The tangy kick of Vietnamese food, fresh with herbs and the citrus of lime, is now one of the hallmarks of the restaurant scene in many cities in the western world. To sample the true authentic taste of this vibrant cuisine, though, it pays to try out the street food vendors of Hanoi. Widely considered Vietnam’s culinary capital, let yourself be led by your nose here and the alluring smells will take you down fascinating alleys which reveal an invigorating city to explore.
Walk down any street in Hanoi and you’ll be seduced by the waft of meat grilling over coals, citrus fruit being squeezed and the umami hit of the popular fish sauce-based dressings being whipped up, but it is helpful to know a few of the very best spots when you’re in search of something special for lunch – sometimes the most unassuming streets are the home of real hidden gems. With that in mind, here are 3 of the best dishes you can try in Vietnam and where you can pick them up on the go.
Pho Gia Truyen
The line that forms outside this noodle soup spot in the old quarter tells you that they know a thing or two about how to make soup, but you’ll still be impressed by the depth of flavour they manage to achieve at Pho Gia Truyen. This is a dish traditionally slurped up for breakfast in Vietnam, though they are also open for dinner if you would prefer a restorative broth after a day’s sightseeing.
Banh Cuon Gia Truyen
Now arguably the most popular breakfast dish in the country, Banh Cuon steamed rice rolls are a delicious introduction to Vietnamese food, the seemingly plain rice exterior giving way to the delights of the fillings within (typically pork, onion and mushroom, although shrimp versions are also available).
43 Cau Go Street
One Vietnamese staple which you must try is Bun Cha, a typical dish in the north. At this al fresco spot, you can get barbecue pork with rice noodles and all the tantalising trimmings for under a pound. The smoky char on the meat here is not to be missed.
As delicious as it is great value, it is no surprise that Vietnamese food is now hailed as one of the most exciting cuisines out there. Take a tour through these historic streets and you’ll sample just how fresh and flavourful it can be, as well as encountering a fascinating window into Vietnamese culture through its food.