Monday, October 3, 2016

Hanoi, Vietnam Food Hunt: Real Good Food on the Streets


We exchanged US$100 to Vietnamese Dong and got 2.2 million, apparently, we’re millionaires in Vietnam. Me and my buddy planned to spend it all on food during our three-day stay in Hanoi, but food prices in the second largest city of Vietnam are so reasonable that we only spent a fifth of our total budget and still got real good street food.

Vietnamese French Bread
Vietnamese French bread at 10,000 VND each
Talk about Vietnamese food to anyone and you’ll surely get drooling remarks. From the simplest bread and coffee for breakfast to amazing soup dishes, you’ll never go wrong with spending hundreds of thousands of Dong just to savor legit Vietnamese dishes (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Hanoi).

We had 46 hours in Hanoi and half of the time it was raining. Beer and food trippin’ became our thing once our Halong Bay tour was cancelled. It was actually a blessing in disguise as we are not just travel buddies but also foodies, especially on good local food finds.

Vietnam Bun Cha
Bun cha (grilled pork)
Our trip to Ho Chi Minh in 2014 was filled with good foodie memories that all I could think of as soon as we landed at Hanoi was to grab some banh mi and ca phe on a roadside stall. We booked for a night at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and after dropping our bags for storage, we dashed out of the hotel and searched for the nearest breakie place.

We saw some plastic stools set up on the pavement along Ngo Quyen with early morning diners who were enjoying their coffee and tea. I saw a bunch of French breads hanging on a fence and immediately asked for some seats.

Hanoi Banh Mi
Banh mi
We had banh mi (French bread with meat and vegetables) for 20,000 VND and nau da (iced coffee with milk) for 10,000 VND. The bread itself was good but the fillings were just okay (I kept on comparing it to the ones I had in Ho Chi Minh which were really good). The coffee was strong but really good. During those times, we had fun watching the scene along the road with the early morning Hanoi workforce.

Hanoi Banh Mi
Banh mi with ca phe
After two hours of wandering around the city (playing hide and seek with the rain), we saw a roadside shack that sells hot noodle soup. We weren’t actually hungry but we wanted to seize the opportunity to savor each dish that looked interesting.

We had bun thang (hot noodle soup) for 30,000 VND and bought banh bao nhan thit-trung muoi (steamed wheat flour cake with salted egg and meat) on a nearby stall for 14,000 VND. The sad thing here is that I don’t eat mushrooms, and upon realizing that the noodles was filled with it, I let my buddy finished it. According to him, it was tasty and fresh. The meat bun wasn’t that exciting as it lacked the kick I was looking for.

Hanoi Banh Bao
Banh bao - 14,000 VND
Hanoi Bun Thang
Bun thang - 30,000 VND
After two hours of strolling around, we got caught up under a heavy rain along Trang Tien. With nothing to do, we looked for a place where we could chill when we found this cool hangout spot on the second level of an unassuming café.

Cong Caphe had this laidback rustic feel to it with rugged chairs and tables. We settled on the outside area and checked the menu and had Saigon Beer and Hanoi Beer (35,000 VND each). It’s quite pricey as some establishments would sell it at 15,000 VND but the cool vibe made us stay there until we finished two bottles each.

Hanoi Cong Caphe
Cong Caphe along Trang Tien
Hanoi Beer
35,000 VND each (a bit steep)
That night, we went out for dinner and found a roadside eatery (we love local street eats). Com Ga Food Corner along Nguyen Huu Huan was filled with locals who were digging into what I believe was a pasta dish. My buddy got curious and got nui xao cai bo (macaroni with beef and vegetable) for 30,000 VND while I settled for com ga nuong BBQ (fried rice with BBQ chicken) for 35,000 VND. As if we’ll not be satisfied with our meal, my buddy bought some spring rolls with rice for 50,000 VND from the nearby eatery.

Hanoi Street Food
Com Ga Food Corner along Nguyen Huu Huan
The pasta dish was odd as the sauce tasted very Western but the pasta itself was of different kind, like macaroni without the hole. My chicken BBQ was so huge and really great! The spring rolls were phenomenal. Hanoi street food is really something you should try out.

Hanoi Pasta
Nui xao cai bo (macaroni with beef and vegetable) - 30,000 VND
Hanoi Chicken BBQ
Com ga nuong BBQ (fried rice with BBQ chicken) - 35,000 VND
Hanoi Spring Rolls
Fried spring rolls with rice - 50,000 VND
I was in a food coma after that meal that all I wanna do was relax somewhere and do nothing. My buddy then saw a Café Tuan (one of the numerous coffee shops in the city) along the same road and decided to take a break from the glutton sessions.

I was about to grab a regular hot coffee when I saw this quirky offering, coffee with egg. I know it sounds weird but I had to try it.

My buddy had nau da (iced coffee with milk) for 20,000 VND and I got café trung (coffee with egg) for 25,000 VND. My buddy’s choice was great as he loved iced coffee with milk but he found it too strong as compared with kopi ais of Malaysia. I love black coffee so I loved it. The coffee with egg was trivial. The thick froth that formed from the beaten egg white looked like cappuccino. I was the first to try it and I was too excited.

Hanoi Vietnam Coffee
Nau da (iced coffee with milk) - 20,000 VND
Cafe trung (coffee with egg) - 25,000 VND
I sipped it and got the sweet foam first followed by the strong black coffee. Afterwards, I let it stay in my mouth and let it linger. The sweetness of the egg white and the bitterness from the coffee tasted like mocha cake with sweet icing. It was good!

Hanoi Cafe Trung
Coffee with egg tasted like mocha cake :)
The next day, we indulged in the breakfast buffet of Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi that served a wide array of Vietnamese and international breakfast fares. I had some local rice cakes and pho (hot noodle soup) and it was wonderful. The pho had just the right amount of flavoring and with your own choice of toppings.

A photo posted by blissfulguro (@blissfulguro) on

On our last meal in Hanoi, we had beef fried noodles for 60,000 VND and spring rolls for 50,000 VND at Gao De along Ta Hien. The prices are bit steep compared to some eateries but nothing was remarkable.

Hanoi Spring Rolls
Spring rolls - 50,000 VND
Hanoi Fried Noodles
Beef fried noodles - 60,000 VND
We went for a walk and looked for banh mi stall and got satiated for the all-meat version of the famed Vietnamese bun for 25,000 VND.

Hanoi Banh Mi
Banh mi - 25,000 VND
We had few more hours in Hanoi and with nothing to do in mind, we went back to our favorite beer stall along the crossroad of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen for our afternoon beer sesh. 


Hanoi Beer
Beer in Hanoi is relatively cheap!
With two days’ worth of food memories, we couldn’t help but feel bad about leaving soon. But we’re coming back for another round of Hanoi street food tripping, that’s for sure.


Check here for discounted hotels in Hanoi





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