Known for the rich culinary culture and dozens of types of noodle soups, Vietnam is one of the most worth-visiting countries in Southeast Asia for foodies. Though Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) seems to attract more food cultures from all around Vietnam than the capital city, Hanoi also offers a wide variety of traditional dishes that the locals love to enjoy everyday. Here’s a brief list of what street food you should definitely try in Hanoi.
Vietnam’s famous dishes such as phở, chả cá (fish sausage) and bánh cuốn (thin wide sheet of steamed fermented rice batter with a mixture of fillings) are originally from Hanoi. One of the country’s national dishes, phở is a noodle soup consisting of broth and linguine-shaped rice noodles typically made with beef or chicken. Phở is usually served as a soup, with lime or dark vinegar, fresh chilli or chili sauce, special herbs (rau sống) and Quẩy pastry (fried dough). Based on these ingredients, the locals have created many different versions of phở that you can find in many districts around Hanoi. The most popular phở street restaurants are located on certain well known streets such as Lý Quốc Sư (Phở Bò), Mai Hắc Đế or Đinh Liệt (Phở Sướng) or Lò Đúc (Phở Thìn). Another version of phở without soup is called phở cuốn, which you can find on Ngũ Xã Street. This top-rated dish among all sorts of street food around the world can also be found in many other countries.
Another type of noodle dish that you can find all over Vietnam, besides Phở, is called bún. There are dozens of types of bún soup across the country that are made based on rice vermicelli noodles (or bún). While Huế City is famous for its bún bò Huế, bún mắm and bún thịt nướng are popular in Ho Chi Minh City. One of Hanoi’s most traditional dishes is bún chả. It is served with grilled fatty pork or spring rolls over a plate of white rice noodle and herbs (rau sống) with a side dish of sweet, spicy and sour fish sauce to dip in. Extra slices of carrot or papaya are typically added into the dipping sauce as well. The best bún chả in town can be found in Hàng Mành Street.
If you are looking for a more simple taste or dish that is easier and less time-consuming to make at home than noodle soup, try bánh tôm or shrimp cake. Bánh tôm is mainly made of dough and shrimp that are deep-fried and served with various herbs and dipping sauces. Though it sounds easy to cook a homemade shrimp cake, there are dozens of secret recipes by restaurants attempting to make tasty crispy pastries, yet keeping the shrimp fresh and cooked well enough. One of the most popular places to find shrimp cakes is West Lake. Decades ago, this was a popular street food area, yet has now been replaced by several restaurants specialising in shrimp cakes.There are dozens of other types of savoury cakes you should look out for around Hanoi such as bánh cuốn, bánh bột lọc (small, clear-looking, chewy tapioca dumpling), bánh đúc (non-glutinous rice flour or corn flour cake), etc.
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During the summer, Vietnamese main dishes can be excellently complemented by fresh, cold dessert dishes including chè. This is a kind of pudding that is typically made with tapioca, jelly, fruit, various types of beans and coconut cream. There are dozens of ingredients you can add to chè and other types of puddings. Some of the most typical varieties you should try are chè sen (made of lotus seeds), chè bắp (made of corn), chè thập cẩm (mixed ingredients), etc.
Vietnamese food lifestyle
Eating street food is a big part of the culinary culture and local lifestyle in Vietnam. The locals like to especially enjoy their breakfast on the street with a bowl of phở or xôi (glutinous rice dish served with various fillings such as chicken, pork, corn, beans and even coconut). Download one of the most popular street food apps, called Lozi, today to learn about the most popular and latest dishes you should try in Hanoi!
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