So much to eat but so little time. Hanoi is full of great dishes, but here are four you simply can’t do without. Grab a chair, pull out the chopsticks, and dig in.
This dish is probably best known in the West for its cameo in Barak Obama’s Hanoi trip and meal out with Vietnam food fanatic Anthony Bourdain. Bun Cha is a hearty meal comprising rice noodles, grilled pork patties, pork belly, fresh herbs, and a rich sweet and sour broth.
It’s Hanoi’s favorite lunchtime dish, and with good reason. The best bun cha should come accompanied with fried spring rolls, especially those that are stuffed with crab. This is harder to find than you might think, but you can tuck into a delicious bowl of bun cha with a side dish of crab spring rolls at Ngon Villa.
It’s hard to talk about Vietnam without mentioning pho (pronounced like “fur”). It’s a dish, like many, that has a variety of flavors across the country. Ask someone in the south who does the best pho and they’ll say the south, ask someone in the north and, well, you get the idea.
Consisting of rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, and beef broth, pho is a canvas for you to paint. Garlic lovers can add their own garlic. if you’re a fan of citrus, a squeeze of lime with give you your desired tastes. And anyone looking for a kick can beef their dish up with a jar of chilli. You’ll find Hanoi’s tastiest beef broth at Home Restaurant.
Cha ca is a dish so beloved in Hanoi that it has a street named after it. Once the freshly caught fish is thrown into the pot, which resonates in the centre of your table, an explosion of herbs will wash over you.
If you ask a Hanoi local which way they prefer to eat cha ca, they’ll likely attest to the unique flavors of mam tom – though it must be said, mam tom is something of an acquired taste. Visitors to Vietnam may, instead, prefer to enjoy this dish with fish sauce of soy sauce.
You’ll find Home Restaurant’s “grilled catch-of-the-day with Hanoi’s herbs and rice paper roll” to be one of the most authentic versions of the dish available in Hanoi.
Che, which, in Vietnamese simply means desert, comes in many varieties. There is che with mung beans (che ba mau), che with black beans (che dau den), which is one of the most popular varieties in northern Vietnam, a jelly che called che thach or any number of fruit, jelly, bean or dumpling rice variety.
Che can be hot or che can be cold. It can be a sweet beverage, a dessert soup, or a pudding. Needless to say, che can be a lot of things.
If you want to try a truly delicious and unique che, head to Home Moc for the coffee jelly and almond che. It’s a hit with locals and foreigners alike.