Where to Eat in Hanoi

TL;DR -- Everything is best at the little storefronts that have wee tiny plastic stools on the sidewalks - far far better than eating indoors in air-conditioned comfort (and silence).

  • In general, most everything is quite clean/safe (and, when in doubt, eat stuff that has been cooked :-) 
  • Nothing should cost more than a few dollars a head - the most expensive meal we had came to $5/head.  (and yeah, you can eat indoors in air-conditioned comfort.  Whats the point?)
  • Most of the places don't have actual names - go to the address in the map above.  FWIW, its OK if you end up in the place next door, or some place entirely different, its probably just as good!
  • Seriously, the point here is the ones I've referenced will help break the ice - once you've been to a few of these, you'll figure out the system, and start picking your own places...
  • Don't worry if there is no beer to be seen - ask for beer (or water. or 7-up.  they'll procure it from nearby)
  • Chè is a catch-all term meaning dessert/sweet-beverage - look for stalls that have it in their name, and follow the Point-Eat-Pay approach to existence
  • Coffee is, literally, everywhere. Do not go into Starbucks or the like!  It is typically strong, comes hot or with ice, and when they say milk, they mean condensed milk.  If, however, you get regular milk, you're in the wrong place :-)
  • Oh, if you get a chance, do hang out at the Metropole, and have a couple of (outrageously priced) drinks outside - the people watching is stellar, and if not anything else, you get to see the parade of brides going by, especially on Sundays.

videoSteamed Pancakes (32 Hội Vũ,) - Really thin rice pancakes, steamed on a silk cloth, with a pork / crab / something stuffing, typically dipped in fish sauce.  You can eat, well, ∞ of them.
You can also get soup(s) at this place, typically with a dumpling version of the steamed pancakes.  Equally, if not moar, gooder.

Moar Steamed Pancakes (14 Bảo Khánh)

Bun Cha Ta (21 Nguyễn Hữu Huân)
Grilled pork in fish sauce, with rice noodles.  Sounds, not all that amazing, no?  Well, it actually is all that and quite a bit more - the perfect combination of flavors, textures - and just the right amount of satiation without knocking you for a loop.

Nộm Bò (23 Hoàn Kiếm)   
Green papaya salad was never this good.  Its the same ubiquitous fish sauce, but now with green papaya juice, and crunchy slivers of green papaya.  Its hard to keep yourself from wolfing down multiple plates thereof

Fried Rice (On Ngõ Tràng Tiền)
As you walk down this tiny street, you'll see dozens of vendors selling lunch (be there over lunch!). Quite a few of them specialize in fried rice- get some, and enjoy!

61 quán s (At 61 quán sứ.)
Its a "do your own grilling" place - they have helpful menus that you can use to order the meats, which come with sides of jicama, pickles cabbage, and the ubiquitous greens. A hot brazier is plopped in front of you, and you grill away. Do be adventurous in your meat selections!

Crab Soup (7B Lý Quốc Sư,)
Its "crab soup" (yeah, there is crab in there, wee tiny amounts), but also large chunks of fried tofu, some noodles, and all sorts of other fun stuff.  Suck it down...

Che 95 (95 Hàng Bạc)
Various combinations of condensed milk, sticky rice, shaved ice, and yoghurt. Which sounds dense and gross - it is anything but. A friend said "this is better than ice cream" and he may very well be right!

Egg Coffee (7 Chợ Gạo)
Its basically Zabaglione on top of coffee - egg yolks, whipped with condensed milk, and plopped on top of coffee.  Look for small places that serve this, its worth the effort, and ludicrously awesome (and as dense as depleted uranium!)

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