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Hanoi Food and Drink

Eat

Vietnamese cuisine is very diverse and most delicious. Most famous remains 'Pho Ga' (chicken noodle soup) or 'Pho Bo'(Beef noodle soup). There are various dishes including chicken, beef, fish and seafood, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants nowadays in Hanoi catering to everyone's taste. Hanoi street food become a cuisine culture of Hanoi.

In Hanoi, there are thousands of street stalls in small kiosks on the sidewalk, with plastic tables and chairs on the pavement. Grabbing a bite at these eateries is a great way to experience the local food and culture. It is worth mentioning that food quality, freshness, and hygiene can vary greatly. A bowl of noodle soup goes for as little as 30,000 dong. Market food stalls also offer an assortment of other snacks: fruit portions, sausages, donuts, and other eats for 10,000 to 20,000 dong (Jan 2011, 0.5-1 USD). Be sure to get your change as a few vendors seem to 'forget' to return it to you, and learn a little Vietnamese because vendors often speak little to no English.

The rule of thumb is if the price is expensive, hygiene quality may or may not be OK, but if the price is cheap, definitely hygiene quality is compromised. There seemed to be no regular food Health Department inspector working regularly in the city.

Another rule of thumb is that Vietnamese have no qualms charging double or more for tourists, as prices are seldom listed on stalls or within shops. Either learn to speak Vietnamese or prepare to pay up to 70,000 dong for that bowl of pho which locals next to you are paying 35,000 dong (as of June 2016).

To know which restaurants and dishes are highly rated by locals, try downloading popular food apps among locals such as MenuX, Foody, or Lozi on app stores. They are available in English and work with both Android & iOS.

For groceries, there is a large supermarket east of Hoan Kiem Lake (Fivimart, 27A Ly Thai To, at Tran Nguyen Han).

Local Foods

The suburb of Le Mat (aka the Snake Village) has numerous restaurants specializing in cobra foodstuffs. Live cobras are stored on the premises much the same way one would find live lobsters at a Western seafood restaurant. If one orders cobra blood wine from the menu, the waiter will take a live cobra, kill it on the spot, drain the blood into a shot glass of rice wine, and top it off with the cobra's still beating heart for you to gulp down! Le Mat is about ten minutes across the river from downtown, take bus 10, 15 or 17 and get off at the large "mega-mall" just beyond Gia Lam station, and walk 500 metres down the road at the right of the mall. Cobras are not cheap at around 400,000-1,000,000 dong (USD$50-) but it gets turned into a dozen unique dishes, enough to share between three or four people.

A local delicacy in the Hanoi area is dog meat (thịt chó), which is especially popular in the winter. There are a number of restaurants in the Tay Ho district. Another exotic regional taste is ca cuong, an extract from the belostomatid, or giant water bug. Just a few drops are added to noodles for the unique aroma.

Be sure to check out the boiled duck fetus eggs (same as the filipino balut) sold by peddlers almost everywhere priced at 5,000 dong. This delightful experience consists of the vendor cracking the egg in front of you, and peeling the shell and dropping the contents in a plastic micro bowl, then garnished with juliened ginger, basil leaf, and sprinkled with chili sauce. You can see the severed head and beak of your chick that fell off if you are lucky enough to have your first bite from a different spot - Bon Appetit!

Budget

Look to the Old Quarter for atmospheric street stalls and reasonably priced Western and local fare.

If you have been travelling in SE Asia for a long time, Hanoi offers excellent bread. The street baguettes are a welcome treat for western taste buds.

  • “Banh it” – sticky rice cake, (It is true that “Banh it” is a must try specialty of the Central Region in Vietnam!). Served for lunch and dinnerCommonly, there are two kinds of “Banh it”. The first one is “Banh it la gai”, which is sticky rice cake with coconut or green bean stuffing wrapped in pinnate leaf. The second one is “Banh it tom thit” – glutinous rice cake with meat and shrimp, its name means “little meat shrimp cakes”, the stuffing is made of ground pork and shrimp mixed with spring onion and other spices.  
  • Bia Hoi Ha Noi50 Bat Dan (West side of the Old Quarter toward Phung Hung street). A traditional Bia Hoi (fresh beer) establishment, the beer here is supposedly of superior quality than found elsewhere. The food is excellent which is why it is so popular with the locals. It can be hard to find seating, the trick is to go after 1:30pm when the locals are heading back to work. Ask for Minh Chau if you need help with the menu -- she is very friendly and her English is quite good. The restaurant open at 9am to midnight. Operates with tourist menu card and charges 9,000 dong for Bia Hoi, staff consists mainly of teenage boys with no concept of service. (Jan 2014) 
  • Bun Cha1 Hang Manh, 67 Duong Thanh (Old Quarter near Hang Da market),  0169777666608:00-19:00some rate this as one of the best examples of Bun Cha in Hanoi, and therefore Vietnam (apparently in the south, Bun Cha is specifically advertised as Hanoi-style). For about 105,000 dong each, you'll get a bowl full of tiny pork-mince rissoles that have been char grilled over an open flame, and a plate of pork rice paper rolls that have been fried in oil, twice. With this you also get a phenomenal dipping sauce (fish sauce, made from sugar, garlic, peppers usually), a massive plate of greens and herbs, more bun (rice noodle) than you can handle, and a bottle of local beer. It's full of locals and not so many tourists, so you can be assured the experience is authentic. Great food but expect rude service. Be careful as the nems (fried spring rolls) are not included in the Bun Chat menu and they will force you to have some. It is 10,000 dong each. (May 2015)  edit
  • Cafe 6969 Ma May St (opposite Friendly Hotel). Good place to eat Western food in the heart of the Old Quarter, although some travellers find it expensive and the food inferior quality. 
  • Com Binh Dan, (Hang Bo, several side streets in Old Quarter). often only open during lunch hours (11AM-2PM)these are an excellent way to get an inexpensive, home-cooked Vietnamese meal. The best ones have loyal followings of workers who eat there every day. rice with two or three toppings (which you select from several dishes): 15,000-30,000 dong.  edit
  • Com Chay Nang Tam Vegetarian Restaurant79A Pho Tran Hung Dao (a few streets south of the lake). Open for lunch and dinnerThis excellent restaurant is your best vegetarian option in town and will please both vegetarians and non-vegetarians with its wide range of innovative dishes, which include fake meat dishes. Restaurant is comfortable with good ambiance, and dishes are value-priced. Well worth the short walk out of the old town. Set dinner with a selection of four dishes, soup, and rice: 50,000+ dong
  • Com Chay Au Lac277 Ngo Van Chuong (Take Le Duan south, past train tracks, turn into alley after #114). Open every day, 7am-8:30pmTypical local vegetarian restaurant like you'll find everywhere in Vietnam except Hanoi, located a little off the beaten track in an atmospheric alleyway. 30,000 dong.  
  • DAC KIM67 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem 016977766668AM-7PMBBQ pork (slice) in soup with vermicelli and lots of vegetables. They serve spring rolls too.  
  • Gao De2, Ta Hien St (Towards the top end of Ta Hien street, opposite a tattoo parlour). This place serves a selection of dishes from the C19 capital of Vietnam, Hue. Delicious and cheap. The owners are friendly and speak English. Menu also has English descriptions and photographs of the food. Great value. Dishes from US$1.50.  
  • Hebe Cafe33, Luong Van Can St (inside Hanoi Youth Hotel - near the Hoan Kiem lake, in the centre of Old Quarter). Cheap local and Western food. breakfasts: US$1; pizza: US$2; hot pot: US$8.  
  • Joma Bakery Café (Joma), 22 Ly Quoc Su, & 54 To Ngoc Van (near the Cathedral, & west lake), 7AM-9PMFair-trade certified, organic coffee prepared by some of the best baristas in town. Add to your smooth cappuccino a sweet-smelling cinnamon bun or a much-loved bagel egger. Everything here is homemade and fresh. Excellent breakfast menu and lunch/dinner options, as well as a mouth-watering array of cakes, cookies, pies and other treats. Locations also in Cambodia - Phnom Penh, Laos, Vientiane and Luang Prabang. 20,000-80,000 dong.  
  • Kem Tràng Tiền39 Ta HienPopular spot for ice cream on a hot day. Beware of motorbikes when entering the establishment, since it is sort of a drive-thru/drive-in ice cream shop. Make sure to try the local cóm or đậu xanh flavors. Also to note that the hygine in the area may be a bit dubious since many toss away their eaten ice cream sticks Ice cream bars 5,000-8,000 dong. Cones are a bit more expensive.
  • King Roti, 34 Hang Gai (Corner of Hang Gai & Luong Van Can Streets). Delicious sweet buns in four flavors: chocolate, matcha, vanilla and cheese. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. You'll smell them before you see them. Buns 15,000 dong.  
  • Nachos2go54 Phố Tràng Tiền (Corner of Ta Hien & Hang Bac Streets),  +84 123 203 000012:30 pm - 2:00 amAmazing nachos and open late night. Nachos 80,000-100,000 dong. Drinks 10,000-50,000
  • Phoon the corner of Nha Chung and Chan CamAll of the soups and sides include beef (bo) so this isn't for vegetarians. Large bowl of pho: 12,000 dong; Coke or beer: 3,000 dong
  • Pho Tu Lun (Au Trieu)10 Ly Quoc SuMany pho varieties 45,000-70,000 dong (2012)
  • Quan an Ngon aka Delicious18 Phan Boi Chau streetWide range of choices with regards to dishes from everywhere in Vietnam at very reasonable prices. They have limited seating and a large amount of customers so waiting time to be seated would be certain. Fortunately, they have a large seating area so customers do not have to wait long. They serve both lunch and dinner. Their restaurant is decorated culturally and traditionally.  
  • Viet Village Restaurant (The Old Quarter Corner Restaurant), 44 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (right in the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam),  +84-4-39260888 (fax+84-4-39264888), 5:30am - 11pmLocated in the heart of Hanoi, Qua Cho Que or The Old Quarter Corner Restaurant combines the best of traditional Vietnamese and Western cuisines and cultures. Main course S$ 2-10, Breakfast S$ 1.7 - 2.5, Appetizer S$ 1.7 -6.5.  
  • Quan Bia Minh (Minh's)7a Dinh Liet (100 m north of the lake),  +84 4 3934 53237:30AM-11:30PMPopular restaurant with lovely casual upstairs terrace, Minh speaks English well and keeps her staff attentive. Variety of western, vegetarian and Vietnamese food, all reasonably priced.  
  • Sen (Lotus)#10, lane 431, Au Co Rd, Tay Ho district (right next to the Water Park). Buffet style restaurant. They also have a very wide range of dishes from many regions in the country. The dishes are divided into stations where customers can order noodles, rice cakes or rice vermicelli. Serves both lunch and dinner. Their new restaurant looks Westernized, compared with their old thatched restaurants.  
  • The Cart Au Trieu18 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem (Au Trieu is the street to the right of St Joseph's Cathedral but The Cart is entered via the backdoor so go down the alleyway and take a left.),  04 3928 7715,  8AM-5PMTry their pies and pasties. 60,000 dong for a sandwich, 45,000 for an Punto Italia latte.  
  • The Cart Nghi Tam8B, Lane 1 Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho (Follow the road between the back doors of the Sheraton and the Intercontinental till it takes a right and The Cart Nghi Tam is just around the corner.),  0437186967,  07:00-19:00This one is great for an early breakfast or a takeaway coffee. Their Old School Bacon Baguette with back bacon is a rarity in Hanoi. Try the meat and potato pie or the veggie cheese, onion and potato pasty. 60,000 dong for a sandwich, 45,000 dong for a Punto Italia latte
  • CUSINE VIET - AM THUC VIET80 Ma may street,Hoan Kiem, Hnaoi +84947853658located at center of Hanoi Old Quarter, has staff that speak English, French,Chinese and Vietnamese. It offers great Vegetarian and Vietnamese foods in 2 separate floor. It's amazing place to relax, wait and drinks as well. It will actually be a good place for those craving for Asian food upon arrival or before departure.It's one place where a good clean toilet is expected, with free Wi-Fi. Bowl of noodles: 59,000 dong
  • Minh Thuy's Family Restaurant2A Duong Thanh +84 4 3200 7893,  11am - 10pmLovely Old Quarter expat fave serving great value Western comfort food, classic Vietnamese, and excellent veggie options (rare in meat-loving Hanoi). The head chef was a top 10 contestant in Vietnamese Masterchef! Prices very affordable: pho is just 45,000 dong ($2) - around the same as a good street place; a large beer 15,000 (70 cents); a big delicious mango milkshake 45,000 ($2); the classic Hanoi dish cha ca is 120k ($5.40) and as good as you'll have at the restaurants that specialise in it. Western mains start from 60,000 ($2.70) and focusses on good hearty German fare. The restaurant is upstairs, ignore the downstairs floor which is being worked on currently.  

Mid-range

  • CUSINE VIET-AM THUC VIET80 Ma may street,Hoan Kiem, Hanoi +8484947853658$1,5-$10.  
  • Cha Ca La Vong14 Cha Ca St & 107 Nguyen Truong To StThis establishment is so famous, the street is named after it, instead of the other way around. There's only one dish on the (Vietnamese-only) menu, fried fish in grease, but they've been serving it now for five generations. They traditional shrimp paste is now an optional extra. If you really love fish and shrimp, this experience might be for you. Authentic as it may be, it is a total rip-off according to the locals. For the same price, you could eat 3 meals at a decent cafe by the street. One wonders why this is recommended in most guidebooks from Lonelyplanet to Frommers. 170,000 dong for a small portion (as of Dec 2014), 1,000 dong charge per napkin
  • Ciao Cafe2 Hang Bai StCosy place for coffee and cake and it is not full of cigarette smoke unlike other cafes in Hanoi.  
  • Daluva Wine | Tapas | Events33 To Ngoc Van St, Tay Ho (West Lake) +84 4 3718 5831 or +84 907 144 561,  8AM till lateWine and Tapas Bar/Restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food caters for all tastes including vegetarians and kids. Ranging from small tapas plates to main courses of hearty Western and Asian fare. It's a modern place and well decorated with great well trained staff and easy music on your ears. The 3rd floor has a Children's play room with free supervision as well as a Children's menu. The place is a favourite with local expats in the area. 
  • Huyen Houng Restaurant20 Bao Khanh, Hanoi +84 4 8288430Choose from a wide variety of seafood dishes (many of which are swimming around in tanks) and other Vietnamese specialities. Friendly staff complement the tasty food. 80,000-120,000 dong for a meal and drink.  
  • Huong LyLy Thuong Kiet, HanoiVery close to the Melia Hotel, this is a fantastic bar / restaurant on the ground floor and top floor of a building. Randomly the middle floor is a clothes shop. Fantastic food, serving anything from traditional noodles to salmon steak, beautifully presented and delicious. Friendly staff too. 55,000-120,000 dong for a main course.  
  • Kaiser Kaffee Restaurant34A Ba TrieuInteresting little place which has excellent Vietnamese and Western food.  
  • La Salsa, ('in Nha Tho St near the church in Old Town - just across the street from Moka Cafe). French food and ex-pat hang-out.  
  • Lantern LoungeMa May 80, second floor +84 911480368 (), 11AM-midnightThis lounge offers an unique atmosphere in the heart of the old quarter. It's a great place where you can eat, work or just hang around with friends. The friendly staff will do everything to make you feel at home. They offer a diverse menu with both western and Vietnamese food. During the daily happy hour (5-8PM), all the beers are half price and cocktail is at 40.000VND during the weekend . To find this place you have to walk in to Cuisine Viet and take the stairs to the second floor. 40.000 - 125.000.  
  • Little Hanoi21 Pho Hang Gai +84 4 928 5333Upscale cafe serving mainly Westerners in a pleasantly lit restaurant. 
  • Mediteraneo, (Nha Tho St, between La Salsa and Paris Deli). offers authentic Italian food - probably the best you'll get in Hanoi. Prices are however steep and portions small.  
  • Moka Café, (In Nha Tho St close to the cathedral). Excellent selection of Western and Vietnamese food served in a coffee shop environment.  
  • Paris Deli, (Nha Tho St across from Moka Cafe). Offers delicious European fare for hearty appetites.  
  • Pepperoni's, (near the Hang Gai end of Nha Chung). Part of a small international chain of pizza restaurants. Locally run, they do regular special offers such as free desserts, eat-all-you-can buffets and loyalty schemes, whereby collecting tokens with each take-out entitles you to a free pizza. Pizzas, burgers, ice cream, and apple crumble. Pizzas: 65,000+ dong.  
  • Paradieso Restaurant7 Nguyen Sieu (Old Quarter),  +84 4 39974861Small and warmly restaurant with both local Vietnamese and Western food, good quality and affordable price. You can have Vietnam traditional food: Cha Ca, Bun Cha, Pho, Nem (spring rolls), also can have very good crepes. All very good quality and nice decor.  
  • Salt'n Lime12 Tu Hoa Street, Tay Ho Distrct +84 126 613 4178,  5:00 pm - 10:00 pmQuick fresh Mexican food in Hanoi. Burritos, tacos, nachos, soup and an insane variety of tequillas.  
  • Tan My Design Cafe61 Hang Gai +84 4 3938-1451,  One of the Hanoi's best for boutique fashion where you can also get nice Asian and Western foods in the cozy ambiance  
  • Luala Cafe61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem +84 4 3936 9899,  Luala Cafe is a cafe and restaurant inside the Luala Store, a luxury fashing concept store located in the shopping district of Hanoi. The restaurant offers a variety of gourmet foods, drinks and desserts  

Splurge

  • Pots 'n Pans Restaurant57 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi (Follow Ba Trieu Street south from Hoan Kiem Lake 5 mins), +84 4 39 4402 04 (fax+84 4 39 44 65 99), From 11.30AM-lateInnovative Vietnamese cuisine infused with international flair. A fine-dining restaurant & lounge bar brought to you by a group of former street and disadvantaged youth from Hanoi’s own KOTO Training Program now rising stars of the Vietnamese food scene. Happy Hour 7 days from 5pm - 7pm. 
  • Don's Bistro16/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Ha Noi +84 4 3719 2460 (fax+84 4 3719 5998), From 8AM-11Multi-concept establishment serving classic and innovative international cuisine, including Vietnamese favorites, in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. With unparalleled views and eclectic music selections, don's is a destination in itself for dining, leisure, business and entertainment. The focus is on local produce, quality imports, and the utmost in service standards, while catering to a very diverse clientele. Don's houses a signature fine dining restaurant with a cigar den, wine cellar and rotating art gallery as well as a rooftop Skyline Oyster Bar featuring live oysters and live nightly music. The first floor is geared for more casual dining, serving pho, cocktails, coffee, fresh baked goods, wood fire pizzas, shisha and more. 
  • Green Tangerine48 Hang Be (A few steps away from busy Hang Be St),  84 4 825-1286Excellent French restaurant offering rich and delicious French fare with both an a la carte selection and a set menu. Popular with expats. 
  • La Restaurant & Bar25 Ly Quoc Su +84 4 9288933, +84 913221971Situated near St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi's old quarter, this elegant, air-conditioned restaurant has a choice of delicious Western and Vietnamese dishes. While the selection of vegetarian dishes is somewhat restricted, the food is excellent, if pricey by Hanoi standards. La will definitely satisfy longings for quality food after weeks of eating on the street. Think Parisian bistro meets fine dining Asian. 300,000 dong for a meal and drinks
  • Restaurant Bobby Chinn77 Xuan Dieu St, Tay Ho, +84 4 3718 5988An amazing restaurant with the trademark green pea pods as the logo. Without a doubt one of the more hip dining experiences of Hanoi. The interior alone is worth a look, while the menu is delightfully eclectic. 
  • Restaurant at Bamboo Hotel, 32,Hang Be. Why risk street food when this cosy, friendly and clean place offers good food, ambience, and at prices cheaper than in Malaysia and Thailand ? After your experience with street food, you will be coming here everyday. We went lunch and dinner as well almost everyday except when away for day trips out of the city. Menu is in English and English is fluently spoken.
  • Pane e Vino Italian Restaurant and Wine Shop3 Nguyen Khac Can (on a small street near the Opera House),  +84 4 3826 9080Fully A/C. Serves a wide range of traditional regional Italian dishes with strictly controlled quality of ingredients. An extensive wine list with many choices of Imported Italian wines from Veneto, Tuscany, Puglia, Sicilia and Piemont. Friendly service with smiling and fluent speaking English waiter and waitress. A great place to relax and get recover after a long walking and shopping day. Drop in for a chat and a complimentary digestivo with the manager. 

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