Be like Netflix and up your street food game with our list of favourite Hanoi street food vendors…
By Richie Bardsley
As a long term restaurateur in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, it’s fair to say that I’ve been around the street food block. I’ve found myself on the same plastic stools, asking for the same dishes, week in, week out, for years.
As with most hidden gems, they can be hard to find. Some are tucked down Hanoi’s crumbling alleyways, guarded by surly old women who, fear not, can be wooed with just a whisper of Vietnamese.
Try your best to eat at them all. You’ll be rewarded with street eats good enough to take a Tinder date to – once you’re done getting messy at Chops, that is.
1. Bun Ngan
A short walk from Dinh Liet in centre of Hanoi’s chaotic Old Quarter you’ll find Trung Yen’s wet market. Inside is the finest bun ngan in town – noodles with goose, for those who don’t yet know. Make sure you get there early as I’ve seen queues 30-deep by 12pm.
11 Ngo Trung Yen
Ask for: Một bát bún vịt không tiết và 1 bát lườn vịt
2. Pho Ong Vui
One for the late night beef noodles gang: located right in the heart of the Old Quarter, this spot will whip up the perfect snack after too many shandies on bia hoi corner. Ask for the deep fried crunchy strips of doughnut.
25 Hang Giay
Open until (very) late
Slur your way to saying: Một bát phở tái chín và một đĩa quẩy
3. Pho Bo Sot Vang
This one came as a total revelation to me. Two of my favourite Vietnamese dishes in one brothy bowl – beef noodles and a rich wine sauce. Think succulent slabs of beef brisket, braised to perfection, with plenty of onions, cinnamon, star anise and garlic, with ginger chucked in for good measure.
Tu Lun 68 Hang Ma
Calmy state that you would like: Một bát phở sốt vang và một bát sốt vang nữa
4. Bun Bo Nam Bo
If you’ve spent any time reading about Hanoi’s Old Quarter street food, you’ll have probably heard about this place already. It’s worth mentioning it again, though. It embodies the pace of the Old Quarter – pumping out an enormous number of bowls of beef salad noodles at a time. But this doesn’t impact on the service or quality; it remains speedy and consistently delicious.
67 Hang Dieu
Open all day
Wait patiently before asking: Một bát bún bò nhiều thịt
5. Bun Cha
Many love this place, others don’t think it deserves to be as famous as it is. I say it’s worth a try. While it may be a touch more expensive than your average bun cha joint, you’re guaranteed to get a healthy portion of chargrilled pork patties and deep fried spring rolls. Get your chopsticks around the white sticky noodles, dip them into the fish sauce broth, add the usual herbs and slurp it all down.
1 Hang Manh
Open all day
Ask politely for: Một suất bún chả đầy đủ
6. Xoi Ga
Just a stone’s throw away from Durty Bird, its primary rival for the best chicken in town, this sticky rice and boiled chicken place has been a key destination for impromptu breakfast meetings by myself and the gang. Try it out, do a lap around Hoan Kiem lake and pop back to see Ol’ Durty for dinner.
29 Hang Hanh
Breakfast and lunch
Boldly declare that you would like: Một suất xôi gà nhiều thịt gấp đôi
7. Banh Mi Pate
This baguette spot was the first place I ever ate at when I first arrived to Hanoi in 2011. The bread is warm and crispy and blankets the homemade pate, pickled carrot and papaya. If you haven’t had your fill after one, you can always grab a tub of pate to go.
Nguyen Sinh 17 Ly Quoc Su
Open all day
Request: Một bánh mì pate đầy đủ