Hanoians have balancing flavours down to a fine art and Vietnam’s capital is a haven for fresh ingredients and honest cooking. Take a look at our top five feasts for a day in the city.
1. Pho Bo at Pho Gia Truyen
Noodles for Breakfast? It’s the only way to start the day in Vietnam and this place has Hanoians queuing round the block to sample their fragrant rice-noodle soup. Beef bones are boiled for hours to create a rich stock to which meat, fresh greens and noodles are added.
2. Bun Cha at Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim
This tiny one-room cafe set off a busy street is staffed by one surly but efficient old lady who serves up some of the tastiest, freshest and best value food in the city.
Seasoned pork balls in a fragrant broth served with crab spring rolls and a mountainous fresh herb salad make up this Hanoi favourite popular with locals and tourists alike.
3. Pretty much everything at Quan An Ngon
This slightly more upmarket street food experience comprises tens of stalls, each representing the best street food recipes from around the country. Choose from dishes such as sticky rice, crispy pancakes or squid with lemongrass. It’s a great introduction to a whole range street food Vietnam has to offer.
4. Coconut Ice Cream at Kem Trang Tien
If you fancy a bit of dessert head down to the city’s ice cream district (yes Hanoi has an ice cream district) and visit this popular hangout for Hanoi youths who roll up on their scooters in droves to enjoy the best coconut cones you’re likely to taste. Think Quadrophenia with ice cream.
5. Iced Coffee at Café Pho Co
Hanoi is famous for its coffee culture and there’s no better place to sip some of Vietnam’s home-grown brew than at this well-kept city secret. Enter through an old silk shop to find this hidden arcadia filled with birdcages and tropical plants.
It’s three stories high meaning you can watch the mist settle over Hoan Kiem lake while enjoying coffee like the locals do, iced with condensed milk.