VietnamFood & DrinksMust-try Specialties in Hanoi that Go Beyond Pho

Must-try Specialties in Hanoi that Go Beyond Pho

Hanoi – the more-than-1000-year-old capital of Vietnam – is a perfect destination for those who love to know more about Vietnamese culture. We all know that cuisine is a crucial part of a culture, so there is no doubt that you should explore specialties in Hanoi. In case you do not know where to start from, we have prepared some recommendations.

Must-try Specialties in Hanoi: Bun Dau Mam Tom

Want to try some local exotic dishes? Then don’t miss out Bun Dau Mam Tom! Everything about this dish is one-of-a-kind, from taste to smell. Once you fall in love with it, you would never get enough.

A basic serving of Bun Dau Mam Tom seems very modest: just some square-cut pieces of rice vermicelli, crispy fried tofu, local herbs, and a small bowl of Mam Tom – one of the popular Smelly Foods in Vietnam. Some other favorite side dishes are Cha Com – Green Flakes Fried Patty or Fried Pig Intestines. We must warn you that Mam Tom is not for everyone. If you cannot put up with it, ask the restaurant for fish sauce or soy sauce instead; the rest of Bun Dau (without) Mam Tom is still worth trying.

Must-try Specialties in Hanoi: Bun Cha

Thanks to the visit of Chef Anthony Bourdain and former US President Barack Obama, Bun Cha has become one of the ultimate must-try specialties in Hanoi. You’d be surprised how well vermicelli, grilled pork, and fish sauce combine. The dish holds the heart of every Hanoian and even international visitors.

Bun Cha Huong Lien (aka Bun Cha Obama)

Address: 24 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 10 AM – 7 PM
Price range: VND 40,000 – 60,000

Bun Cha 74 Hang Quat

Address: 74 Alley, Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 10 AM – 2 PM
Price range: VND 25,000 – 40,000

Bun Cha Tuyet

Address: 34 Hang Than, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Opening hour:7 AM – 5 PM
Price range: VND 35,000 – 55,000

Check out more fun things to do in Hanoi:

Must-try Specialties in Hanoi: Com (Young Green Rice)

Without diacritics, Com (Cốm) seems to be exactly like the Vietnamese word for Rice (which is “Cơm”), and as a matter of fact, their origins are pretty close. Com is made from immature glutinous rice roasted in low heat and carefully pounded. It is a favorite snack and an indispensable part of the childhood of many Hanoians.

You should come to Hanoi around August-October to try the freshest and most wonderful Com. Beyond this Com season, you might still find some food with Com as one of the main ingredients, but it would not be an easy mission, and the locals also do not highly rate the freshness of Com during these periods. Since Com is made without adding any preservatives, it is recommended to be consumed as soon as possible. Fresh Com can go well with bananas and tea as an afternoon snack or be fried with coconut milk. It also appears in numerous specialties in Hanoi, such as Banh Com, Bun Dau Mam Tom, Sticky Rice with Com, Com Ice Cream, and more.

Read more to see When is The Best Time to Visit Hanoi

Some stores are famous for Com in Hanoi’s Xuan Thuy Street, Cau Giay District, and Me Tri Quarter, Nam Tu Liem District.

Must-try Specialties in Hanoi: Northern Pho

Before coming to Vietnam, you might have heard about Pho. As a proud representative of the national cuisine, Pho can easily be found in any corner of the country. However, each region would have different ways to make its Pho special. And should you try the Hanoian version? Totally yes!

Northern Pho, or Hanoian Pho, has some significantly different characteristics when compared to Southern Pho. The noodles are more significant, while the soup is notably clearer. A typical side dish of Northern Pho is Youtiao – an unsweetened cruller doughnut.

Here we have some suggested places for you to have a hot, delicious bowl of Pho. You do not need to go to fancy restaurants; small food stores sometimes offer surprisingly good food.

Pho Bo Duong Tau

Address: 3 Tran Phu, Hang Bong Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6 AM – 4 AM
Price: From VND 30,000

Pho Bat Dan

Address: 49 Bat Dan, Cua Dong Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6 AM – 10 AM, 6 PM – 8:30 PM
Price: From VND 40,000

Must-try Specialties in Hanoi: Cha Ca La Vong

If you like fish dishes, you should avoid this distinct one. Cha Ca La Vong is grilled hemizygous fish seasoned with dill, turmeric, and Mam Tom. It can be enjoyed or served with roasted peanuts and rice vermicelli. Unlike Bun Dau Mam Tom, you can barely smell or taste Mam Tom in Cha Ca La Vong; it is added to make the plain hemibagrus more flavorful. Therefore, even if you can stand the Vietnamese shrimp paste, it will not affect your experience with this dish.

Some famous restaurants for Cha Ca La Vong:

Cha Ca Thang Long

Address: 19-21-31 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 AM – 9 PM
Price: VND 120,000/serving

Cha Ca Lao Ngu

Address: 171 Thai Ha, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 10 AM -9:30 PM
Price: VND 129,000

Must-try Specialties in Hanoi: Chao Suon (Baby Ribs Porridge)

Chao Suon – Porridge with Pork Rib – is far from a luxurious dish, but it totally deserves a position in the list of specialties in Hanoi. It is a food that any age can enjoy, but almost cannot be found anywhere outside Hanoi.

One of the things that makes Chao Suon unique is its texture. It is so soft and smooth that it can be swallowed without chewing. The toppings are also attractive. You would usually find some big yet tender pork ribs, crispy Youtiao, and flavorful meat floss. Feel free to try this dish at any time of the day since it can be considered a breakfast and afternoon snack.

Look for these small Chao Suon stalls to grab a tasty bowl:

Chao Suon Ngo Huyen

Address:43 Ngo Huyen, Hang Trong Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 11 AM – 6:30 PM
Price: From VND 25,000

Chao Suon Hang Bo

Address: 32 Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6:30 AM – 10 AM (can be closed earlier if the porridge runs out)
Price: from VND 20,000/bowl

Must-try Specialties in Hanoi: Egg Coffee

Egg and coffee seem to be a weird combination for a drink, but Ca Phe Trung – Vietnamese Egg Coffee – has become one of the typical specialties in Hanoi. In a small cup of Ca Phe Trung, you can taste the strong, iconic savor of Vietnamese black coffee, the rich flavor of egg yolk, the sweetness of condensed milk, and the pleasant aroma of vanilla. And how can you drink it like a real Hanoian? You could drink it with a Cappuccino or stir it well first. During the winter of Hanoi, this is a must-try drink.

Nowadays, Ca Phe Trung can easily be found in any Hanoian street, but here are the ones that have gained adoration from the locals by its high quality:

Ca Phe Giang

– 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hang Bac Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
– 106 Yen Phu, Nguyen Trung Truc Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
Price: VND 30,000

Dinh Cafe

Address: 2nd floor, 13 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Bac Ward, Hoan Kiem District
Opening hours: 5 AM – 11 PM
Price: VND 20,000
Note: Opened by a daughter of Mr. Giang

Summary of Must-try Specialties in Hanoi

From snacks to main courses, Hanoi has thousands of options for you to choose from. You can start your day with a hot cup of Ca Phe Trung and a light breakfast with Chao Suon Sun. Then, at lunch, look for Bun Dau Mam Tom, and for dinner, look at Pho or Cha Ca La Vong. Don’t forget to have your snack with dishes made from Com.

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