Highlights of Hanoi street food
You’ve probably heard of Hanoi’s famous dishes such as bun cha, bun oc, bun dau mam tom, nem cua be… Well, you can find them all (I mean, all 60+ of them) in this incredibly small road in front of Dong Xuan market (opposite 87 Hang Chieu). This place mainly caters for people working in/visiting the market, thus has the same age, opening and closing time as the market (30+ years old, open 7am to about 5pm). Most of the food stands here only have capacity for less than 5 people. We tried 4 Hanoi classic dishes: bun oc, bun cha, nem cua be and bun dau mam tom which were all very delicious.
|Bún chả – the black stuff on top is bò lá lốt (mince beef rolled in betel leaves)|
|Nem cua bể – fried crab spring rolls|
|Bún ốc – Snail noodle soup|
My most favourite was bun dau mam tom which slightly reminded me of Danang’s bun mam. The main ingredients of the dish are rice vermicelli, fried tofu, fried nem chua, perilla leaves and a special shrimp paste called “mắm tôm”. At first I was afraid of mam tom’s smell almost as much as how any foreigner would be terrified of Danang’s mam nem. But to my surprise it didn’t smell bad at all, and had a rather mild taste. That was thanks to the shop’s secret recipe, including the 2 kumquats mixed very well with the sauce before eating. See the video to know how to eat.
|My favourite – bún đậu mắm tôm|
After that we went to the next food stand which sold all kinds of che (Viet sweet dessert/pudding). I was automatically drawn to “che troi nuoc”, the little white sticky rice cake with green pea paste fillings in ginger sirup. When I was still in high school in Da nang, there was this shop next to my school selling “che troi nuoc”, so amazing that after it was closed, I had tried but failed to find an equally good che troi nuoc in Danang or anywhere else. Until that day in Ha Noi, finally I found the exact thing, even better. Heaven!
|Chè trôi nước – sticky rice cake with green pea paste fillings in ginger sirup|
|My host’s ‘customised’ che (chè thập cẩm, or how the local call it: caramen suka)|
Just like pizza, you got to choose the ‘base’ – type of sticky rice (“Ngô” – sticky rice with corn, “Xéo” – sticky rice with green pea paste on top, “Trắng” – plain white sticky rice)’ and ‘toppings’ – type of protein. My favourite combination is “Xéo” with “thịt kho tầu” (Viet braised pork).
|Xôi xéo thịt kho tầu – Sticky rice with green pea paste and braised pork|
|Xôi xéo gà luộc trứng ốp – Sticky rice with green pea paste, boiled chicken and fried egg|
|Nem chua rán – Deep fried fermented pork finger snack|
After ticking quite a few traditional dishes off my list, I happily agreed to try a new modern dish: banh mi thit xien. Nothing fancy, just banh mi with grilled pork and chilli sauce, but my god was it good. The pork was marinated to perfection, eaten with hot crispy banh mi and some chilli sauce, accompanied with a cup of hot tea… a winter night in Hanoi couldn’t get any better. I found it interesting that in Hanoi people actually sat down at the shop to eat banh mi, because in Danang banh mi is for takeaway only.
|Bánh mì thịt xiên – Banh mi with grilled pork|
|Chè khoai môn – Hot taro sweet dessert, not sweet. Love it!|
|Hanoi’s signature lemon tea (trà chanh). You can try this at the left side of Hanoi church, or 31 Đào Duy Từ|
|Chè chuối nướng – Grilled banana and tapioca pearls in coconut milk. Eat cool or with ice.|
|Chè xoài – Mango pudding at 02 Nguyễn Trường Tộ|
|Very fragrant, strong coffee at 26 Hàng Giầy. Sit on the pavement.|
Hanoi cuisine certainly lives up to its reputation, I never feel like my stay is long enough to satisfy my craving. Will have to go back soon!
- Update (Oct 2012): Want more? => Read Part 2
Post By Summer Le (139 Posts)
Summer created danangcuisine.com in 2010 to share her eating experience in her hometown Da Nang. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube @danangcuisine for daily updates. If you're in Danang, sign up for her popular street food tours www.summer.com/foodtour
Website: → Summer's Danang Food Tour