Stroll through the Old Quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam's northern hub, and you'll quickly find yourself allured by aromas wafting from street food stalls and storefronts cooking up a variety of cheap and delicious eats. The cuisine in Hanoi tends to be slightly sweeter than in the rest of Vietnam, with a focus on abundant fresh herbs and freshwater seafood. Here are a few dishes and activities you won't want to miss.
You can't visit Hanoi without trying Vietnam's most iconic dish, pho. This classic noodle soup is often made from beef stock boiled for hours with star anise and cinnamon to bring out the rich meat flavors. Rice noodles are ubiquitous in Hanoi, often topped with grilled pork and fish sauce (bun cha). Pork also makes a mouthwatering appearance in bahn cuon, a rice flour crepe filled with pork and mushrooms and topped with crunchy fried shallots, chilies and fresh herbs. Thirsty? Breakfast often comes with egg coffee, a hot beverage made by mixing coffee with egg and sweetened condensed milk, while later in the day, locally brewed beer (bai hoi) offers a refreshing alternative.
Tour Hanoi's culinary scene on foot, by bike, or by motorbikeSample all the best bites on a street food walking tour in the Old Quarter and at the sprawling night marketTake a cooking class to learn about the techniques and ingredients used in Northern Vietnamese cookingLearn from the locals at a relaxing dinner in a family homeDine at Snake Village, where you'll have a unique multi-course meal made from a famous local specialty: snakes!