Hanoi has some awesome restaurants with a wide variety of Vietnamese and Non-Vietnamese food. There is also an amazing selection of coffee shops with a wide selection of different coffees.
In total, we spent six weeks in Hanoi, which included a month-long house sit in Tay Ho in Hanoi. We were lucky to have a Western kitchen during our house sit so we got to cook at home a bit and enjoy some of our favourite meals from back home.
The Food Scene
Many of the options of food in Hanoi listed below are found in Tay Ho ( a 10-minute taxi ride from the Old Quarter), as well as a variety of other areas. For locations of all the places check out our map at the end of this post.
Bún chả (main image)
Two to three times during the week we had Bún chả at a tiny restaurant that was only open for lunch. It was so delicious and is one of our favourite Vietnamese dishes. Bún chả can be found at most Vietnamese restaurants in Hanoi, but this was definitely our favourite spot for the dish.
Bún chả is the quintessential Hanoi dish and is made up of a variety of different “dishes”. First up is a bowl of grilled pork patties and pork belly that is served in a broth/dipping sauce with pickled vegetables. You will also receive a plate of vermicelli rice noodles and a basket of various herbs (coriander, mint, basil), perilla leaves and lettuce leaves. It is the intention to use these liberally as they add amazing flavour to an already great dish. Dig in and enjoy, I promise you won’t regret it.
We had BBQ a few nights, the restaurant was great and cooking your food was fun. Don’t go hungry though as it will take some time before your meat and vegetables are cooked. Order your plates of meat and vegetables from the long list of options, and then start cooking it on the fire. There are the some items on the list for the more adventurous out there like cow udders and pig hearts. Or you can stick to the safer sounding options like brisket and pork belly (our route).
Close to where we stayed in Tay Ho was a sushi place called Kimi. Amazing sushi and good value. Complimentary with your order we also got miso soup and some fruit for dessert.
Bánh xèo (Vietnamese pancake)
Bánh xèo is delicious and can be found all over Vietnam. However, the dish does differ slightly depending on the region. The restaurant where we had the pictured Bánh xèo was the best. It was also huge compared to the much smaller ones we had elsewhere.
Bánh xèo is a savoury fried pancake made from rice flour. Meat filling options include shrimp, pork and beef (which is what we went for). With the meat, there is also diced green onion and bean sprouts. It is served with Bánh tráng (rice paper wrappers) or lettuce/mustard leaves, which you use to wrap the pancake in. The dish is also served with a variety of herbs that you can include in your wrap. Dip it in some diluted fish sauce and enjoy.
The Coffee Scene
There is an amazing coffee scene throughout Vietnam, which isn’t surprising considering they are the second largest producers of coffee in the world, after Brazil.
The amount of coffee shops is overwhelming and they serve the most delicious coffee that we have had.
Cà phê sữa chua (yoghurt coffee)
As the name suggests, it’s yoghurt with coffee. I really liked yoghurt coffee, and it can be found at many coffee shops all over Hanoi.
Cà phê trứng (egg coffee)
Described as liquid tiramisu, egg coffee is very rich and not something you could have too often. I liked it; Collen wasn’t a huge fan.
Egg coffee is made by beating egg yolks with sugar and coffee. The coffee is then extracted into the bottom of the cup and topped up with a similar amount of the egg cream (which was previously heated to cook the eggs).
Egg coffee is popular in Hanoi and you can find it on a lot of menus. However, Giang café is known for having the best one in Hanoi. The café was started in 1946. It’s current location is easy to miss. Located on a busy road, there is just a small sign and a narrow alley indicating its location.
They use chicken eggs, coffee powder and condensed milk in their recipe. To retain the heat of the egg coffee, the cup is served in a bowl of hot water.
The map below shows the location of all the dishes and egg coffee. The yoghurt coffee can be found at many Hanoi coffee shops so that one isn’t on the map, we also can’t remember where we had our yoghurt coffee.