Since second week of lockdown, I began to think about which restaurant I will go first as soon as businesses are back in operation. And the list kept on changing from one to another, but always within the few of my favourite places and dishes. From time to time, I also ask myself what food or restaurant I would miss most if I leave Vietnam. So I thought it’d be good to introduce the essence and extract of must try foods and restaurants in Hanoi for those who only have ONE day in town!
I honestly and sincerely think one day is not enough even just for the food alone. As a passionate foodie, I keep on emphasising how many local dishes and restaurants there are to try in Vietnam! So I hope that you will spare at least a couple of days in town. But since it may not be so for some of you, check out this list of must try of the must try in Hanoi!
Extract Must Try Food in Hanoi
Cha Ca - Hanoi Specialty Grilled Fish
This original Hanoian dish is an absolute must try for anyone visiting Hanoi. Tender fish marinated in galangal is so fragrant and delectable. It’s also a grill on your table, so you can grill the fish with fresh greens of dill and spring onions. I find the aroma and flavour of cha ca so heavenly good. It is definitely one of the top dishes I am going for first when restaurants open again. My personal favourite restaurant for cha ca is Cha Ca Thang Long in the Old Quarter.
Address: 21 – 31 Đường Thành, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 21:30
Bun Cha Hang Quat
By far the best and most delicious bun cha in Hanoi is Bun Cha Hang Quat. What I specially love about this restaurant is how it’s hidden behind a narrow alley. You would never guess the lively scene behind this narrow gate from the street. It’s a must try for the famous dish in Hanoi as well as for the super unique dining experience. This is a famous restaurant and it gets sold out before closing time very often. So make sure you go around or before noon.
Address: 74 Hàng Quạt, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: 10:30 – 14:00
Pho Xao Bo - Stir-fried Pho with Beef
Out of all pho variations, stir-fried pho with beef in Hang Buom is my favourite. I must say it even beats the notorious pho soup. This street restaurant opens in the evening and I have been a regular for some years. Their pho xao bo never disappoints. The noodle, beef and bokchoy are perfectly juicy, flavourful and just scrumptiously good.
Address: 11 Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: 18:00 – 03:30
Vietnamese BBQ Under Railway
Vietnamese BBQ is one thing to try for it is grilled with margarine! Not just anywhere, but here at the BBQ street under the railway bridge. The vibe is something really unique, fun and memorable for all. I absolutely love the food and atmosphere here. And this is always on top of my recommendations for anyone and everyone visiting Hanoi!
Address: 1A Phố Gầm Cầu, Hàng Mã, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: N/A (from evening till late night)
Bun Dau Mam Tom
Another prominent dish originally from Hanoi is bun dau mam tom. It is a platter of deep-fried tofu, assorted meat and intestines with fresh bun noodles. One special thing about this dish is the fermented shrimp paste, which has a very distinct aroma and flavour. I consider this a very challenging flavour like Marmite. People either hate it or love it. So it’s a fun foodie challenge. But if you don’t like this sauce, you can enjoy the delicious bun dau with other kinds of sauce like fish sauce or salt with lime.
For this dish, there’s a famous street hidden beside Hang Khay street. It’s a fun experience to go there. But I have my favourite place for bun dau in Ho Ba Mau lake, which is in a local neighbourhood. So you can choose between the two to have this last must try dish in Hanoi!
Option 1: Bun Dau Cu, famous bun dau restaurant in Old Quarter
Address: 31 Ngõ 29 Hàng Khay, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: N/A
Option 2: My personal favourite local bun dau restaurant
Address: 15 Hồ Ba Mẫu, Phương Liên, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: N/A (around lunch time until 2PM)
If you are lucky and have more than one day in Hanoi, check out these other posts:
– For Foodies –
– Itineraries –