Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences.
At the heart is the Old Quarters, where the narrow streets are jam-packed with trade, traffic and livelihood. It is easy to feel out of place amidst all the organised chaos, but we have navigated the streets to uncover where the locals go to eat. Read on to find out more about our top 9 must-eat recommendations when in Hanoi:
1. Bánh Cuốn Thanh Vân
Banh Cuon is a thin sheet of steamed rice crepe filled with a protein of your choice (either minced pork, chicken or shrimp), including mushrooms, and onions served with a tasty dipping sauce on the side. This joint serves one of the best and is always packed with hungry diners even during off-peak hours. Pro-tip: head there early, Banh Cuon is the perfect breakfast dish to start your day right.
Bánh Cuốn Thanh Vân 14 Hàng Gà, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
2. Banh Mi 25
One of the best east-meets-west creations ever! The humble but impeccable baguette sandwich filled with fresh vegetables and grilled meat marinated in a medley of Asian sauces. While you’re devouring that perfectly crafted Banh Mi, grab a cup of freshly squeezed juice to cool off and complete your meal.
Bánh Mì 25 25 Hàng Cá, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
3. Bún Bò Nam Bộ
Bun Bo Nam Bo is essentially vermicelli and beef prepared in a distinct southern Vietnamese style. It is a traditional dish where the beef is the hero. The broth in the depths of the bowl is made of fish sauce, sugar, lemon and chilli, topped with vegetables, fried shallots and crushed nuts.
Bún Bò Nam Bộ 67 Hàng Điếu, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
4. Cộng Cà Phê
Cong Cafe is the Vietnamese equivalent of Starbucks. You can find one almost at every corner of a busy street and is usually packed with locals enjoying a cuppa while people watching. It is also the perfect place to cool off from the humidity with an ice-cold glass of Vietnamese coffee or be adventurous and try something different like us!
Cộng Cà Phê 54 Hàng Điếu, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
5. Cafe Phố Cổ
Cafe Pho Co or also known as Old Town Cafe is one of Hanoi’s most hidden cafes – enter through a silk shop on the street front and make your way to the back through a narrow alleyway. This place is also where you go to try the famous Egg Coffee while you take in the scenic views of Hoan Kiem Lake from its roof terrace.
Cafe Phố Cổ 11 Hàng Gai, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
6. Little Vietnam
If you are looking for a tasty authentic Vietnamese meal that is bang for your buck, try Little Vietnam. A hole in a wall eatery serving homecooked Vietnamese fare.
Little Vietnam 24 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
7. Phở 10 Lý Quốc Sư
This place serves up one of the beefiest (pun intended) bowl of Phos in town. It literally comes with dough fritters on the side – the perfect snack for dipping – and the option of adding a raw egg to your hot broth.
Phở 10 Lý Quốc Sư 10 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
8. Quán Ăn Ngon
A culinary experience you can’t miss in Hanoi, is to eat at Quan An Ngo. This is the one-stop shop for anyone to get a taste of every Vietnamese dish there is. With an exhaustive menu of more than 100 different choices, don’t leave here without trying their Banh Xeo – a crispy pancake dish wrapped in rice paper with fresh vegetables.
Quán Ăn Ngon 18 Phan Bội Châu, Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
9. Bít Tết Ngon
Sex on a plate or also known as Vietnamese Steak and Eggs – unadulterated and messy plate of goodness. Thin cuts of beef served on a sizzling hotplate with a sunny side on top and crispy fries on the side drenched in a savoury and peppery mushroom suace. Pure yums!
Bít Tết Ngon 18 Phố Hòe Nhai, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam