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Top Hanoi Street Foods

1. Bun cha
Around 11 am - no matter where you are in the city - you’ll see vendors grilling pork skewers over charcoal burners. One mid-twentieth-century Vietnamese writer described Hanoi as a city "transfixed by bun cha.” Today, local people remain just as enamored of this signature lunch dish. Fresh off the grill, the pork slides into a bowl of warm fish sauce flavored with garlic and slivered carrot and green papaya. Alongside, you get a heap of bun (rice vermicelli) and a pile of green herbs to dip into the broth.

2. Xoi
Filling and inexpensive - not to mention delicious - sticky rice is a popular dish that comes with a wide variety of toppings. You’ll often see it paired with chicken and mushroom stew (ga xao nam), Chinese sausage (lap xuong), fried egg (trung) and shredded dried pork (ruoc). But my favorite is xoi xeo, glutinous rice with mung bean paste and crispy fried shallots.

3. Banh da tron
When you see crowds surrounding a street vendor with a big bucket, this is often what she’s ladling out. Made with green tea, chewy banh da noodles have a similar texture and flavor to whole wheat fettuccine. You can get them in a clear soup, as well as tron (dry) - topped with greens, bits of meat or tofu and crunchy peanuts.

4. Bo bia ngot
Look out for vendors on bicycles with white styrofoam boxes on the back. These contain the makings for an irresistible dessert. For each one, the vendor grates fresh coconut scrapings onto a pre-made crepe, along with strips of sugar cane and black sesame, and rolls it up into a sweet two-bite concoction.

5. Banh mi doner kebab
You’ll see these fusion sandwiches all over the city, at all hours. The traditional banh mi is a simple affair: a crusty white roll filled with fried egg, pate or sausage and garnished with, at most, a few slices of cucumber and a squirt of hot sauce. But these sandwiches incorporate shaved pork and colorful pickled cabbage, bringing an exotic flavor to the traditional roll.

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