hanoi’s most famous dish, and one beloved by locals as well as foreigners. Bun Cha is a combination of rice noodles, small grilled pork or beef patties, and Vietnamese herbs all mixed together in a mouthwatering slightly sour broth. You eat it by taking bite sized portions of rice noodles and plopping them into the broth. You then can add chilies and herbs to taste. After adding them in, using chopsticks you can create a bite which has a little bit of everything: meat, greens and noodles! This half soup, half noodle hybrid will not disappoint, incorporating different elements of sour and savory, you’ll be hungry for more!
Another must try if you are in Hanoi is the famous Egg Coffee (cà phê trứng), when I was first told about this I assumed that it was just a name, they wouldn’t actually put an egg into coffee right?! Wrong. They really do! I tried this drink both hot and iced and it was very good! It originated from a time in Hanoi when milk was scarce, and egg yolk was its substitute in coffee. Egg Coffee is made by first beating chicken egg yolks together with condensed milk, sugar and coffee. It is served layered like a cappuccino in a small cup, with the fluffy egg cream on top and the sweet coffee on the bottom.
You can try it at:
Giảng Cafe: 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Doong Tea and Coffee Express:19 Mã Mây, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
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