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5 Hanoi Food You Should Not Miss-- Bánh Mì, Egg Coffee, Bún Chả, Bún Thang, and Nem Rán

Hanoi is a food wonderland. Although I kinda feel guilty for filling my tummy with  phở practically all day I almost had no more space for trying other dishes. But these are the 5 Hanoi Food that I will always look forward to try in Vietnam.

Related Post:
Cha Ca, Banh Xeo, Rau Mong and Nem Ran at NHA HANG NGON Restaurant Ho Chi Minh City

I got a hold of this walking tour map from my hostel and tried it on my own. Perfect because I eventually ended in Cho Du Xuan Market which is the oldest public market in Hanoi. Along the way, I got to discover Banh Mi 25, a small stall with the best sandwich i ever tasted. I also discovered a small alley leading to the market that sells lots of street food. Yes, I was all about phở during my trip in Hanoi but I still managed to try some of the famous food the city has to offer.


First, my Encounter with Northern Phở
Vietnamese: Phở Bò
The defacto national dish, and rapidly becoming an international favourite, the simple description of thin beef slices and rice noodles in a richly flavourful broth doesn't come close to doing it justice.

Nothing beats a hot bowl of pho on a chilly morning. My newfound buddies and I hit the busy streets and in no time found a small store. At first I was like, "is his it?". I was expecting something with more leaves that comes with it but nothing. I reminded myself it could be that the ones in Ho Chi Minh City is a different version. It was just later that I found out that Northern pho is different from Southern Phở in such a way that there are additional garnishes, such as bean sprouts and cinnamon basil (húng quế) in Southern Vietnam. In fact, they are very generous with bean sprouts and basil that it ads to the attraction. With the taste it's pretty similar as the main feature of Phở is the soap. The quality of the noodles could also set apart some Phở shops from others.

The best part, a big bowl of Phở only costs 80 pesos when converted to Philippine currency. Phở is originally a breakfast thing but it is available everywhere at any given time of the day. I was all about phở morning , noon and night my stomach barely had space for other food as I was all about Phở during my 5-days stay.

More here: Hanoi Part #1:The Old Quarters, Vietnam Backpacker's Hostel, St. Joseph's Cathedral,Cho Do Xuan Market, Bún Thang and the First Encounter with Northern Phở


5 Hanoi Food You Should Not Miss


1.Giang Egg Coffee 
and Egg Beer

Coffee and Egg? Sounds weird indeed but very tasty. This very unique drink is well known in Hanoi No wonder why these shops are always long with queues. My guide took me to the first store, in Nguyen Huu Huan Street in the city’s old quarter, where egg coffee originated. A pretty simple coffee shop retaining its original feel.

Giảng café – 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân street (Original)
Giảng cafe Yên Phụ – 106 Yên Phụ street (next to West Lake)
Đinh Café – 13 Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street

The creator, Mr. Nguyen Van Giang, was a bartender working for the 5-star Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel. Due to a milk shortage in Vietnam at that time. The coffee is brewed in a small cup with a filter before the addition of a well-whisked mixture of the yolk and other ingredients. After creating the recipe, he started his own business – Giảng café. Later, two other egg-coffee shops are opened by his children- Đinh café (next to Sword Lake) and Giảng cafe on Yên Phụ street.
Giang egg coffee--
The cup is placed in a bowl of hot water to keep its temperature
Egg Beer

And they serve egg beer too! Now egg coffee is unique but this one is really very unique. I enjoyed both. I was seeping alternately from my beer glass and coffee glass with my mind saying "sarap!" each time. Haha. It was also downtime for Joy and I to chat casually as if we were not chatting for hours.


2.Bún Thang
Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Chicken, Pork and Egg

“Bun thang got its name because it is made up of a lot of ingredients, a bit like a pack of thuoc bac,” she explains. “It is also good for the health and makes you feel fantastic after eating a bowl of it.

Making bun thang is a painstaking process requiring no less than a dozen ingredients, including chicken meat, pig bones and meat, eggs, dried shrimp, lean pork paste, shrimp paste, onion, mushroom, belostomatidae essence (the essence of the giant water beetle) and herbs. 

“There are a number of qualities that make up a delicious bowl of bun thang,” explains Nguyen Phuong Hai, the well-known chef who has made it his raison d’etre to rediscover the ‘lost’ dishes of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. “The broth must be clear, and it should reflect purity. The taste is both light and sweet, thanks to the boiled chicken, pig bone and shrimp. The toppings must be thinly sliced, matchstick-sized, then perfectly placed side by side. This makes a bowl of bun thang look visually stunning.”


The name of the dish, bun thang, is comprised of ‘bun’ and ‘thang’. ‘Bun’ means noodles while ‘thang’ is translated literally as ladder. However, according to Ms. Ly, the owner of the eatery on Hang Hom, ‘thang’ also comes from the word for a ‘pack’ of northern medicinal herbs, or thang thuoc bac.


3.Nem Rán 
-The Vietnamese spring roll, filled with pork, glass noodles and vegetables, and deep fried golden and crispy.

Read: Hanaoi Part #2: FREE WALKING TOUR with #HanoiKids-- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature & National University, Giang Egg Coffee and more.

It was a quick tour. We started 2:00 pm and ended at 6:00 pm since I had to check out at my hostel and catch the last bus to Halong City. We dropped by a small food store Joy suggested to buy a few rolls for snack during the trip. Joy suggested what to buy, Nem rán or fried spring roll as one of them and she reminded me to eat them not sooner as they are tastier while hot. 

I gave joy a small memento (I felt bad for forgetting the souvenir I bought in Manila) and parted ways. Days later and we were connected on Facebook and she even emailed me more places and food to try next time I visit. 


4.Bánh Mì
Banh Mi is the Vietnamese take on the French sandwich: a crusty baguette bursting with flavour and stuffed with meat, pate, mayonnaise, chili sauce, salad and coriander.

$0.89 to $1.11 (₫20,000 to ₫25,000)

Something of a Trip Advisor sensation, being a top-ten stalwart at present and for a while the owner of the #1 spot, the unassuming Banh Mi 25 stall has a long and proud history. Owner Phuong Nguyen's family has been bashing out their tasty sandwiches for eighty years, in the same spot. I've been back several times and it's partly because of the food, and partly because of Phuong himself. Every time, no matter how many months it's been, he's remembered me, and his dedication to customer satisfaction is clear in the friendly questions he asks all his diners.


5.Bún Chả 
Bún chả is a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodle, which is thought to have originated from HanoiVietnam. Bun cha is served with grilled fatty pork (cha) over a plate of white rice noodle (bun) and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce. The dish was described in 1959 by Vietnamese food writer Vu Bang (1913–1984) who described Hanoi as a town "transfixed by bún chả." Hanoi’s first bún chả restaurant was on Gia Ngư, Hoàn Kiếm District, in Hanoi's Old Quarter.