I. Best Food in Hanoi old quarter
The Old Quarter is the spiritual symbol of Hanoi City. In this place, you can find a synthesis of the history and culture along with the past and the modern life of Vietnam’s capital.
With a history that spans over 1,000 years, Hanoi Old Quarter is well-known not only for its historic sights, assembly halls but also delicious local foods. Between bustle hustle Street markets, Hanoi inexpensive and tasty treats can easily be found. With many fresh greens ingredients and Hanoi locals with a creative mind, Hanoi Old Quarter Street food could be a fascinating adventure.
1. Pho (Noodle Soup)
The quintessential must-try dish in Vietnam is Pho. No matter the time of day, you can easily find restaurants or Street vendors serving the food. Many stores sell Pho in the Old Quarter but if you order the same dish, you can taste a different flavor in different stores through each chef of the storekeeping their secret formula and making their dish.
a. Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)
This type of “Pho” is usually the consolidation of beef soup bones from marrow and knuckle bones, pieces of beef chuck, rump, onions, star anise, and some other ingredients.
Here are some places to find the best bowl of Pho in the Old Quarter:
Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su
- Location: 10 Ly Quoc Su Street
- Price range: 70,000 – 120,000/ bowl
Pho Gia Truyen
- Location: 49 Bat Dan Street
- Opening time: 06:00 am – 10:00 am & 18:00 pm – 20:30 pm
- Price range: 50,000 – 70,000/ bowl
- Location: 25 Hang Giay Street
- Opening time: 06:00 am – 22:00 pm
- Price range: 50,000/ bowl
- Location: 61 Dinh Tien Hoang Street
- Opening time: 06:30 am – 20:30 pm
- Price range: 60,000/ bowl
b. Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup)
Similar to beef pho, Pho Ga is served with onions, coriander beside chicken meat. Pho ga is a natural remedy for a common cold in Vietnam history.
- Location: 15 Hang Hom Street
- Opening time: 18:00 pm – 23:00 pm
- Price range: 30,000 – 50,000/ bowl
Pho Ga Dac Biet
- Location: 1 Hang Dieu Street
- Opening time: 05:30 am – 13:30 pm
- Price range: 30,000 – 70,000/ bowl
Pho Tu Lun
- Location: 5 Hang Trong Street
- Opening time: 06:00 am – 13:00 pm & 15:00 pm – 23:00 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 40,000/ bowl
- Location: 11 Hang Hom Street
- Opening time: 06:00 am – 23:00 pm
- Price range: 25,000 – 50,000/ bowl
2. Cha Ca (Grilled fish)
Cha Ca is one of the most complicated dishes in Vietnamese traditional food. In making a delicious and attractive Cha Ca dish, the chef has to follow a strict requirement process to maintain the unique taste of this special type of fish. Cha Ca is served with fish (the main material) usually processed from Ca Lang (Hemibagrus fish), Bun (vermicelli), peanut, fresh green onion, dill, basil and mam tom (shrimp paste). This is the most famous Cha Ca restaurants in Hanoi Old Quarter:
Cha Ca La Vong
- Location: 14 Cha Ca Street
- Opening time: 11:00 am – 14:00 pm & 17:00 pm – 21:00 pm
- Price range: 175,000/ pax
Cha Ca Thang Long
- Location: 19, 21 & 23 Duong Thanh Street
- Opening time: 09:00 am – 22:30 pm
- Price range: 150,000/ pax
3. Bun Cha
Bun Cha is a well-known Hanoi originated dish for breakfast and lunch. It is served with rice noodles (bun) over a plate of grilled fatty pork (Cha) and herbs and dipping sauce. You can easily find Bun Cha anywhere around Hanoi city from Street vendors to big restaurants. In many stores, they have served Bun Cha from generation to generation with a special formula.
Pour some vinegar into the soup. Throw some fresh herbs in. Grab some rice noodles using your chopstick and dip into the soup. Grab the fatty pork along with your noodles. Voila! Your taste buds sing and dance to the rhythm of every slurp.
Bun Cha Huong Lien
- Location: 24 Le Van Huu Street
- Opening time: 10:00 am – 19:00 pm
- Price range: 40,000 – 60,000/ set
Bun Cha Dac Kim
- Location: 1 Hang Manh Street
- Opening time: 07:00 am – 20:00 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 50,000/ set
Bun Cha 34
- Location: 34 Hang Than Street
- Opening time: 07:00 am – 17:00 pm
- Price range: 35,000 – 60,000/ set
Bun Cha Nem Cua Be
- Location: 59 Hang Ma Street
- Opening time: 07:00 am – 14:00 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 40,000/ set
4. Xoi (Sticky Rice)
Xoi is a standout breakfast dish for Vietnamese people because of its affordable, convenient, tasty and extremely filling. Xoi is usually made from glutinous rice and several other ingredients like black beans, mung beans, coconut, cassava, and meat. A pack of Xoi is only to cost you around 10,000 to 25,000 VND but in the restaurant, it may cost you more due to their services and some special ingredients. Occasionally, Xoi can be used as a snack, junk food between meals to save hunger and dessert. Thanks to its popularity, Xoi is not only served in the morning but all day throughout the Hanoi Old Quarter.
- Location: 63 Hang Luoc Street
- Opening time: 10:00 am – 14:30 pm & 17:00 pm – 22:00 pm
- Price range: 5,000 – 40,000/ pax
- Location: 57 Tho Nhuom Street
- Opening time: 06:00 am – 10:00 am
- Price range: 10,000 – 25,000/ pax
Xoi Cat Lam
- Location: 24B Duong Thanh Street
- Opening time: 06:00 am – 23:00 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 50,000/ pax
- Location: 53 – 55 Hang Giay Street
- Opening time: 17:00 am – 23:00 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 40,000/ pax
- Location: 1 Bat Dan Street
- Opening time: 07:30 am – 23:00 pm
- Price range: 15,000 – 25,000/ pax
- Location: 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Street
- Opening time: 07:00 am – 14:00 pm
- Price range: 35,000 – 44,000/ pax
5. Banh Mi
Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich style with worldwide popularity due to its energetic, healthy, flavorsome and immensely. The origin of Banh Mi is the French-style breakfast platters. During Vietnam’s colonial era, this dish was the combination of crusty baguettes, meats, pate, pickled vegetables and was served separately until the late 1950s. The modern Banh Mi was created by the Le family, a small restaurant owner in Saigon, began putting these ingredients inside the baguette so that the meal can be taken-away and be enjoyed on-the-go.
Today, Banh Mi is highly recommended as a must-try food in Hanoi by many well-known chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain, even Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull loves this. To enjoy your own this special Banh Mi dish, you can go to:
Banh Mi Minh Nhat – Banh Mi MasterChef
- Location: 14 Hang Khay Street
- Opening time: 06:30 am – 22:00 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 40,000/ per
Banh My Duc Long
- Location: 06 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street
- Opening time: 10:00 am – 23:30 pm
- Price range: 15,000 – 30,000/ per
Banh Mi 25
- Location: 25 Hang Ca Street
- Opening time: 07:00 am – 20:15 pm
- Price range: 15,000 – 35,000/ per
Banh My P
- Location: 12 Hang Buom Street
- Opening time: 07:00 am – 18:00 pm
- Price range: 8,000 – 35,000/ per
6. Mien Luon (Eel noodles)
Enjoy the crispy eels with flavorful vermicelli in an authentic eating spot. Mien Luon (Eel noodles) is the most favorite dish you have to try in Hanoi Old Quarter. The unique Mien Luon is made of eels (you can choose between crispy fried or regular), noodles, garnished with herbs, fried shallots, and peanuts. You can have it with soup or dry. Before eating, some locals squeeze a slice of lemon on the eel noodles.
If you are on a Street food odyssey, you should not miss this out.
Mien Luon Phu Doan
- Location: 09 Phu Doan Street
- Opening time: 17:00 pm – 22:30 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 55,000/ bowl
Mien Luon Dong Thinh
- Location: 87 Hang Dieu Street
- Opening time: 06:30 am – 21:30 pm
- Price range: 30,000 – 65,000/ bowl
Mien Luon Tan Tan
- Location: 16 Tue Tinh Street
- Opening time: 08:00 am – 22:00 pm
- Price range: 30,000 – 66,000/ bowl
7. Banh Ran
Banh ran is the Vietnamese version of a doughnut, but with the hole inside. These are two types of Banh Ran in Vietnam: the sweet and the salty. The sweet Banh Ran is stuffed with steamed mung beans and the salty Banh Ran is filled with minced meat, prawn, veggie, glass noodles,… After being deep-fried, the Banh ran is golden brown with a crispy wrapper and aromatic flavor. Banh ran is usually served with a dipping sauce.
This little donut is usually found for sale by old women wandering around Hanoi Old Quarter. The pride is around 30,000 VND to 50,000 VND for 10 donuts. These Banh Ran ladies are quite friendly, so you can choose to pay a little extra for the convenience.
If you want some real legit Banh Ranh store, you can head to:
Quan Goc Da
- Location: 52 Ly Quoc Su Street
- Opening time: 09:00 am – 16:00 pm
- Price range: 4,000 – 17,000/ per
- Location: 1A Hang Chieu Street
- Opening time: 08:00 am – 15:00 pm
- Price range: 3,000 – 10,000/ per
Banh Ngon Pho Co
- Location: 3 Cua Dong Street
- Opening time: 14:00 pm – 20:00 pm
- Price range: 10,000 – 20,000/ per
Banh Goi, Ha Cao, Banh Ran
- Location: 49 Hang Chieu Street
- Opening time: 13:00 pm – 19:00 pm
- Price range: 3,000 – 8,000/ per
8. Cafe Trung
If you love coffee and dessert, you will be pleasantly surprised by Vietnamese egg coffee or Cafe Trung. Unlike Western normal coffee, Hanoi locals were extremely creative in that they found a new way to enjoy their coffee: coffee with egg. Coffee Trung or also known as Egg Coffee is served with egg yolks whisked on top.
Egg coffee has been invented by a bartender called Nguyen Van Giang in Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, Hanoi since the 1940s, when he tried to whisk eggs into the coffee cup as he could not find fresh milk. Favorably, the result was a smash. With their unique technique, the egg tasted soft and creamy meringue in the coffee. Therefore, he decided to open a coffee shop on his own and named Cafe Giang.
Consequently, Egg coffee has gained an unquestionable reputation since then. Moreover, many versions of the original recipe have been altered or replaced. Here are some high-ranked coffee shops serving the best Cafe Trung in Hanoi Old Quarter.
- Location: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street
- Opening time: 07:00 pm – 22:30 pm
- Price range: 15,000 – 33,000/ cup
- Location: 13 Dinh Tien Hoang Street
- Opening time: 07:00 pm – 22:30 pm
- Price range: 30,000 – 70,000/ cup
Loading T Cafe
- Location: 8 Chan Cam Street
- Opening time: 09:00 pm – 23:00 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 45,000/ cup
Vuon Pho Co Cafe
- Location: 11 Hang Gai Street
- Opening time: 07:00 pm – 22:00 pm
- Price range: 20,000 – 55,000/ cup
II. Insider tips
- Keep your wallet in a front pocket or, preferably, in one that buttons shut or carry your purse with the strap around your neck and the clasp against your body.
- When it comes to the old quarter, you may have to experience an authentic traffic jam in Vietnam if you rent a motorbike. The traffic jam hours are usually from 07:30 am – 08:30 am, when people go to work or from 16:30 – 19:00 pm when people get home.
Therefore, if you don’t dare to drive, you just need to take a Grab, Go Viet. This is like an Uber in Vietnam but you can choose a car or motorbike.
III. Food tour with local guides
If you don’t feel like doing a food tour alone, why not join our food tour with local guides. This is a tour where you will have a driving or walking tour guide, a Hanoi city tour and most of all, a meal with your new buddies. A great way to get to know Hanoi’s insight.
1. Walking Food Tour With Food Blogger
Let’s meet food blogger Mr. Van Cong Tu to experience a mouth-watering food tour of Hanoi Old Quarter. He was starting to expose his love for food and culture in 2005. The trip starts in Thanh Ha bustling market. While searching for some best culinary spots, you will hear about local delicacies. Stroll through the Old Quarter until the Dong Xuan market, where you can capture the essence of Hanoi culture while sampling local treats like Bun Dau and Pho Tiu. Continue to capture some French-influenced dessert in Hang Than Street and seasonal fruit in Hang Cot Street. In the end, you will stop at a well-known and busiest coffee shop in Hanoi before transferring back to the hotel.
- Availability: Morning, Afternoon
- Suggested time:08:30 – 11:30; 12:00 – 15:00; 16:00 – 19:00
- Duration: 3 hours.
- Capacity: Min. 2 pax – Max.. 10 pax
2. Motorbike Food Tour In Hanoi After Dark
For people who are confident in motorbike riding or just love to experience the hustle and bustle of Hanoi city when the light on, this is your tour. Start your afternoon with a classy cocktail or drinks and snack in a modernistic coffee with your local guide. Then, weaving on the back of old-school but super duper Vespas to experience some busy back Streets of Hanoi Old Quarter. Just when you arrive at the railway tracks, you would taste a buffalo jerky appetizer with some infused rice wine. Then, head up to a famous Bun Cha restaurant. Just when you think you are full-fill, the vintage Vespas will take you out of the Old quarter to West Lake to learn the art of local culinary culture in Spring roll – Pho Cuon. Last, you stop at a Jazz Club, next to the Opera House, with 30’s Jazz styles and Vietnamese music.
- Availability: Evening only
- Suggested time: 18:00
- Duration: 4 hours
- Capacity: Min. 1 pax, Max. 6 pax.
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