10 of the best authentic food in hanoi you must eat


As I sit here in another airport, my mind is singularly focused on the first bowl of pho I am going lớn consume upon my arrival to one of my favourite cities on earth—Hanoi. If I cthảm bại my eyes & ignore the man snoring heavily beside me, and the child loosening its lungs in the far corner of this sterile airport, I can almost smell the streets, hear the honking và feel the frenetic energy of the thành phố.

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One image I can recall easily: me, sitting on a plastic stool, my face downward in a steaming bowl of pho as I take that first ceremonial inhale. The bouquet of cardamom, cinnatháng, ginger, garlic, green onion, and history inflate my tired travelling soul with joy, comfort và something akin to a strong hug from an old friend. After the passage of one more flight that image will be a reality.

As you may be catching on, I love Hanoi: I love its food, I love its dynamic busy streets, its hidden cafés, its cyclo drivers entreating me lớn take a ride at every corner. I love sầu the plastic stools, và the French cafés, I love the smoke billowing up at the corner café—the remnants of some animal’s innards splayed out on a large cutting board so that patrons will know that it’s fresh và, therefore, unquestionably delicious. I love sầu the women in strict heels and sharply-cut suits huddled together over a bowl of chicken’s feet, accompanied by plastic mugs of 333 beer at the over of their long workday; I love sầu the kids fighting over the cubed-shaped treats smothered in sesame but tasting like bean curd; và I love the old men with their stained red teeth nội dung to lớn chew bettle nut all day & night in quiet contemplation as the city storms around them.

I even love sầu the things I can’t bring myself to try (which isn’t much).

So where vì chưng I eat in Hanoi? Good question.

I should preface by saying, I am a nostalgic person with a loyalty problem, so some of these restaurants have sầu been indulged by my favouritism. Of course, I continue khổng lồ explore và curate my menu, I check in with my sources as soon as my feet hit the ground (the influx of cool and trendy places for me to investigate is a constant as the pace of this city—và the country for that matter—continues khổng lồ change), but I always make time (& a little space in my tum) to lớn frequent my old haunts. I still find a certain, likely understandable, comfort in seeing an old frikết thúc behind the spine of a familiar menu.

Here are a few spots that I think are a must if you are going khổng lồ explore the thành phố. Be brave intrepid travellers! Piông chồng up your chopsticks, dispose of your fears & let your taste buds be the judge!

The Old-School InstitutionCha Ca La Vong

Located on a narrow street in the old quarter, this restaurant takes its name from its one dish wonder: Cha Ca La Vong! With a sea green interior and a ladder disguised as a staircase lớn enter into lớn the main floor, this is a place where English is rarely heard và you don’t have sầu khổng lồ bother thinking about what you want; instead you receive sầu what they have sầu, which has remained the same for decades.

A frying pan of fresh river fish will arrive at your table with a personal charcoal cooker. Accompanying this is a bowl of fresh rice noodles, peanuts and fresh herbs. As the fish starts to lớn heat up and the smells of turmeric and dill start to lớn bloom around you this is when you add the herbs into lớn the frying pan (I personally lượt thích to add the peanuts at this time as well because I lượt thích them hot). Once you are satisfied that the herbs are cooked khổng lồ your preference you take the fresh rice noodles & place them in your bowl, spoon up some of the fish, herbs và flavoured oil on top, add some fish sauce and chillies khổng lồ further flavour (& a few more fresh herbs if that is your style) and enjoy!


The Social ClubHanoi Social Club

After a satiating lunch at Cha Ca I make my way further inlớn the old quarter for a cup of ginger lemongrass tea. I always walk so that I can digest a bit & let the street scene lift me out of my head và inkhổng lồ the moment of chaos that is everyday Hanoi. Located on 6 Ngõ Hội Vũ, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Thành, the Hanoi Social Club is an institution aao ước expats & the in the know ren Xer’s of Vietnam.

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Spread out over three floors, with the third floor being an outside terrace, the Hanoi Social club has a wonderfully rustic feel khổng lồ it with beautifully distressed old wood furniture and rooms lightly decorated with Vietnamese art. This is a café that makes one feel a little lighter upon entering, as it tends to inspire the feeling—with me at least—that in this space one could quite likely compose a somewhat decent poem or, at the very least, read a book of decent poems & maybe even understand a few!

The menu is replete with fresh organic salads and light western inspired dishes, with just enough choice to satisfy your pickiest friend or family member. When I pass an afternoon here I leave feeling a bit more wistful, a bit more cultured & a bit closer lớn the best version of myself.

The Contemporary & Family FriendlyPizza 4p’s
Homemade cheese from dairy cows in the highlands

No matter where I travel there is always one day in a week when I am overcome with a need for good pizza. And I am not talking about throwing processed cheese onkhổng lồ some dough và tossing it mindlessly into lớn a fire! No, I am talking about Pizza: traditional Italian pizza that is usually only found in Italy proper. Luckily, there are, in my opinion, more and more places throughout the world that are no longer satisfied with presenting the poorer cousin lớn pizza, the international imitator, as I Gọi it. Pizza 4p’s in Hanoi would make an old man with white hair & a curled mustache in Naples proud.

Located at 24 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Thành Phố Hà Nội., Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Pizza 4p’s makes its own cheese using dairy cows that graze in the highlands around Dalat. Focusing on the freshest local ingredients, each pizza tastes like it has been made with love sầu và care và extreme attention to lớn ratios. My favorite (if you’re looking for suggestions) is the Shrimp Mayo pizza on half & the four cheeses on the other. Then, I take the spicy oil và pour it onlớn my pizza (careful, it is quite spicy). I follow this with a sip of Chianti & this, my friends, I promise you, is a satisfying night out!

The Lake ViewCau Go

Situated on the sixth floor overlooking the watery oasis of Hoàn Kiem lake, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of Hanoi at Cau Go. Located in the old quarter, its interior gives off an eclectic French Colonial vibe without trying too hard to lớn be fussy. Lunch & dinner features varied flavours và dishes from all parts of the country including Hanoi, Saigon và central Vietnam, with a contemporary twist. Drinks, snacks, & entrees are served daily from 10 a.m. If you can, request an outdoor table for a lovely patio view of Turtle Tower & Hanoi’s glittering lakeside.


The RomanticGreen Tangerine

When I’m in the mood for a bit of fusion & romance, I head over lớn the Green Tangerine. This restaurant has a French-inspired menu & one of the most beautiful hidden courtyards in the old quarter. I’ll take a glass of red outside in the early evening when the daylight is just starting lớn fade. This ritual is followed by a fusion meal of socha noodle seafood pasta & a mesclun salad & then, naturally, a treat of French-made crème brulee. I leave feeling that perfect “French full.”

The AuthenticPho Thin

When I want pho, I also want what comes with pho. I want the shared tables & the loud crowds, the chopsticks on the tables & the bowls of chilies và limes & the fish sauce that came from an old family recipe passed down from generation khổng lồ generation. I want khổng lồ hear slurping, & laughing và children, và I want my shoulders to be side by side with a local as we lean forward và savour our bowls noodle at a time. I want to lớn make conspiratorial eye liên hệ with the old woman across the table as I bring the bowl up to lớn my mouth at the completion of the noodles and drink the remaining broth. Located on 13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam. Come here for the Pho & leave a changed person….or at least a satiated one!

The ColonialBamboo Bar at the Sofitel Metropole

Sometimes the colonial vibe of the thành phố is so strong that I am pulled without choice towards the epicenter of it all—the Bamboo Bar at the Sofitel Metropole. This bar lớn me sums up colonial elegance and makes me feel like I am someone a little more important than I am, a little more attractive, a little worldlier.

Poolside, I usually order some light tapas off the bar menu which includes popcorn shrimp served with a spicy red chilli dipping sauce, some crudities & a cheese plate full of French cheeses that are just sharp enough lớn force me to follow my martini with a glass of rich French red wine. I lượt thích this bar. I like this bar a lot.

The Wild Card – Street styleQuan An Ngon

My last insider tip will be a bit of a wild thẻ. Quan An Ngon is, lớn me, the best way to experience street food without being on the street. If you want to lớn be in one place where you can try all sorts of delicious and wonderfully varied local cuisine then this is your spot. Whenever I choose khổng lồ go here I am never disappointed.

I walk into the large courtyard-type atmosphere full of locals & the odd back-packer và I slowly take in the scene khổng lồ realize that now, after all of these years of coming in & out of Vietnam—to a foreign country with a language that still beguiles me & ingredients that in my childhood would look like something out of a Doctor Seuss book và a pace that can feel frantic and elegant all at the same time—it feels lượt thích home. To get cthất bại, or at least within proximity, of all of my feelings above, head to lớn 18 Phan Boi Chau Street, Hoan Kiem District.

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The TraditionalGrandma’s

This elegant restaurant offers a variety of delicious & authentic Vietnamese dishes plus an excellent selection of wines. Whether you opt for the delicious roasted duchồng, a noodle dish, fish, or seafood, Grandma’s interpretations of Vietnamese classics make for a truly memorable dining experience in the capital đô thị. 

Live Vietnamese musical performances on the dan bau & dan nhi accompany your meal. Whether you’re a large group or looking for an intimate dinner, embrace the warmth of Vietnamese hospitality in this welcoming atmosphere.