Hanoi to ho chi minh: 12 restaurants & the tastiest hawker food in vietnam


Vietnamese food rates right up there with some of the best in the world. To have a full foodie experience, though, you need to lớn visit each region. While most areas serve cuisine known by the same name throughout the country, each province has its own quality flavors & preparation style. So, don’t assume that once you’ve been to lớn one city in Vietnam, that you’ve seen – and tasted – it all! Discover the differences, and make a list, because if you’re traveling khổng lồ this gastronomic paradise, you’ve got A LOT of eating to do!


NORTH | Hanoi

Simplicity and balance are the key lớn the tasty dishes served in the northernmost parts of Vietnam. Expect loads of vegetables & seafood dishes, all kicked up only slightly a notch with black pepper instead of chilies. You’ll find fish sauce in many Vietnamese recipes, but in the north, soy sauce, prawn sauce or lime are more prevalent in creating those tangy notes. And because temperatures are cooler in the north, many spices – lượt thích the chili pepper – don’t grow well, so traditional cooks adapted, và local cooks carry on the tradition with popular dishes you just gotta try!


1. Bún riêu

Bún riêu is a traditional noodle soup with a rich tomato broth. The sour flavor combination is popular in summer và is generally embellished with freshwater crab, pork or beef.

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Where khổng lồ try: CNN Travel recommends the street stall run by Ms. Thu in Thọ Xương Alley, near St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

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2. Chả cá lã vọng

Legend has it that a home cook named Lã Vọng invented this popular recipe, which typically is made from catfish soaked in a lemony-garlic marinade và served alongside vegetables & a sweet & sour dipping sauce that is lớn die for.

Where to try: Chả Cá Thăng Long on Duong Thanh in the Old Quarter topped the chart!

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3. Bún chả

According lớn folk tales, bún chả originated in Hanoi, and you’ll find the grilled pork & noodle dish anywhere in the Old Quarter. The pork alone is delicious, but the star of this show is a dipping sauce made of fish sauce, crushed garlic and chilies.

Where to lớn try: Hanoi’s first bún chả restaurant was on Gia Ngư in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, và Gia Ngư Restaurant now carries on the tradition.

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4. Bánh cuốn

Imagine wide sheets of rice noodles, stuffed with seasoned ground pork, shallots and wood ear mushrooms, & then steamed khổng lồ perfection, and that’s bánh cuốn. Delish!

Where lớn try: Given 4.7 stars from reviewers, Bánh Cuốn nóng Kim Thoa is located at 49 Hàm Tử Quan, just outside Hanoi’s Old Quarter, on the banks of the Red River (Hoàn Kiếm Lake).

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CENTRAL | Hội An, Đà Nẵng, My Son

Cooks in central Vietnam like to turn up the heat! Since temperatures in this region are ideal for growing chili peppers và spices, chefs love lớn pack a punch in signature dishes. Complex cuisine in areas lượt thích Da Nang and Hội An reflect an influence of ancient Vietnamese royalty & is best known for vibrant colors and sophisticated presentations. Dishes are served in smaller portions và garnished with chili peppers và spicy shrimp sauces.


5. Bahn mi

The French introduced the baguette khổng lồ Vietnam, but locals reinvented it khổng lồ create the country’s most popular street sandwich. Stuff yours with liver pâté, Vietnamese sausage, fried egg, papaya, carrots, cucumber & anything else you spot on the street food cart!

Where khổng lồ try: Nguyễn Thị Lộc, also known as the Bánh Mí Queen in Hội An, has been spooning her secret sauce over bahn mi toppings for more than 50 years. It’s hard khổng lồ explain where her street stall is, but any local can give you directions straight there.

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6. Cao Lau

Similar khổng lồ the Japanese soba noodle, cao lầu is a regional dish. The noodles are the star, & the combinations are endless. Popular add-ins include pork and fists full of fresh greens topped with scallions, peanuts, fried pork rind and rice crackers.

Where to lớn try: Made from the water of an undisclosed ancient Cham well, cao lầu can only be found in Hội An, & one of the best places khổng lồ try it is at Bale Well, on the outskirts of Hội An Ancient Town.

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7. Banh Beo

These tiny Vietnamese rice cakes are cute and delicious at the same time. After steaming, a dimple in the middle is filled with savory favorites lượt thích fresh shrimp, crispy shallots, scallions và mung bean paste.

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Where khổng lồ try: Go see Madam cha Do at Ba vì chưng Restaurant in Huế.

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8. Bánh Xèo

Often mistaken for an omelet because of its color and shape, Bánh xèo is actually a rice cake that is flavored with turmeric. The batter is fried until it’s crispy on the outside & then stuffed with goodies lượt thích fatty pork slivers, shrimp, green onion & bean sprouts.

Where to try: Ẩm Thực Xèo in Đà Nẵng serves up gourmet-style bánh xèo, and locals will tell you, it’s one of their faves.

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SOUTH | Ho bỏ ra Minh, Dalat

Sugar and spice and everything nice is what southern Vietnamese food is all about! With a bountiful supply of fruits, vegetables, livestock and seafood, southern cuisine is loaded with flavor. Rather than spicy, however, dishes in the south tend to lớn be sweeter, as more sugar and coconut milk are added lớn recipes. You’ll find a hodgepodge of flavors in areas like Ho đưa ra Minh City and An Giang Province due to lớn historical events & a steady stream of international influence.


9. Cơm Tấm

Broken rice, or damaged rice grains, is used in dishes throughout Vietnam, but it is best known in cơm tấm. The common staple is usually served with grilled pork, either ribs or shredded, greens and pickled vegetables. It’s also not unusual to lớn see this meal topped with prawn paste cakes, steamed egg & grilled prawns. Expect lớn receive a bowl of soup broth & egg meatloaf (omelet) when you order this dish.

Where to lớn try: Possibly the most popular & readily-available food in all of Vietnam, it’s hard khổng lồ pinpoint just one great place khổng lồ try it, but Cơm Tấm Thủy in Dalat is a popular choice. Head down to lớn Bình Thạnh District in Ho chi Minh khổng lồ find this favorite local lunch spot that’s been grilling up pork on the street for more than 20 years.

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10. Bún Bò

Bún trườn originated in central Vietnam but has grown wildly popular everywhere. Preparation is complicated, but in the end, you get beef shank, oxtail or sometimes pork knuckle flavored with lemongrass & swimming in a rich beef broth. Congealed pig’s blood adds lớn the deep burgundy màu sắc of the broth, và popular toppings include lime, cilantro, green onion, chili sauce, sliced banana blossom, red cabbage, mint, basil … and the danh sách goes on and on & on.

Where khổng lồ try: Bún trườn Chú Há in Ho chi Minh serves bún bò in a clear, glass bowl so you get to see every last tidbit that goes into this scrumptious soup.

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11. Thịt trườn lá lốt

The perfect street food, lolot, or “betel leaf” snacks, are filled with savory Vietnamese beef. While the leaves smell spicy, fans of the bite-size edibles say they have a medicinal taste, which many locals love. Try them, & you might too!

Where lớn try: Because Thịt bò lá lốt is traditionally served at barbecues, you’ll find it at any market and in tons of street stalls throughout any city.

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12. Gỏi cuốn

Vietnamese spring roll, or gỏi cuốn, can contain a number of fillings. The most popular are seasoned ground pork, prawn & various local vegetables. The finger-size treats are often served with crushed peanuts and sweet and spicy dipping sauces, which vary depending on the vendor.

Where khổng lồ try: Gỏi cuốn is easy khổng lồ find on any street corner in Vietnam. The preparation alone is a sight to lớn behold. Watch in amazement as local cooks pile on toppings & skillfully roll them up tight in the sticky, tricky rice paper.

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