Top 10 Best Foods in Hanoi Old Quarter

January 11, 2022 - 3248 views

Your trip to Hanoi can’t be completed without trying delicious Hanoi food. From Pho, Bun Cha to Xoi Xeo, all the food has amazing flavor and more importantly, they are very cheap. Check them out!

Hanoi Old Quarter is a must-visit destination in the capital city of Vietnam. Not only because it still reserves the beauty of an old Hanoi, but also it is a paradise for food lovers. Hanoi food is among the best cuisines in the world. In this article, we will provide the top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter.

1. Bun Cha – Kebab Rice Noodles

This is one of the most famous dish that shouldn’t be missed when you come to the Old Quarter. Bun Cha became a very popular dish for tourists thanks to President Barack Obama who ate the dish with Antony Bourdain on their visit to Hanoi. Bun Cha Huong Lien - the restaurant where they ate is now called the “Obama restaurant” by the locals. Cha is made from grilled pork, and bun is rice vermicelli noodles. The dish is served with fresh salad and herbs. Bun Cha is normally sold with the price of 1.5 USD - 3 USD per bowl. 

The locals normally eat Bun Cha for lunch. The taste makes everyone fall in love with it, including Vietnamese people and international tourists. In fact, it has always been on top recommendation as the best food in Hanoi Old Quarter. Don’t worry if the “Obama restaurant” is too crowded, there are other Bun Cha places in the area which serve really good Bun Cha as well.

Bun Cha - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Bun Cha – Kebab Rice Noodles

2. Banh Mi – Vietnamese Sandwich

If you come to Vietnam, you must try Banh Mi. This is the best street food in Hanoi Old Quarter. Because of its popularity, Banh Mi was added into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011. In fact, you can find plenty of Banh Mi stalls in Vietnam. Both stalls on the street and restaurants have really tasty Banh Mi. These places are Vietnamese version of a fast-food outlet that sells different Banh Mi sandwiches to choose from, such as paté, meatballs, chicken and egg. The crispy and light bread, with dreamy-soft egg and juicy meatballs together make the best sandwich in the world. You can have Banh Mi for breakfast, lunch or dinner every day. Banh Mi is a cheap and quick option if you don’t like the noodles. It tastes so amazing that you might want to eat 2 or 3 Banh Mi at the same time. Each Banh Mi normally costs around 0.5 - 1.5 USD.

Banh Mi - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Banh Mi – Vietnamese Sandwich

3. Bun Ca – Noodles with Grilled fish

When it comes to Hanoi food, there are many types of noodles. Just walking through the maze of side streets and alleys of the Hanoi Old Quarter, you will find many small restaurants with tiny plastic stools. Normally these places serve noodles with a glass of iced tea.

Bun Ca is made from crispy grilled river fish and rice vermicelli, served with layers of greens and dill, as well as pineapple (or tomato). Bun Ca is a mix of sour and sweet flavour, with the delicate flavour of fish, of course. Bun Ca is one of those food in Hanoi that you can eat for breakfast or lunch. Each bowl of Bun Ca costs around 1.5 - 3 USD. Mind you, Bun Ca might be a bit heavy for breakfast. 

Bun Ca - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Bun Ca – Noodles with Grilled fish

4. Pho Bo – Beef noodle soup

There is no doubt that Pho Bo is one of the most iconic Vietnamese foods. But do you know that Pho is the authentic Hanoi food as well. Now you can find it everywhere in Vietnam with different versions, but Hanoi Pho in the Old Quarter is still the best. 

There are different ingredients to make Pho, from beef to chicken, but Pho Bo is the most popular one in the menus of restaurants. If you want to try an authentic Pho in the Old Quarter, visit Phở 10 in the morning as the locals have it for breakfast. It costs around 1.5 - 3 USD per bowl. You can add chilli sauce for a more intense taste.

Pho Bo - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Pho Bo – Beef noodle soup

5. Cha Ca – Grilled Fish with Dill and Tumeric

Cha Ca is a unique Hanoi food, which is made from grilled fish, flavoured with dill and turmeric. It is a must-try food in Hanoi Old Quarter. This area has its own street called Cha Ca Street which is well known for making good Cha ca. Or you can come to a restaurant which is called Cha Ca La Vong to try this iconic dish. The restaurant has served this dish for more than 100 years. Before being served on the table, the fish will be grilled, then you will fry and dress with dill at your table.

While you are waiting for the fish to come, some restaurants will serve you with small dishes of fried peanuts which are free. When the fish is brought to the table, you can start frying it on a sizzling skillet. The flavours of turmeric and dill match well with the fish. Some restaurants even include fish hot pot in a combo menu. It normally costs 4 - 6 USD. Cha Ca is one of the best food in Hanoi Old Quarter for lunch or evening.

Cha Ca - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Cha Ca – Grilled Fish with Dill and Tumeric

6. Ca phe trung – Egg coffee

When it comes to food in Hanoi, there are plenty choice of beverage for you to try. However, it will be a big mistake if we don’t mention coffee before ending this list. Vietnamese coffee is probably the best coffee in the world. It is also a typical drink of Hanoi where people always have it after breakfast. And what we have mentioned is condensed milk coffee, but have you heard about the egg coffee? The egg coffee is basically a mixture of egg and coffee in the same cup. However, do not think it is a weird combination because when you try a cup of egg coffee, you will be in love with it.

It is somewhat like an Irish coffee without the booze and a melted marshmallow. The creative egg coffee is made of sweetened condensed milk, coffee and egg yolk. The original version was more eggy. But over time, it is added with sugar, condensed milk, and a “secret recipe”, making it incredibly thick, rich and creamy. For some people, it is more like a dessert than a beverage. The best place to try it is at Cafe Giang on Nguyen Huu Huan Street. Each cup of egg coffe costs around 1 USD. Let's go there and give it a try!

Egg Coffee - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Ca phe trung – Egg coffee

7.  Bia Hoi – Hanoi Draft Beer 

Almost everyone when they come to Hanoi, they fall in love with local beer. Firstly, it is the cheapest drink you can get. Secondly, it is the best and most refreshing. Many tourists want to try rice wine as well, but fresh beer is the most popular one. There are many bia hoi stalls or restaurants in the Old Quarter and normally bia hoi is served with delicious food. Bia hoi is a fresh beer, brewed and delivered to the stalls and restaurants. It is very light in colour and alcohol content. 

Bia hoi is sold everywhere in Vietnam, but Hanoi Bia hoi is the best and most popular. Although it is more expensive than other areas, it just costs you 10,000 VND (USD 0.43 per glass). Drink bia hoi on a hot day during summer, you will feel very relaxed and cool in the middle of the city heat. There is a menu on every bia hoi place, because the locals normally combine a bia hoi trip with their dinner. Your options will be nem chua (fermented pork sausage), stir fried vegetables (seasonal) or bo sot vang (beef and red wine stew).

Hanoi Draft beer - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Bia Hoi – Hanoi Draft Beer

8. Xoi Xeo - Sticky rice with Mung bean

Xoi Xeo is a common breakfast dish for Vietnamese, especially in the North. The dish is traditionally made from glutinous rice, cooked with mung bean and turmeric powder. When it is served, the sticky rice is dense and has a bright yellow color. Then it is topped off with a drizzle of liquid fat and deep fried shallots. This is one of the best food in Hanoi Old Quarter. 

Nowadays, there are a wide range of toppings for you to choose from, such as grilled chicken, caramelized pork, pork belly, Chinese sausage, pork floss or fermented hard-boiled eggs. You can always combine these toppings in one dish. Xoi Xeo normally cost 0.5 - 1 USD per dish. 

Xoi Xeo - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Xoi Xeo - Sticky rice with Mung bean

9. Pho Cuon - Vietnamese fresh rolling Pho

Pho Cuon is made from all the ingredients of Pho, except for the broth. It includes grilled beef and plenty of herbs like cilantro, basil, and mint. Then all of them are rolled up in a fresh wide rice noodle. With this dish, you don’t have to worry about not being able to use chopsticks, because you just need to dip them in a bowl of sweet fish sauce and enjoy. This dish is normally served as lunch or dinner. Pho Cuon costs around 3 USD - 5 USD per dish.

In a restaurant, normally the menu will include its sibling, which is Pho Chien Phong. The dish is made from squares of noodles that are deep fried and turned into little donuts. Then, it will be covered in beef, gravy, and sauteed vegetables and ready for you to eat. This dish is generally served alongside Pho Cuon, so just give it a try. 

Pho Cuon - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Pho Cuon - Vietnamese fresh rolling Pho

10. Nom Bo Kho - Green Papaya Salad with Dried Beef

Nom Bo Kho is a typical Vietnamese salad. The dish’s main ingredients are green papaya, dried beef (which is quite similar to the beef jerky), and spice. First, the long and thin strips of beef will be soaked in a mixture of salt, sugar, garlic, oil, ginger, and chili. The flavor you get is spicy and sweet. After being soaked overnight, the beef strips will be dried in an oven. Nom Bo Kho normally costs 1 USD - 3 USD per dish. 

Nom Bo Kho - Top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter

Nom Bo Kho - Green Papaya Salad with Dried Beef

So, that is the top 10 best food in Hanoi Old Quarter that you must try. If you are planning to visit the capital city of Vietnam, make sure you try these Hanoi food to complete your trip. Besides, the local food is tasty and cheap. And there is no point to travel and spend money for your own cuisines, right?

Vana Pham

Image source: Internet

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