Where To Eat In Hanoi Vietnam – Top 10
When it comes to where to eat in Hanoi, Vietnam, this place has a heart of gold and a stomach of steel with its developing dining scene now rivalling Ho Chi Minh’s in sophistication. It’s not just about five-star luxury or stodgy fine dining in the capital, it’s about fresh and uncomplicated local specialties served on the street more often than not.
The city’s most famous export, Pho, can be found in improvised living room cafes, as can everything from crispy deep-fried nem (pork spring rolls) wrapped in herbs and coated in fish sauce (beef noodle soup).
Moreover, Hanoi’s food and drink scene is centred around coffee, which is brewed strong, sweet and buttery and served in a wide variety of cafes across the city although a must-have drink is the famous weasel coffee, made with beans digested by weasels. YES, REALLY!!
So, with that intro being said, here are in my opinion, 10 of the best places, cafes or restaurants to eat at in Hanoi, Vietnam…
1. Cafe Duy Tri
One of the most authentic examples of Vietnamese café culture is to be found in Hanoi’s old quarter, where this smokey, run-down cafe has been open since 1936.
It’s a local favourite, with its sagging vintage furniture and whirring fans, to sit on a tiny wicker stool and sip weasel coffee on the cafe’s three floors of low ceilings and buzzing fans. While your there, try the yoghurt-flavored iced coffee on the house, you won’t regret it.
• 43 Pho Yen Phu Street
2. 14 Hang Ga Street
Street vendors in Hanoi are known for serving banh cuon (rice pancakes packed with pork mince and aromatic black mushrooms). Crispy fried shallots, lime juice and fresh herbs round out the dish’s presentation.
An excellent example of the Vietnamese concept of flavour and texture balance – savoury, sour, soft and crunchy as well as herbaceous, this dish is served at this simple cafeteria and you’ll be hard pressed to find it better prepared or fresher anywhere else in the city.
3. 43 Cau Go Street
When it’s time for lunch in Hanoi, usually about 11 a.m, the aroma of smoky barbecued pig tempts your taste buds. It’s called bun cha and it’s a northern delicacy that’s been around for a long time. A small coal fire and an electric fan are used to cook the food in front of you in this rough-and-tumble patio kitchen.
It’s all under one pound and includes everything from pork and spring onion meatballs to spicy carrot and cabbage pickles to a platter of freshly fried nem (pork spring rolls).
4. Cafe Loc Tai
There are several bakeries in Hanoi today, thanks in large part to France’s colonisation of Vietnam from the mid-19th century to World War II. Cafè Loc Tai’s menu includes everything from sesame Madeleines, croissants and deep-fried sausage rolls to fruits and yoghurt-based soups with floral fruit jellies and tapioca pearls.
Indulge your sweet tooth by sipping on the sticky-sweet soup of hot coconut milk with peanuts and banana pieces that have been cooked in rice and banana leaves until they’re gooey. Yummy!
• 53 Hang Dieu
5. Cafe Pho Co
Reportedly this is Hanoi’s oldest cafe and is located atop Hang Gai and offering sweeping views of Hoan Kiem lake’s emerald vastness, a hidden gem well worth seeking out. The approach to a shrine-filled courtyard is lined with silk and trinket shops, with birds chirping from cages and flora dripping from nearby rooftops.
Go up the cafe’s cast-iron spiral staircase to the upper levels, where you can sip on freshly-squeezed fruit juice while taking in the city’s cacophony of noise and organised chaos.
• 11 Hang Gai
6. Pho 10
If you visit Hanoi, you must try pho, the city’s most well-known meal (pronounced fuh). The Vietnamese enjoy this fragrant and substantial beef noodle soup for breakfast or dinner every day and it’s a beloved dish in these parts.
When the big vats of bubbling stock in the kitchen of Pho 10 in Hanoi’s old quarter fog up the kitchen windows, you know you’re eating at a reputable establishment. A bowl of the good stuff with chilli, bean sprouts and a dash of lime costs around 20,000 Dong (about 70p / $1).
• 10 Ly Quoc Su
7. Xoi Yen
There is a street food dish in Hanoi known as xoi, which has gained in popularity in recent years among the city’s younger residents. Sticky rice with buttery shaved bean curd, crunchy shallots and a variety of toppings from pâté to fried eggs is a delicious and filling snack and if you want something to fill you up before a beer hoi tour, this is the perfect dish.
Many people gather in Xoi Yen late at night to eat rice with a thin caramelised pork sauce and listen to the sounds of passing street karaoke and watch the evening world go by.
• 35B Nguyen Huu Huan
8. Highway Four
Highway Four, a bar and restaurant in Hanoi’s lively Hang Tre neighbourhood, is a great place to try true Vietnamese rice wine. Traditional yeast and herbs from the La Chi Gia district are used in the restaurant’s Son Tinh liqueur, which comes in a variety of fruit flavours, from mulberry to rose apple.
Pass the kitchen, where Vietnamese specialties like roasted crickets and jellyfish salad are being prepared and make your way to the third floor. The rooftop patio is a great place to relax and unwind, with low lighting and kneeling mats to create a cosy setting for drinking and dancing.
• 5 Hang Tre, highway4.com
9. Cafe Nha Tho
In the shadow of Hanoi’s most impressive Catholic Church, you’ll find Cafe Nha Tho. At first glance, it appears to be a strange but distinctively Vietnamese juxtaposition, gown-draped painted angels look down on youthful, trendy Hanoians from the building’s exterior on little stools.
Even if you’re not a native Vietnamese, you’ll soon feel at home in the city’s conviviality as you nibble pumpkin seeds and sip sua chua thach — a mixture of ice, yoghurt and candied fruit.
• 2 Nha Chung
10. Restaurant Bobby Chinn
Restaurant Bobby Chinn, located in the Tay Ho district, is a great option if you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience. Relocated from Hoan Kiem Lake to this expatriate area, its comfortable yet exquisite dining room with its crimson silk curtains and local art-adorned walls is still one of Hanoi’s finest eating venues despite the rising rent.
New Zealand-born and British-educated half-Chinese, half-Egyptian and well-known resident chef in Vietnam, Chinn’s cooking has been defined as fusion since it combines his British schooling with Vietnamese cultural influences and life in Vietnam (he came to the country to learn how to cook Vietnamese cuisine and never left). Try the famed wasabi mash and the green tea smoked duck and i guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.
• 77 Xuan Dieu Street
So there you have it, 10 of the best eateries in Hanoi in my opinion, any of which you can’t go wrong. It just depends on what your looking for and what you prefer but whichever you choose, happy eating!