Hanoi Foods You Should Try For a Taste of Vietnam

Last updated on: Jun 15, 2020

(Last Updated On: June 15, 2020)

Move over France, Italy, and Thailand, because Vietnam just might be the world’s tastiest country. Its streets are bustling with the sights and sounds of scooters; women carrying everything from colorful flowers to colorful food; and the enticing aromas of food being grilled, steamed, and fried from the streets of Hanoi to the countryside.

And it’s the latter that completely captured me, as I knew Vietnam had good food, but I didn’t know it was this good! Every meal tends to have a selection of small plates, one-pot dishes, or “an choi” (snacks) options.

Here are some of the foods of Vietnam that can be found in Hanoi and other parts and that make the case for the Vietnam being a great spot for foodies.

Anything wrapped in a banana leaf

If someone in Vietnam offers you anything wrapped in a banana leaf, take it and unwrap it like a Christmas present!

Two of the most amazing foods I had in Vietnam were both cooked in banana leaves. My first bite of Bang Chung was like every other moment when you taste some mystery food.

At first I thought I was eating apples, but this sticky rice cake is filled with mung beans, and mine had a black coating like molasses and a moist, mildly sweet crumb cake on the inside.

I also had an amazing stuffed chicken dish with the most irresistible blend of ginger, garlic, and spices. 

I was in banana leaf heaven!

Banana Leaf Cake - Hanoi foods
Banana Leaf Chicken - Hanoi foods

Spring rolls

Whether fried or not, Vietnamese spring rolls are so delicious. I tried so many kinds from grilled mackerel atop rice paper to deep fried chicken rolls. The dipping sauces are what really make Vietnamese spring rolls shine.

Mackeral Rice Paper Rolls - Hanoi foods
Vietnam Lunch - Hanoi foods

Pho

Pho, one of the many noodle soups in Vietnam, was derived from the French pot-au-feu (pot of fire).  Typically, it includes rice noodles, beef or chicken, herbs, and fish sauce. 

This staple food is everywhere, and I enjoyed starting my day with a warm bowl for breakfast. Pho sho!

Eating Pho - Hanoi foods

Ca phe

The Vietnamese do love their ca phe (coffee), so at any time, you can see people sitting at cafés sipping ca phes. Popular versions include Ca Phe Sua Nong, which is black coffee and sweetened condensed milk, and Hanoi’s egg coffee, in which a raw egg is added.

The origins of egg coffee began during the French war, when milk was scarce, so a whisked egg yolk was used as a replacement for milk.

From rolls to phos, from fish to dips, every meal in Vietnam was a delight. My favorite meal was at a local family’s house in Ninh Binh Province, an experience I’ll always savor. Yum!

Vietnam Dinner

No matter where you dine in Vietnam, what’s on your plate is sure to please.

Have you tried any Hanoi foods or elsewhere in Vietnam? What were your favorite foods?

When in Hanoi, don’t forget to visit or at least do a photo op at Bún chả Hương Liên, the local diner made popular when Anthony Bourdain and President Barack Obama dined there.

Author Profile

Taryn White
With 75+ countries and all 50 U.S. states crossed off her list, Taryn's wanderlust and wanderlist continue to grow! She loves historic places, off-the-beaten paths, and beautiful beaches. Follow her pursuits on Instagram and www.tripwishlist.com.

7 thoughts on “Hanoi Foods You Should Try For a Taste of Vietnam”

  1. You’re exactly right! Whatever you put on your plate is actually a blessing! I never visited Vietnam, but I will sure add that place to my lifetime bucket list. If I was there would love to try out the spring roll, it looks delicious!

    1. Well, Vietnamese food tends to use rice noodles and fish sauce over egg noodles and soy sauce. Vietnamese food also has more tropical fruits in its cuisine (e.g., papaya salad, etc.), but Chinese food has so many regional varieties. Regardless, both Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines are yummy!

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