Updated: Jan 21
(₫ - Vietnamese dong, currency of Vietnam)
Vietnam is full of delicious and affordable food, and Hanoi offers some of the tastiest traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Don't let the prices fool you, as the taste, portions, and quality of the food won't disappoint.
If you are a foodie, Vietnam should be near, if not at the top of the bucket-list! We did not expect to enjoy the cuisine as much as we did while traveling through the country. There's something about the mix of spices and fresh grown crops from nearby fields, and oils that give Vietnamese food a distinctly clean and delicious flavor.
When in Vietnam, eat to your heart's content! It is by far one of the cheapest countries for food in Souteast Asia.
The dishes that usually come to mind when thinking about Vietnam are, of course, bánh mì and phở.
Bánh mì, these delicious french baguettes sliced and filled with various choices of meat and veggies can be eaten at any time of the day. The vegetables are usually pickled julienne carrots, cucumbers and radish. Some bánh mì sandwich shops switch it up and use different ingredients, from fried eggs to avocados.
Highly recommended restaurants for Bánh mì in Hanoi!
Bánh Mỳ P
Hours: Monday - Sunday 08:00am - 09:30pm
This is our favorite bánh mì place and we highly recommend the add-ons! A sandwich can cost you anywhere from ₫15k ($0.65) for an egg bánh mì up to ₫96k ($4.17 for every single topping on the most expensive sandwich)... definitely affordable.
This shop does not skimp on ingredients and all the meats are juicy and full-flavored. Definitely the spicy sauce will compliment your sandwich! This shop also sells beer, that tea, and other drinks.
WiFi Available (just ask, they are so friendly about it)
Hours: Monday - Sunday 06:30AM - 10:30PM (10:45PM depending on the location)
This was our "go to" place for a quick eat. This local chain called "Bami Bread" has multiple locations around Hanoi (11 stores), so check a map to locate the nearest spot.
We tried the bánh mì from multiple Bami Bread locations and they were consistently good. The bread is soft on the inside, and nice and crunchy on the outside. You can also eat inside the store if you prefer, they have little plastic stools to sit on.
Bánh mì 25
Hours: Monday - Saturday 07:00AM - 09:00PM
Sunday 07:00AM - 07:00PM
This place is definitely worth trying if you are in the area, but for the price it was skinny and didn't have much filling. The taste is not super memorable, but it was fresh. The staff were friendly. Outside at the bánh mì stand is where you place an order, then take a seat in the yellow open room with the bird charms hanging on a rope. This place also serves hot and cold drinks. The bill is settled at the front with the staff.
Average price of bánh mì (french baguette sandwiches): ₫15k-25k ($0.66-$1.09).
Phở is a soup noodle dish that typically consists of rice noodles (bánh phở), some herbs, spices and broth (usually beef, but chicken is also used). The dish is served with a plate of vegetables and herbs that can be added to enhance the flavor of the broth.
Average phở bò (beef noodle soup) price : ₫30k - 50k ($1.31-$2.19)
We ate at two phở places in Hanoi, but neither really stood out for us. Here are the ones we tried, it never hurts to try something again.
Phở 10 Lý Quốc Sư
Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Hours: Monday - Sunday 06:00am-10:00am
Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Other than the two most well known Vietnamese dishes, bánh mì and phở, there are other traditional dishes to try in Hanoi. Definitely try some bún chả and chả Cá thăng long.
Bún chả is a rice noodle dish with grilled pork and vegetables. The veggies and rice noodles come separate from the pork, which is combined and dipped into in a fish sauce or fish-sauce soup. It is very flavorful dish that goes well with beer. Don't forget the spring rolls; we regret not ordering more.
Bun Cha 34
Hours: Mon-Sun 08:30am - 05:00pm
Chả Cá Thăng Long
Chả Cá Thăng Long (tumeric marinated fish with dill) is a local specialty that's cooked in a skillet by the waiter at your table. It's a bit more pricier than many of the other foods we've tried, but it is definitely worth trying. The fish that's used in Cha Ca is called cá lóc, or snake-head fish. The fish is extremely tender and the fresh ingredients compliment the fish.
Both dishes can be found in Hanoi.
Chả Cá Thăng Long
Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00am - 09:30pm
Other yummy foods we tried in Hanoi
Hours: Mon- Sun 06:45am- 11:30pm
King Roti is an absolute must-try! They were one of our favorite foods to pick up, and for just ₫14k ($0.61). What a steal! When we visited the flavors were: chocolate, coffee vanilla, matcha and cheese. There is no shame in saying we tried them all! Sam's favorite was chocolate, and Russ' was matcha. The buns come fresh and hot out of the oven. The outside is crispy and sweet, while the inside is soft and chewy. The best part is the gooey, warm filling in the center!
This bubble drink chain also boasts multiple locations, so check a map for the nearest location.
This drink shop is great if you enjoy milk tea with or without the tapioca or mochi balls many call boba! The milk tea is always a great default, but the boba in the drink at Boba Pop was a bit too rubbery. The coffee jelly on the other hand was awesome! Here's the menu from the website. The price is average for drinks in Hanoi, running about ₫26k dong ($1.13) and up.
From what we experienced, almost each city in Vietnam has their own beer. Hanoi's beer is called Bia Hà Nôi, easy to remember.
There is also a cheaper beer that can be found! Look for bia hơi, which translates to draft beer. That is your go-to drink if you want to save dong (cash)! We drank bia hơi priced at ₫5k ($0.22) a glass in Old Quarters (see picture below of street signs). While listening to street Karaoke, we made some new friends there, too.
Initially, we read about visiting the two streets that make up Beer Corner. We visited each venue but they didn't sell bia hơi. The only bar (pictured above) had bia hơi on their menu which made our eyes light up. But, we were informed they were sold out. Beer corner turned out to be quite disappointing which led us to walk around the adjacent streets where we found the keg bia hơi.
Another night we decided to visit a local bia hơi near our stay that advertised their ₫6k ($0.26) beer on a large banner. (There are multiple locations around Hanoi.) When we first sat down the staff told us the beer would be ₫8k. Confused, we pointed to the large banner with the ₫6k price tag. The waiter wasn't sure what to do, so the aunty who ran the place came up to us and told us that the beer is ₫6k, no worries.
The local bia hơi is large indoor/outdoor seating area with plastic tables and chairs. Locals come to these watering holes for affordable beer and food. We also tried their fried noodles, it was not bad.
There are so many places to eat in Hanoi, just keep in mind the best places are usually where the locals eat.
Here are some helpful words for Vietnamese cuisine. Fair warning, though, in the city you won't really see any cat, dog, or horse meat restaurants, they are mostly in the country side. However, in Hanoi, we did see a restaurant with a cage of pigeons outside, definitely steer clear of those eateries, unless you prefer a bite of squab.
Meat - Thịt
Chicken - Thịt gà
Beef - Thịt bò
Cat meat - Thịt mèo
Dog meat - Thịt chó
Horse meat - Thịt ngựa
Duck- Con vịt
Coffee - Cà phê
Hot - Nóng
Cold - Lạnh
Hot Coffee with milk - Cà phê sữa nóng
Tea - Trà
Water - Nước
We'll be back to Hanoi for more of their authentic, traditional cuisines.