Top 5 Dishes You SHOULD Eat IN HANOI (PLUS Free Food TouR MAP Included!)
Days before arriving in Hanoi, I began my research on where to eat. I was intrigued by these food tours as I like to be super efficient during my travels. But none of these food tours ever shared their actual tours on the site. You had to commit, pay, and join the tour…
Well, poo poo on that! I am all about sharing and I’m about to give you the best food tour filled with my favorite dishes in Hanoi FOR FREE. That’s right, folks. For Free. Why? Because sharing is caring. I’m all about that good juju. Shame on you for keeping delicious, tasty things to yourself!
So here are my favorite dishes in Hanoi and how to compile all of them into one delicious day of fun. Clearly, you don’t have to do it all in one day, but if you only had one day in Hanoi, this is my gift to you. You’re welcome.
P.S. This food tour is based on your accommodations being in the Old Quarter. Most travelers that I meet make it their beeswax to stay in this region. Hey, you can do this backwards. Or mix it up. Do you, girl! For the proper map, scroll down to the bottom for the walking/driving/biking/skipping map for your convenience.
P.P.S. As you may know, in Vietnam, you eat in a lot of restaurants on stools and low tables. If you got tight hips, this could be challenging for you. Here’s my best friend’s yoga video on stretching your hips. There’s a reason Avery is not able to attend most of these functions with me.
#1 PHO GIA TRUYEN
Next to Saigon, this was one of the best pho I have ever had. I arrived at 7AM to properly experience the buzz and dynamic of the early morning rush. I was the only female there - let alone, the only tourist there. I loved it. You queue up, make your order (I chose the Pho Nam), pay $2 in cash, and shimmy to the side as you wait for your bowl. No number. You must wait. You’ll know it’s yours because the man will pop the bowl up on the counter, make eye contact with you, and nod your way. This meant, “This is yours. Now get outta here!” You carry your bowl to any available plastic stool you can find. I sat with a mom and son and some other random guy. No words needed. Just a smile and we all slurped together like one big family.
#2 Bahn Cuon Gia Truyen Thanh Van
Like many restaurants in South East Asia, there is primarily one dish on the menu - and it’s Bahn Cuon. This traditional Northern Vietnam dish ventured its way down to Hanoi. This is where locals eat this speciality and I’ll go wherever they go. These delicate steam rolls filled with vegetables and your choice of pork, chicken, or shrimp. My personal favorite is the shrimp but Avery liked the pork. Each dish costs roughly between $1.50-$2. So bomb.
#3 Bahn Mi 25
Walk two small blocks to our our favorite Bahn Mi spot in all of Vietnam. I’m going to vent for a moment. In America, they stuff these sandos to the max. But in Vietnam, you’re often left with TOO much bread and not enough filling. And often times the fillings are super processed. Here, at Bahn Mi 25, all the ingredients are fresh with the right balance of filling to bread. They also have their own hot sauce that I wish I could take home with me. Our favorite order was the #2 barbecued pork with or without paté. We obviously got it with the paté. The owner here is a super cool dude - say hi! FYI, they close at 7pm so don’t expect a late night nom after drinking at this spot.
#4 The Hanoi Social Club
Now, we need some coffee! Mosey on over to the famous Hanoi Social Club. With their cozy interiors and delicious Vietnamese coffee, it’s a wonderful place to relax in between meals. Make sure you check out upstairs as well - but if you go in the morning, they don’t open that up until 9-9:30AM or so. The croissant wasn’t the best, but damn it looks sexy in this photo, doesn’t it? I hear positive notes about the cocktails and I hear not-so-positive reviews about the food. Take your chances but don’t worry, the next place will satisfy all your hungry needs!!
#5 Bun Cha Huong Lien
Ah, the famous restaurant where President Obama and Anthony Bourdain humbly ate noodles on plastic chairs. I recommend taking an Uber or taxi to head to this next location from Hanoi Social Club. You may walk - it’s roughly 2.5km. For most Asian cultures, they would never dare to walk that distance but if you’re a walker, you can easily achieve this (Becca, I see you!) Hey, it might work up an appetite for you.
I had every intention to order the exact same thing that the President ordered. You may order each item separately if you please, but they do offer the Obama Combo. This included one Hanoi beer, a fried seafood roll, grilled pork, Vietnamese noodles, and dipping sauce. Avery and I ate 3 combos. It’s THAT good. There’s nothing more attractive than seeing a handsome man in a suit with rolled up white-button sleeves chowing down on noodles and a beer while sitting on a plastic chair. I am going to do my best to learn how to cook this recipe so I can make it for Avery when he comes home from work in his handsome outfit ::SWOON::
There’s the end of my food tour, guys! Comment below if you’ve had tried these and loved them! Or not. Or if you have any suggestions to add to the fantastic food tour.
Happy Eating! Peace.