Hanoi is capital of Vietnam and beside authentic and traditional Hanoi food, you probably can find other delicious food of Vietnam in Hanoi, such as Northern ethnic minority’s cuisine, Central or Southern vibes…
I have been asked by many foreign friends about Food Recommendations in Hanoi. This list dedicated to everyone who did, do, and will visit our capital. My aim is to write and make a diversified and new version of Hanoi must-try food list, which is different with ones I have seen many times on social media or news.
This list is created based on food list’s suggestion of Shay (from Daluva), Ellie – my friend in food crime and my own list. (Recommended places here are subjective). Hope this post is helpful and informative for you guys, feel free to comment, I need motivation 😉
This one is literally in every tourist’s guide book, and the most well-known Vietnamese food in overseas, so I don’t think you need any introduction. Pho is best comfort food, can be eaten any time of the day and Hanoi is pho’s spiritual home. The recipe varies but pho still keeps its distinctive taste. Some of my favorite pho bo (beef pho) and pho ga (chicken pho) in Hanoi (plus a Pho Map I made on Google Maps, hope it will be useful for you)
1. Pho Bo (Beef Pho)
– Pho Bat Dan, 49 Bat Dan, 40.000-50.000 VND/regular bowl. Here you have to stand in line and pay in advance to get your bowl of soup. Thus the nickname — Pho Xep Hang or ’Line-Up Pho’. It is known for serving a classic version of Hanoi-style pho, and one of the few joints that do not provide fresh lime as a condiment. “They think the lime spoils the broth”. The eaters have to do some magic with garlic vinegar and chili 🙂
– Pho Thin in Bo Ho, 61 Dinh Tien Hoang (right next to the Hoan Kiem lake), 50.000-70.000 VND (a bit over-priced).
– Pho Thin in Lo Duc, 13 Lo Duc, 50,000 VND, it is different with traditional pho bo. Beef is stir-fried (sautéed) with garlic and it is added to the noodles before the broth is poured over the top. Beef makes the broth rich and sweet, yet a bit fattier.
Update in 2017: Pho Oanh, 3 Tho Xuong, open in the morning only.
2. Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)
– I’m loyal eater of Pho Lam, 7 Nam Ngu, 35.000 VND/regular bowl. (My post about this joint)
– Otherwise, I heard that Pho Ga in 42 Quan Thanh is good, too. The broth is clear and not rich like the one in Nam Ngu. However, I have not had chance to try it. Will give update later.
Pho with Vietnamese Beef Stew (Pho Bo Sot Vang) (my post about Pho Bo Sot Vang)
Where to eat? 3 Tran Phu (near the railway), or 6 The Giao, or Pho That – 48 Tran Nhat Duat. My new ultimate favorite is 8 Hang Da, check my post above about Pho Bo Sot Vang to know the time and picture! 🙂
3. Pho Xao/Pho Chien
Fried Pho with beef shank – 11 Hang Buom: Pho here is fried dry, mixed with fried beef shank with oyster sauce and vegetables. You can adjust it to fit your taste by adding soy sauce, chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce. It is also served with pickled green papaya and fresh herbs. Price is 40.000-50.000 VND, quite high because the portion is smaller than other places.
Update in 2017: Pho Xao Gion, 48 Tran Nhan Tong, opens from 6pm till 11pm, but can be sold out around 10pm. Price is 40,000VND.
4. Crispy Pan-fried Pho – Pho chien gion
Pho is pressed into pieces and deep-fried to shape firmly like a cake, then it is cut into pieces, and dipped into tasty and thick beef gravy sauce. Try it at Hong Loan – 55 Hang Bun or Pho chien gion – 206 Kham Thien, price 45,000 VND.
5. Pho Cuon (Pho Rolls)
Pho Rolls with marinated beef and vegetable filling, dipping sauce is mix of fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, chopped chili, garlic, pineapple (optional). Perfect light meal for summer.
Where to eat? Ngu Xa, near West Lake, is popular place for Pho Cuon and Pho Chien Phong (below), I often eat at Pho Cuon Huong Mai 25-27 Ngu Xa or Pho Cuon Vinh Phong – 40 Ngu Xa.
6. Pho Chien Phong
Pho chien phong a.k.a Fried puffed pho with beef and vegetable. Pho is cut into square fit and pan-fried with beef and vegetable.
Where to eat? Pho Cuon Huong Mai 25-27 Ngu Xa or Pho Cuon Vinh Phong – 40 Ngu Xa.
7. Pho Tron (Will update later)
CHA CA LA VONG
Fried fish marinated in tumeric and served over “bun” rice noodles, peanuts, in particular dill. However, the original restaurant Cha Ca La Vong (same name with the dish) is not good like before (Haizz, 100-year restaurant has faded). Thankfully, there are several restaurants in Hanoi still keep our pride and specifically serve it in great quality. You should try Cha Ca Anh Vu (120 K1 Giang Vo) or Cha Ca Thang Long (19-21 and 31 Duong Thanh – in Old Quarter) or Cha Ca Phan (
20 Xom Ha Hoi, family-run, non-touristy and cozy – check the video of a foodie couple experience with me in this place. New address of Cha Ca Phan is 84 Tran Quoc Toan street). Traditionally, the best species of fish used to cook this dish is hermibagrus (ca lang). However, due to the rareness and the high price of hermibagrus, other fishes are used by restaurant, such as Anh Vu carp (or Semilabeo notabilis – a species of cyprinid fish) in Cha Ca Anh Vu, or snakehead fish in many other places. My recommendation for ones seeking for a more diversified meal is fried fish stomach (Long ca xao) with vegetables (pickled or fresh ones).
Banh cuon is made from a wide, extremely thin and delicate sheet of steamed fermented rice batter, filled with a mix of seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and ground or tiny shrimps (optional). (My post about banh cuon and where to eat in Hanoi)
Trung kien (Ant eggs): Quan Kien, 100 Tue Tinh, near Thong Nhat Park
143 Nghi Tam (near West Lake) is very famous for ant eggs’ dishes, such as sticky rice, ant eggs spring rolls, ants eggs soup cooked with ‘giòn’ fish (Laos-style), fried ant eggs balls…. Ant eggs’s peak harvesting season is from February to May 🙂 Beside Ant Eggs, Quan Kien also has “Thai” ethnic minority’s cuisine, food is made from insects, and many Vietnamese food from Northern provinces.
THIT RAN (SNAKE MEAT)
Snake meat is not common in Western meals, but is popular in other cuisine cultures, including Vietnam, for its supposed health benefits. It is said to taste like chicken, but a closer approximation is frog legs. Blood of snakes is often mixed with liquor to produce a virility enhancer.
Le Mat village located in Long Bien district, 7 km northeast of Hanoi’s downtown. It is well-known worldwide as the “snake village”, and locals have been employed as snake catchers in Northern Vietnam for generations, and they have genius skill of cooking snake in tens of dishes. Annually, villagers hold various traditional cultural activities and festivals about snakes.
Frankly, it is exotic meat and the amount of meat is pretty small, however, it is worth to try once in your life 😉 Please read the article “I Ate and Drank Cobra in Vietnam’s Snake Village” of Jak Phillips on Vice to see experience of a foreigner with Le Mat’s snakes 😀
Ten dishes of snake meat from Quoc Trieu restaurant, including: snake blood, snake gall, fried snake meat, crispy snake skin, minced snake bone, snake sticky rice, snake spring rolls, fried snake wrapped in leaves, snake soup…Price is 200.000-300.000 VND for two people.
I have not visited Le Mat for years but I got some addresses from my male friends who sometimes visit this village for snake party (and drinking, of course). It is highly recommended that you should call the restaurant to check the way to go there, and book table so they can prepare the meal better. Most of restaurants here have big gardens and outdoor seating. The list below is ordered by theirs popular from my friends’ suggestions:
– Quoc Trieu: it is one of first restaurants in Le Mat, I remember coming here when I was a kid. They has their own large snake eco-tourism farm called Quoc Phuong where they raise wild animals and grow vegetables for the restaurant.
Quoc Trieu address: group 6, Le Mat village, Viet Hung, Long Bien district. Tel (04) 38778687 – 0985331981 – 0913 227 045
Quoc Phuong address: Tam Xuan – Viet Hung – Long Bien
– Vuon am thuc Ran Rao (Bamboo Snake Garden): They have a professional website in English http://www.lemat.vn/ which is really useful for newcomers to find information about the village, its tradition and stories, and of course, about their restaurant/menu. I appraise the owner of this restaurant because of his/her modern and updated thought when he/she registered domain lemat.vn 😉
– Xuan Chu Garden: No. 2, alley 43, Le Mat Tel 0938711227 – (04) 38711227
or Xuan Chu Restaurant: 15 Le Mat street. 0913.230.012 / 043.8272739
– Nguyen Van Duc restaurant: it is probably named after owner. Address: No.4, alley 82 (group 7), Le Mat village. Tel: (04) 38272891
To Be Continued…