No matter where you go around the globe, every major city puts its own spin on food, whether they’re serving a slightly different version of a familiar favourite or a strange (to you) dish.
Here are ten iconic dishes from Hanoi that every traveller should try at least once in their lifetime!
Banh Cuon (rice noodle roll) is one of the traditional dishes of both Hanoi and Vietnam.
It is made from a thin, wide sheet of steamed fermented rice batter filled with seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom and minced shallots.
Banh cuon is served with nuoc mam, a mixture of fish sauce, sugar and lime.
Bun Cha (grilled pork noodle soup) is served with a plate of white rice noodle (bun) grilled fatty pork (cha), fish sauce and herbs.
West Lake shrimp cake
The West Lake shrimp cake is a type of batter-dipped shrimp patties originally made and first served by a restaurant next to West Lake in the 1970’s.
The cake is served with sweet and sour fish sauce, green papaya and carrot slices.
Cha Ca La Vong
Definitely a must-eat food while you are visiting in Hanoi is Cha ca La Vong.
It is an exquisitely grilled fish served with bun, peanut, green onions, dills and shrimp paste.
Pho has repeatedly been voted as one of the dishes everyone must try in their lifetime by prestigious international magazines.
Pho is a combination of soft rice noodles in a soup broth, normally prepared with either bo (beef) or ga (chicken) – both of which are extremely delicious.
The noodles are flash boiled until soft, topped with meat, and finished with a sprinkle of chopped green onions served with a plate of herbs, typically fresh sawtooth , mint, and Vietnamese coriander, along with house-made chilli sauce.
Bun Rieu (Rice noodle with crab)
CNN has described Bun rieu as one of the most delicious street foods in Asia.
Freshwater crabs flavour this tangy tomato soup that’s made with round rice vermicelli and topped with pounded crabmeat, deep-fried tofu and, often, congealed blood.
An odoriferous purple shrimp paste is offered on the side – it tastes delicious. Chillies and fresh herbs are the finishing touches for a complete one-dish meal.
Banh Mi (Sandwich)
Banh Mi sandwiches, feature French baguettes filled with a tasty variety of meats and vegetables. They are eagerly consumed across Vietnam, especially for breakfast or lunch.
Ca Phe Trung (Egg coffee)
Vietnamese egg coffee has been cited one of the world’s top 10 drinks by Buzzfeed, an American online social news and entertainment giant.
Sounds very strange but a combination of egg yolks, condensed milk, sugar, butter and laughing cow cheese is whisked until fluffy and thick and served with hot coffee! Incredible rich taste-like a liquid tiramisu!
Pho Cuon (Vietnamese Rolling Pho) consists of a slightly cooked rice paper shell the same thickness as a pho noodle. Inside this soft shell is a selection of herbs and greens – mainly cilantro, mustard leaf, and lettuce – and thinly sliced beef that has been cooked with garlic and generous amounts of pepper.
It is served cold with a bowl of fish sauce, garlic, carrots, radish, vinegar, boiled water, chilli and some sugar for dipping.
Xoi xeo (Vietnamese sticky rice and mung bean)
Amazingly attractive with its bright yellow colour, ‘xoi xeo’ is sold in every restaurant, market and street corner in the morning.
The seller keeps ‘xoi xeo’ warm in a bamboo basket which is carried on the shoulder or fastened behind the bicycle.
‘Xoi xeo’ is a special dish for breakfast, especially with students and manual labourers thanks to its rather low price and good taste.