- 1. Top 10 Hanoi street foods that will satisfy your appetite
- 1.1. Sticky rice (Xoi xeo)
- 1.2. Fried chung cake (Banh chung ran)
- 1.3. Tofu pudding (Tao pho)
- 1.4. Vietnamese dumplings (Banh goi)
- 1.5. Stuffed sticky rice ball (Banh troi Tau)
- 1.6. Hot bagel twists (Banh quay nong)
- 1.7. Fried fermented pork roll (Nem chua ran)
- 1.8. Banh mi with wine sauce (Banh mi sot vang)
- 1.9. Plain rice flan (Banh duc)
- 1.10. Fried banana cake (Chuoi ran)
- 2. Where are the most famous Hanoi street food markets?
Hanoi is truly an exotic city of vibrant culture and history. Besides its sites of interest, what also contributes to its unique appeal is Hanoi street food. At every corner, you can always find something that does wonders to your taste buds! Follow this Hanoi street food guide to find yourself the best dishes in town during your Hanoi travel journey!
1. Top 10 Hanoi street foods that will satisfy your appetite
There is no doubt that Hanoi is a culinary haven, with not only gourmet meals in fine-dining restaurants but also appetizing street food in Hanoi.
When it comes to Hanoi street food, the following 10 dishes must always be mentioned.
1.1. Sticky rice (Xoi xeo)
Vietnamese sticky rice is undoubtedly a signature Vietnamese street food Hanoi. Easily found on the streets in Hanoi with its distinctive yellow color, xoi xeo, which is literally sticky rice with mung beans, is a typical breakfast dish in this city.
Despite its popularity and use of common ingredients, many locals acknowledge that this is the hardest kind of sticky rice to cook. Glutinous rice is first mixed with turmeric powder. Then, it is soaked in water for hours to get the yellowish look before being steamed. Meanwhile, mung beans are well steamed and bashed. There is also a pinch of fried shallot atop the dish.
Besides the basic xoi xeo, the people of Hanoi also make several variations of this dish by adding different toppings, which may be pork, eggs, chicken, sausage, etc.
1.2. Fried chung cake (Banh chung ran)
Banh chung is a traditional Vietnamese food during Lunar New Year. In Hanoi, this is also a common street food during winter. Similar to other Hanoi street foods, pan-fried chung cake can be easily found on Hanoi sidewalks or alleys. The image of street vendors with a few plastic chairs and a round tray filled with banh chung has become so familiar to the locals on winter days.
Banh chung is deep-fried on both sides, turning its texture from soft to chewy. The outer layer is crispy while the inside is hot, slightly soft sticky rice and a few pieces of fatty meat. Black pepper, mung beans, and “dong” leaves also bring a delicate fragrance to the cake.
Banh chung ran is often served with a full plate of vegetable pickles. The sourness of the pickles helps balance the richness of this fried dish, making it even more appetizing. You can also order other side dishes such as sausage, cha com (green sticky rice patties), and gio lua (lean pork paste).
1.3. Tofu pudding (Tao pho)
It is no exaggeration to say that tao pho (tofu pudding) is the best street food in Hanoi for summer days. This simple, sweet, and cool tofu pudding can satisfy people of all ages and tastes, deserving to be a top dessert to cool down the heat of summer.
Sweet tofu pudding is not only a famous dish in Northern Vietnam but it is also very popular in the Southern region. However, in the South, they often serve hot tofu pudding. The people in the North in general and Hanoi in particular prefer the cold version.
Tao pho is made from soy milk, which is traditionally only served with jasmine sugar syrup and ice. Nowadays, the locals also add other toppings, such as thach gang (grass jelly), bubble, shredded coconut, and dried coconut. The pure taste of tofu, the sweetness of jasmine sugar syrup, and the coolness of the ice altogether create a yummy street food Hanoi.
1.4. Vietnamese dumplings (Banh goi)
Banh goi (pillow cake, or Vietnamese dumpling) is a popular street food that you can find at any market or street corner in Hanoi. This dish is literally ground meat, hard-boiled quail eggs, finely-chopped wood ear mushrooms, and glass noodles encased in a pretty pillow-shaped pastry that is deep-fried and served hot. To balance the rich taste, the people of Hanoi often enjoy this crispy and fragrant dish with a sweet and sour dipping sauce and different kinds of fresh vegetables and herbs including lettuce, coriander, and sometimes pickles.
1.5. Stuffed sticky rice ball (Banh troi Tau)
The hot and sweet flavor of “banh troi tau” (stuffed sticky rice ball) makes for a perfect Hanoi Vietnam street food on a cold winter day. A small bowl of banh troi often includes 2 yellow dumplings in a viscous dark-brown sauce which has the fragrance of ginger. One has mung beans while the other comes with black sesame seeds. Some smashed peanuts are also added to the bowl, creating a palatable dish.
The dumplings are boiled in ginger syrup. The dumplings are well-cooked if they float on the surface of the sauce. This is why this dish is called “banh troi” (“troi” means “floating”). Thanks to the ginger, the dish is aromatic and warm, which is ideal for you to relieve the cold of winter.
1.6. Hot bagel twists (Banh quay nong)
Banh quay nong, or just quay, is a common side dish for the famous “pho” and other noodle dishes. It is also a familiar Hanoi street food, especially in winter.
Quay is made from flour. The dough is cut into small pieces (around 1.5-2 centimeters wide and 6-7 centimeters long). Two pieces will be stuck together before being pan-fried.
Nothing is better than some hot bagel twists on a cold winter afternoon. This crunchy food tastes incredibly good when you dip it into a sweet and sour sauce.
1.7. Fried fermented pork roll (Nem chua ran)
Hanoi has so many deep-fried goodies, and nem chua ran (deep-fried fermented pork roll) is an excellent example. This dish is crispy outside but tender and chewy inside. Nem chua ran contains cured pork and pork rinds mixed with flour, then left for natural fermentation to occur in a short period of time to avoid getting too sour. After that, it will be seasoned, coated in flour, fried in hot oil, and chopped up into small pieces.
This famous Hanoi street food is often served with cucumber, pineapple, and guava and dipped in chili sauce. The richness and aroma of nem chua ran, together with the piquant taste of chili will easily drive foodaholics crazy on chilly winter days.
1.8. Banh mi with wine sauce (Banh mi sot vang)
It would be a waste if a Hanoi street food guide excludes “banh mi sot vang” – a familiar dish that comes with the worldwide famous “banh mi” – Vietnamese bread. The dish was originally a traditional French stew with beef braised in red Burgundy wine. Now, it has been modified to suit Vietnamese tastes. The sauce is still based on red wine; however, the spices and flavors are different from the original variation. Warm spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom are substituted for herbs like parsley, rosemary, and thyme.
This Vietnamese beef stew is extraordinarily aromatic and rich. It matches perfectly with crispy hot-baked banh mi. It can come with noodles, also.
1.9. Plain rice flan (Banh duc)
Banh duc (plain rice plan) is another must-try in a Hanoi street food tour. This rustic dish offers warmth and comfort on chilly and rainy days. Banh duc originated from the countryside and is reasonably priced. It is made from non-glutinous rice flour and can be either sweet or savory in different regions.
Hanoi’s “banh duc” is savory and often served hot. Without any natural coloring, it is white in color and has a mushy texture. Green onions, chopped wood ear mushrooms, and ground pork are frequently used as garnish. Additionally, the dish also contains fried shallots for extra aroma and crunch.
1.10. Fried banana cake (Chuoi ran)
The last to be mentioned in this list of the best Hanoi street food is banh chuoi ran – fried banana cake. This is a favorite afternoon snack of the locals in Hanoi. You can easily find vendors selling this dish and other kinds of pancakes on the sidewalks.
Even though the ingredients for fried banana cake, including ripe bananas, sugar, flour, and turmeric powder, are very simple and easy to find, it requires a skillful hand to make a good banh chuoi. A successful cake must be golden in color and crispy in texture.
2. Where are the most famous Hanoi street food markets?
Tourists can enjoy the appetizing Hanoi street foods above while wandering along the streets. To enjoy all of them at once, head to famous Hanoi street food markets. Below are three food markets that offer the best street dishes in Hanoi that you should visit in your Hanoi culinary tour:
2.1. Dong Xuan Market
Regularly listed as a must-go destination in Hanoi, Dong Xuan Market is one of the city’s biggest markets. The narrow alleys nearby this market are also famous as the paradise for foodaholics in Hanoi. Here, tourists can find almost all famous Hanoi Vietnam street foods. Some notable dishes are banh tom, pho tiu, chao suon sun, che, and other deep-fried goodies.
2.2. Nghia Tan Market
Located in Cau Giay District, Nghia Tan Market is a top Hanoi street food market to visit during your stay in Hanoi. There are diverse dishes here with affordable Hanoi street food prices. Some dishes have even become the signatures of this market, such as banh mi chao, banh mi sot vang, and tao pho.
2.3. Nguyen Cong Tru Market
Nguyen Cong Tru Market is also a famous street food destination for food lovers from Hoan Kiem and Ba Dinh District. It is open almost all day. The market serves many toothsome snacks, especially banh gio and caramel flan. Other famous Hanoi street foods are also easy to find here.
However, your belly would be too full if you try all the delicious Hanoi street food at once. It would be a better idea to take a tour around the city’s famous destinations and satisfy your appetite along the way. For example, you can try the street food in Hanoi Old Quarter while taking a tour around these ancient streets or visit Nghia Tan Market while exploring Cau Giay District.
After you have an outing at VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium, Nguyen Cong Tru Market is a good place to enjoy street food. Vinpearl Aquarium offers close exposure to the colorful marine life, while VinKE provides numerous job simulation games for your kids.
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Beside the culturally rich capital city, Vietnam also has several appealing destinations to visit, such as Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc, etc. It would be a big waste if you miss out on the beauty of these lands. For each place that you are going to visit, it is essential to have a detailed plan of where to stay, where to visit, and what to eat so that your journey will be flawless. If you are looking for a reliable place to stay, consider the hotel and resort system of Vinpearl. It is a top-rated hospitality brand with first-class services, present in most touristy attractions in Vietnam.
Whether we live to eat or we eat to live, we will get hungry. Each country has its own way to satisfy that appetite. If you have a chance to visit the capital of Vietnam, do not forget to try the tasty Hanoi street food to see what this city has to offer.
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