I was so excited to write my food guide in Hanoi that there are so many best restaurant near me.
Sometimes the only way to finish my freelance job is to talk like a four year old. "Finish this article for ice cream / write the blog you want!"
So I finished my article and now I'm talking about the best local food in Hanoi (while drinking ice cream, of course) including some trip advisors restaurants near me. Vietnamese food is one of my favorite dishes. I like the sweet and lively balance, the taste of fish sauce, the chaotic street restaurants and the prices. I really like the prices! Some travelers prefer Vietnamese food and I think they are as crazy as a bag of snakes. Unless they are vegetarian and then I understand why (note: prepare for a meat-rich food guide). Vietnamese cuisine may not be as complete as Thai or Indian cuisine, but subtle, smoky flavors make it a winner for me.
The food in Hanoi is unique and can not be found anywhere else - dig! Hanoi and Saigon are the culinary capitals of Vietnam and their specialties meet in the middle to enrich many menus of Hoi An restaurant. I have already posted my great Saigon food guide and now I will focus on the best local food in Hanoi. Some dishes overlap with those of Saigon while others are entirely different.
Before I begin, I want to thank Backstreet Academy for introducing me to at least four of the delicious dishes in this Hanoi food guide. More on Backstreet and their fantastic tours later!
So here you go, the best foods to try in the tripadvisor hanoi restaurants …
I'm not saying that my second trip to Vietnam was directly the result of bun cha, but let's just say it was probably a factor. This succulent and smoked dish is prepared from pork with slow cooking in a savory broth. This is usually a portion of nem (fried spring rolls), rice noodles and a basket of herbs and leaves. Add them to the broth with a good dose of chilli if you dare!
Bun Cha became famous when the late Anthony Bourdain (while filming Parts Unknown) and President Obama huddled in a steaming bowl perched on plastic stools. The local population seemed speechless and the modest restaurant was never mentioned in a sentence without the word 'Obama' ever since. True story (probably).
Bun ca (fish noodles)
Bun cha and bun ca differ only in one letter but are two completely separate dishes. Bun means noodles to fish and is really delicious. The fish is fried, that is to say, salty, tasty and perfectly adapted to a fresh and tangy broth.
Where to try bun ca: I tried bun ca in the alley Trung Yen, a gourmet street famous for its inhabitants and little known tourists (thanks to Backstreet Academy for this one!). Street restaurants are not mapped online, but you can easily pull a stool and order a bowl of steaming bun. Show them this picture if you are stuck.
One of the best restaurants near me in Hanoi is the banh cuon without a doubt! The soft rice dough is stuffed with a pork and mushroom garnish and garnished with crispy onions. It's not spicy or spicy like many other Vietnamese dishes, but you can always add chilli or lime. Banh Cuon is traditionally a breakfast dish, but nowadays modern places serve it all day long.
Where to try bahn cuon: The best place to try the banh cuon is Huong Sen on Hoi Vu. My portion was sweet, consistent and freshly prepared on a hot plate. Huong Sen does not serve bahn cuon after breakfast time. Therefore, if you are looking for it later in the day, go to Ky Dong Restaurant at Tong Duy Tan. This open-air restaurant serves all your Vietnamese dishes, so it's a good place to try other dishes. Both places charge 20-30k VND for the banh cuon.
Nem cua be (nems of crab)
This version of "nem" (fried spring rolls) looks like the one that comes with the bun cha. However, they have a different fill: a richer and richer crab.
Where to try nem cua be: I had a fantastic and very cheap portion to Noodle and Roll in the old neighborhood. It's a restaurant rather than a street restaurant, making it a favorite spot for beginners.
Ca cuon thit - a variation of the above
Translated into "meat of fish roll", these fries look like crab rolls, but fish rather than crab and an extra layer of pork. It is interesting to note that this dish is not only from Hanoi, it is also unique in the street where it is served, Trung Yen, where I also ate a roll. As above, I recommend you to show them this picture and this text because the pronunciations in Vietnamese can be difficult (I would not trust to see it up close!).
Bun bo nam bo
You will see bun bo nam bo everywhere. It is a staple of Hanoi made from Vietnam's favorite ingredients: beef, noodles, bean sprouts, peanuts and herbs. Honestly? It was not my favorite dish in Hanoi. It's delicious, cheap and plentiful, but not as exciting or tasty as other dishes. Although I do not think it would win the crown of the best local food in Hanoi, it could still be a competitor, especially if you generally prefer simpler foods. Maybe you have it as your first meal to relax!
Where to try bun bo nam bo: I tried it at Noodle and Roll, my favorite Old Quarter restaurant mentioned above. I also saw a restaurant called Bun Bo Nam Bo in Hang-Dieu, which serves it exclusively. According to Trip Advisor, they are the best in the industry!
Well, it would not be a food guide to Hanoi without a banh mi, huh?
In case you do not know it, banh put are fresh crispy baguettes filled with meat, vegetables and tasty sauces. It's a million times more delicious than can be described. I would recommend:
Pho (bo or ga)
I find the popularity of pho in the West strange, while tons of equally delicious Vietnamese dishes are not recognized. I do not eat pho as often as some dishes, but when I have a good mood, it's good, piquant and warm. Opt for "bo" (beef) or "ga" (chicken). The beef is much better in my opinion.
Tip to order pho: do not be this Occidental who says it badly! Say the sound "o" translates as prostitute. Say 'fuh'.
Where to try the pho: eat Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan (49 Bát Đàn Street) for 50k VND. This portion (photo) was amazing - beef so juicy! The variety served here is pho tai nam which, I believe, includes various cuts of meat. Expect a round steak, flank, breast, etc.
The other place where I see huge queues is Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su is the trip advisors restaurants near me. I have not eaten here yet, but people do not wait so long without reason! These two restaurants in the Old Quarter are necessarily an excellent introduction to pho or a solid repetitive portion.
Bún riêu (crab noodles
I did not know there was so much seafood in Hanoi that the Backstreet Academy did show me around. I did not know how many types of noodle dishes existed in Vietnam - it's crazy! Bún riêu noodles are thick, juicy and round, unlike pho pasta. Crab noodles are usually a real treat. My generous portion was filled with fresh white meat, succulent vegetables and a powerful chili shot.
Where to eat bún riêu: Nguyen Seui restaurant serves delicious crab noodles for lunch only; it will later become a pork restaurant. Visit 23 Nguyen Sieu Street between 10am and 2pm. Dinner here was a real experience because the stools were the smallest I have ever seen: I was about 10 inches off the ground!
Honestly, I would not have found half of the best restaurants near me in this gourmet guide in Hanoi without the Backstreet Academy. To give you a bit of background, it's a travel agency in Southeast Asia that works with local businesses in the field to improve their livelihoods and provide travelers with an authentic local experience.I really like; the focus is always on an authentic cultural experience.