Vietnamese cuisine has a great variety of dishes other than pho and bun cha. I had visited Hanoi many times over the past few years and have been living here for over 7 months now. Trying out different dishes and restaurants has always been one of my top priorities since day 1.
I use Vietnamese Instagram accounts for inspiration and find out what and where the locals eat. (Check out this article about the top food Instagram accounts in Vietnam) There are still lots more places and dishes I need to try and have saved on my “to eat” list, but there are few places and dishes I love and go to eat regularly.
So here’s a list of my favourite dishes and some of them at specific restaurants only because to me, they’re the best in town.
Phở Xào Bò
Pho xao bo means stir-fried rice noodle with beef. This dish is served in many local restaurants in any local neighbourhood in Hanoi. That means it’s also a national dish as often eaten as pho (rice noodle soup) and com rang (fried rice). I have tried pho xao bo in many different restaurants in Hanoi and none of them could beat my favourite pho xao bo restaurant in the Old Quarter. This restaurant only opens in the evening outside on the street.
10 Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm
Open everyday 18:00 – 01:00
The word ‘Bit Tet’ is derived from a French word, ‘bifteck’, which means beef steak. This dish is originated from the Western world, but has settled as part of Vietnamese cuisine enjoyed by many Vietnamese locals. Bit Tet is not exactly the same as beef steak as foreigners might be familiar with. It is often served with chips, fried egg and Vietnamese pate along with banh my (Vietnamese baguette). There’s a famous street for bit tet in Hanoi with different restaurants.
Hòe Nhai, Phường Nguyễn Trung Trực, Quận Ba Đình
Long means intestine and ran means deep-fried. Thought of eating intestines might not sound very appetising for some people. But it is one of my favourite menus and I love going here with friends because long ran goes along super well with cold beer. Long ran is typically enjoyed with a special Vietnamese sauce called “mắm tôm”, which is fermented shrimp sauce. However, I’m not a big fan of mam tom sauce, so I always go for a different sauce such as muối tiêu (salt & pepper with lime) like in the photo above. Below is details of my one and only place to go for this menu.
23 Nguyễn Siêu, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm
Open everyday 18:00 – 23:00
Main ingredients of this dish are bun (one kind of rice noodle) and dau (tofu) and it is often served with other ingredients such as intestines, meat, deep-fried sausage etc. Full name of this dish is ‘bún đậu mắm tôm’ because it’s eaten with the special mam tom sauce (shrimp paste). This dish can be found in many different restaurants, but there’s a bun dau street in the Old Quarter where restaurants are all located side by side.
Ngõ Phất Lộc, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm
Cơm Gà Quay
Com ga quay is roasted chicken with fried rice and the best of all is served at this restaurant, which I found on a Vietnamese Instagram account. It is served with the restaurant’s special sauce and chicken broth. The number one menu here is com ga guay, but there are other delicious menus to try such as com suon (fried rice with pork ribs) and com xa xiu (fried rice with char siu).
29 Bà Triệu, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm
Opening hours N/A
Bun ca is rice noodle soup with fried fish and fish pancake. My favourite place for bun ca is located in a small alley close to the beer street. I enjoy eating bun ca on any day, but it tastes especially good on the day after drinking (perfect cure for hangover) or on a cold day. So maybe you can go and try it after a fun night at the beer street!
5 Ngõ Trung Yên, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm
Open everyday 07:00 – 17:00
Banh gio is sticky rice wrapped in banana or lotus leaf and enjoyed with Vietnamese sausage and is perfect for breakfast or lunch. The sticky rice is super smooth like pudding. It is sold on streets and if you look out for it, you’ll easily be able to spot one very quickly. The banh gio in the photo above is from the address below.
70 Trần Xuân Soạn, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng
Open everyday 10:00 – 20:00
Banh cuon means rolled rice flour, which is rolled with minced meat and mushroom and can be enjoyed with Vietnamese sausage. This dish is a great breakfast option and that might be why most of banh cuon places only open in the morning. It is also served in many places, but below is the address of the place of the photo above.
Exact address is not available on Google Map, but it’s on Đào Duy Từ, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm
Open everyday N/A (I’ve eaten here for lunch few times, so I believe it’s open until afternoon)