Food is a very important part of the Vietnamese culture. In fact, food habits and culture are intricately intertwined in this beautiful land which makes it absolutely essential to go for a Hanoi food tour to get a taste of real Vietnam. The streets of Hanoi are bustling with activity, from people taking to local parks for their dance lessons to shopping at the night markets on the street which has given birth to a vibrant culture of street food comprising of everything from snacks to meal bowls to dessert to coffee. If it is your first time in Hanoi I recommend you to have a look at my Backpacking Hanoi Travel guide first. Another good hint to kickstart your visit would be to find some local tour in order to connect immediately with the locals, and to get some guidance on what to see and where to eat in town. It might seem almost a luxury option but trust me, it is NOT! Gorge your way through the city with a street food tour for your pocket-friendly and filling food cravings. It may become the highlight of your trip you did not expect. Here is some Vietnamese food which you simply cannot afford to miss.
Possibly the most iconic food from Vietnam has to be its delicious pho. This delectable item is a wholesome, healthy and filling meal, consisting of a bowl of rice noodles, broth, loads of greens, herbs and meat, served with spicy sauces, lemon and pastes. A Hanoi food tour is simply incomplete without a large bowl of pho which is also one of the most popular street foods that you will find all over Vietnam. So, go out and dig into a large bowl of pho for an energising healthy breakfast before your sightseeing!
Yet another popular item which has recently been introduced to the international palette is Vietnam’s unique preparation of coffee. Locally grown rich dark roasted coffee is served in a small metal drip filter and it is full of flavour and stronger than most regular coffees. It can be had hot with thick sweetened condensed milk or it can be poured into ice and had cold as iced coffee. Either way the rich flavours of the aromatic coffee is to die for, and hence, an integral part of Hanoi food tour.
While the Vietnamese cuisine is heavily dependent on rice, the bahn mi is a welcome change. Owing its origin to French influence, a bahn mi is a sandwich served in a small Vietnamese baguette. It is filled with vegetables, meat, herbs and spices and often topped with chillies or chilli based sauces for that extra zing. Grab it for a hearty breakfast or a light dinner.
If you have a sweet tooth, traditional Vietnamese sugar candy is something that you absolutely must include in your Hanoi food tour. Made freshly with boiled sugar, and coconuts, it is delightfully sweet and sticky. Other desserts you must try out are grass jellies, soy jelly, sticky rice and coconut milk based rich desserts. Sweet sticky rice, often wrapped in banana leaves, sometimes served with fruits, is rich, aromatic and an absolute delight for those who like their desserts light.
Enjoy a light delicious meal on your Hanoi food tour with a host of delicious tropical fruits like mangoe, rambutan, dragon fruit, mangosteen etc. If you are feeling adventurous, try out the famous durian. Although the smell is sometimes considered offensive by foreigners, it is one of the most delicious fruits of the region.
If you are into fresh crafted beer, wash down all the gorgeous food with the delicious and light bia hoi. It is available all over the city and its made fresh daily.