Our Beijing to Hanoi trip is popular with those looking to explore South-East Asia for the very first time or indulge in a return visit. There are many reasons why you should finish your Trans-Siberian experience in Hanoi, Vietnam – we detailed just a few of them here – particularly if you’re crazy about food. Hanoi is a foodie’s paradise, and like many destinations in China, there’s an array of local dishes that you just have to try.
Home to a long list of restaurants, cafes, bars, and street food stalls, Vietnam’s bustling capital city showcases some of the best Asian food and drink. But there are a few dishes that outmanoeuvre the rest in terms of deliciousness, richness, and authenticity. Here, we explore the three Bs of eating and drinking in Hanoi – so you can enjoy a taste sensation on your upcoming trip.
Beef pho is a classic dish enjoyed by both locals and visitors. An aromatic concoction of beef, rice noodles and fresh herbs, pho is traditionally eaten for breakfast but can be enjoyed throughout the day. Pho is world-famous for its taste, but there’s no better place to enjoy this much-loved dish than its birthplace.
The secret to its taste has got to be its beef broth, which is made traditionally by locals by simmering charred ginger, onion, and a range of other classic spices to create its iconic flavour. You’ll find pho everywhere in Hanoi. It’s served in top-flight restaurants, as well as at the roadside courtesy of the city’s many street food vendors.
Dining like a local is easy in Hanoi, and any self-respecting food lover on the hunt for an authentic experience will want to order bun cha. Bun cha may be another rice noodle soup dish but its taste differs vastly from the aforementioned pho.
Unlike pho, bun cha uses grilled fatty pork and is served with a side of dipping sauce. This Hanoi original is adored by the nation and was even a favourite of former president Barack Obama, who fell in love with bun cha on a visit to Vietnam.
Bun cha is generally eaten at lunchtime. Whilst its ingredients and the way they’re put together is simple, you’re unlikely to find bun cha (or at least a tasty bun cha) outside of Hanoi.
For people local to Hanoi, banh mi needs no introduction. South East Asia Backpacker however provides an excellent summary of this staple street food:
“Along with Pho, Banh Mi is THE go-to meal for backpackers and regarded by many travellers as the best street food in Vietnam! Bánh Mi simply translates as bread and is a poignant, lasting symbol of French colonialism. In Vietnam, these baguettes are given a local twist by stuffing them with pickled vegetables, shredded daikon, slices of cold meat, egg, mayonnaise, chilli sauce and pork liver paté.”
Banh mi is the product of the country’s French influence but its unique combination of ingredients gives that classic Vietnamese flavour. You’ll enjoy spicy, salty, sour, savoury, aromatic, and sweet in one bite courtesy of this well-stacked sandwich.
There are so many more tasty dishes that should be on your Hanoi hit list, discover 10 more by reading this guide.