Hanoi - The City of Traditional Food


Hanoi is the capital of present Vietnam and it’s also been the capital of the ancient kingdoms in northern Vietnam since the second millennium. The city has a deep history and there is no better way to understand this than to try the food. Our food shows the true color of Vietnamese tradition, as well as the many hues that make up each region. Different from food in central Vietnam, where the hot and spicy taste dominates; and different from food in southern Vietnam, where people love sweet and sour; food in Hanoi, as well as food in the North, is rich in flavor but not as sour, sweet, and spicy as other regions.

Travel through the country with food and you won’t regret it, especially in Vietnam. Try new kinds of flavors, new kinds of tastes, new kinds of textures, and your trip will become colorful. When you reach Hanoi, why don’t you try out these dishes I recommend below and maybe comment to let me know what you think?

Hanoi - The City of Traditional Food
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Hanoian Pho

I expect that you’ve heard about this very famous rice noodle soup of Vietnam because its deliciousness has spread internationally. But in order to truly appreciate the broth and herbs, you need to try this bowl of soup and noodles in Vietnam, but start with Hanoi. No one knows exactly when pho was invented, they just know that this dish appeared a long time ago and is an indispensable dish of the capital citizen. Nowadays, pho has spread widely throughout the country and even abroad. Nevertheless, pho in Hanoi still retains those special characteristics that only the so-called “origin of the dish” possesses. Maybe you have tried pho a few times before visiting Vietnam, but you will discover why pho in the capital beats pho anywhere else.

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Pho Rolls

Pho cuon – pho rolls – is also a long-standing dish in Hanoi. I am sure you have noticed that the word “pho” appears in both dishes. And yes, they do have similar meanings! Pho cuon and pho have a common ingredient: banh pho, the rice cake that is cut into thin strips to make noodles. However, banh pho in pho rolls does not look like a noodle. Actually, banh pho is first cut into a circular or rectangular shape.

When people make regular pho, they slice banh pho into small strings, or noodles. To make pho rolls, they use the original shape of banh pho, then add in ingredients such as beef, cilantro, lettuce, mung bean sprouts, and endives. After the ingredients are added, the banh pho is rolled up and wrapped into stuffed cylindrical pieces. You will eat pho cuon with a dipping sauce made of fish sauce, garlic, chilies, and lime.

Hanoi - The City of Traditional Food 2
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Banh Duc – Steamed Rice Cake with Dipping Sauce

Banh duc is a series of steamed cake made of rice flour and molded into different shapes, usually a circle, rectangle, or triangle. You will eat this delicious type of rice cake with dipping sauces and it often has peanuts inside. Banh duc has two common varieties in Hanoi: savory banh duc and plain banh duc with peanut.

The savory banh duc is placed in a bowl and meat sauce is poured directly on top. The plain cake with peanut is cut into small pieces and it will be dipped into an accompanying sauce. Each dish brings different tastes; while the plain banh duc with peanut has a simple taste of rich rice flour, a bit brittle and slightly sweet of peanut, the savory one brings much more sophisticated flavors and appearance.

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Bun Cha – Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Fatty Pork

Bun cha is a very typical dish of the capital. This kind of noodle dish is very easy to eat, it can be eaten in any season, and most importantly, it’s cheap but excellent. You will never believe that such a simple dish made of rice vermicelli, a bowl of grilled pork, and a bowl of sour-sweet sauce with papaya has fascinated many people, including Barack Obama when he visited Vietnam in 2016.

Bun cha has also spread all over the country. You can find a restaurant serving bun cha in many big cities of Vietnam, but bun cha in Hanoi has a special taste distinct from other places.

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Com (Green Rice) in Vong Village

According to the legend, in autumn thousands of years ago, when the harvest arrived, it started to rain heavily and eventually the downpour drowned all the paddy fields. People in Vong Village decided to harvest the immature heads of the grain to bring home and roast in order to fight against hunger. Incredibly, they discovered this roasted grain had a very special and wonderful taste. Since then, Vong villagers usually make this dish to eat in autumn. Many famous writers of Vietnam have written about com in Vong Village. Thach Lam – a famous revolutionary Vietnamese writer – said: “Com is a distinct presence of the country, a gift of the immensely green paddy fields; it carries all of the tastes of the simplicity and purity of Vietnamese countryside.” Do you wonder why this rice is green? The green color is from its lotus leaf packaging.

Come to Hanoi, try its traditional food with the peaceful beauty of an old city, and your trip will be more poetic and colorful. If you are planning to visit our Hanoi, please contact us via email: info@vietnamtypicaltours.com