Hanoi street food: a unique gourmet travel experience
- on Jun 25, 2020       By: BN
The Vietnamese capital is one of the most captivating gastronomic destinations in Southeast Asia thanks in particular to its incredible street food, a veritable institution in Hanoi. Hanoi street food appeals to travellers with its inventiveness, conviviality and low price. Eating in the street will allow you to taste many Vietnamese culinary specialities atop a small plastic stool to help you blend into the local culture. A definite culinary and cultural experience that will delight your taste buds and give you great memories of your trip!
The old quarter of Hanoi, a temple of street food
Although street food is everywhere in Hanoi and an integral part of the urban landscape, it is in the old quarter of the capital that street food is most alive. Almost every end of the sidewalk is devoted to street food. The peculiarity of these street restaurants is that very often they only offer a single dish. Also, you can stroll through the busy streets and alleys of the old quarter while stopping as you wish at a street food stand to feast on a Vietnamese speciality.
You can then start your gastronomic stroll by tasting bun cha and its grilled pork balls served with vermicelli or pho, the tasty traditional Vietnamese soup. Then on the way, let yourself be tempted by fresh seafood or a few skewers of grilled meat on the BBQ. In winter, you will be seduced by a lau, the Vietnamese fondue, which will warm you up and fill you with the unique taste of its broth. All these feasts are enjoyed on the sidewalk on small stools and plastic tables in the most total conviviality and at the front row to observe the hectic life of the old quarter of Hanoi. In To Tich Street, you can have your dessert, a fresh fruit salad sprinkled with coconut milk and condensed milk. Gourmets will throw themselves on a banh chuoi ran, a banana doughnut or a bo bia ngot, a very thin rice pancake stuffed with chopped coconut and a piece of candy with sugar cane, two dessert classics In Vietnam. As for snacks for small appetites, the spring roll, the steamed brioche stuffed with meat banh bao or xoi, sticky rice, are essentials of street food in Hanoi.
Hanoi street food offers a very wide choice, but it’s difficult to navigate when one is new to the area. Do not hesitate to call on a travel agency which can organise a street food tour for lunch or in the evening. Accompanied by a local guide who knows perfectly the gourmet streets of Hanoi, you can then discover the confidential addresses known only to Hanoians and taste surprising local specialities.
Truc Bach Lake, another pearl of street food
Most travellers choose the old quarter of Hanoi to taste Vietnamese street food and yet there is another very pleasant district to discover street food and which shows creativity and surprises: the district around Truc Bach Lake. Opposite the famous West Lake, Truc Bach Lake is a charming and relaxing place in the heart of the capital. In May, the blazing blossoms throw dazzling red spots on its banks. At noon or in the evening, you can plunge into the small streets around the lake to discover small addresses sparkling with freshness and flavours.
Taste pho cuon, a local speciality that consists of a roll of rice dough sheet stuffed with beef, salad and cilantro, which is dipped in a sauce based on nuoc mam, the famous, pungent Vietnamese sauce based on fermented fish. Delicious soups also await you such as bun oc, a soup of Vietnamese rice vermicelli with snails, or banh da cua, a delicious crab soup. A café by the lake will conclude your gastronomic stroll in style.
Banh mi, street food star
The banh mi or Vietnamese sandwich is undoubtedly the star of street food in Hanoi. At almost every street corner of the capital, you will find a stand to make you a snack consisting of a crusty baguette, sweet and sour vegetables in brine and roasted meat, pâté or an egg, all with lots of fresh, crunchy coriander and chilli peppers.
If the baguette made from wheat flour and mixed with rice flour is a heritage of French colonization, the ingredients are 100% Vietnamese. A double culture sandwich whose success has quickly become international since the banh mi is now found in Paris, New York or London.
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