Vietnamese cuisine varies by region. Each city, even each village, has its own list of unique local specialties. Hanoi is no exception. Many of the popular Vietnamese dishes originated here. This city is famous for its street food culture. Street food stalls are popular and make up for the vast majority of Hanoi food. Some of the best and most surprising local foods in Hanoi are made on the sidewalks with locals and not in restaurants.

In this guide, Vespa Vietnam Tour will highlight 10 of the best authentic and local foods in Hanoi you must eat and where to have them.

See more: Vespa Tours: Cruise Through the Heart of Saigon

1. Phở – Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Pho is the classic dish of Hanoi and one that you cannot miss.  Pho, while known as the national dish of Vietnam, originated in the North. It became popular as a hearty soup eaten by the rice field workers for breakfast.

Pho is a flat rice noodle soup made of a fragrant meat broth, most commonly beef and sometimes chicken. This aromatic soup is filled with slices of meat and a plateful of fresh herbs. The fresh herbs used in the soup typically include green onions, ginger, and coriander.

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

The meat, primarily beef, consists of thin cuts added to the soup. In Hanoi, we found Pho served most commonly prepared with three types of meat.

Pho Tai is made with slices of rare beef steak, Pho Nam is served with beef flank pieces. And finally, Pho Gau which has slices of brisket. 

Hearty but not heavy, this flavorful soup and Hanoi street food is commonly found at breakfast. 

2. Bún Chả  – Barbecued Pork with Rice Vermicelli

Bun Cha is definitely one of local foods in Hanoi that you must try. Bun Cha consists of grilled pork strips and balls or chả served over a bed of steaming rice vermicelli noodles or bún. The vermicelli noodles served on the side are thin, soft and slightly chewy. 

It typically comes with a plate of fresh Vietnamese herbs and a bowl of dipping sauce.  Pickled vegetables, like cabbage, carrots, onion or green papaya are served with additional meatballs on the side. 

Barbecued Pork with Rice Vermicelli

The sauce is made of the famous Vietnamese fish sauce or Nuoc Mam combined with vinegar, lime, sugar, garlic and chili.

While the origin of bun cha is unclear, it is known as a Hanoi food staple. In Saigon, you will find bun cha sweeter cousin called Bun Thit Nuong. This rice noodles dish is made with grilled meat and served directly in the same bowl.

3. Bánh Mì – Vietnamese Sandwich

The banh mi sandwich is truly the best Vietnamese sandwich to fall in love with. While its origins are French, the Vietnamese have made it distinctively. 

Generally speaking, it is an airy Vietnamese baguette made with a combination of wheat and rice flour with a thin crispy crust. 

Banh mi thit nuong

Banh mi is stuffed with pork, pâté, cured ham, and a mélange of Vietnamese herbs and vegetables. Coriander, cucumber, carrot, slices, radish, and more make up for the banh mi vegetables depending on where you are in Vietnam.

With a wealth of textures and flavors, you will savor spicy, salty, savory, sweet, and aromatic tastes in each bite. 

See more: Everything about “Banh Mi” – a fantastic Street Food in Vietnam

4. Cà Phê Trứng- Vietnamese Egg Coffee 

Although it is not technically a food specialty, Cafe Trung is a Hanoi specialty coffee.

This Vietnamese egg coffee is the most famous in the north of Vietnam. It is a thick dark coffee topped with egg yolk whipped with condensed milk into an airy froth. Rich in taste, it can be likened to a tiramisu dessert. 

Unlike Mexican coffee which is made with arabica beans, Vietnam’s coffee is made from robusta beans.  This coffee tends to be strong, harsh, and bitter and is often consumed with milk to balance out the flavors.

Vietnamese egg coffee

During the war and due to milk shortages, Nguyen Van Giang, a bartender at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, created egg coffee. He is said to have whisked in an egg to the coffee giving birth to this legendary Hanoi coffee drink.

Today, Vietnamese egg coffee is closer to a dessert than coffee.  It is made with creamy condensed milk and beaten up egg yolk until it becomes an airy, creamy and like meringue.

Egg coffee is an experience, especially when you want caffeine and dessert at the same time.

See more: Vespa tour Saigon: city and foody tour around Ho Chi Minh City

5. Bánh Cuốn – Steamed Rice Rolls

Banh Cuon is another local foods in Hanoi that originated in Northern Vietnam that you don’t want to miss. It is a delicate and light dish usually eaten for breakfast in Vietnam. However, you can find it all day long.

Banh cuon is made of a thin rice sheet rolled and filled with ground pork meat and minced mushrooms. It is served with fried shallots and cilantro herbs on top. Making Banh Cuon Must-Eat Food in Hanoi Authentic Food Quest 

Steamed Rice Rolls

The most fascinating is the process of making banh cuon. The rice sheet is made by steaming a fermented rice batter on a cloth stretched over a pot of boiling water.