23 Hanoi winter comfort foods


Hanoi is home to a myriad of cuisine, from refreshing summer seafood to toasty winter treats. 

When the chilly breeze blows through the northern city, here’re 23 Hanoi winter comfort foods that’ll help you put on that extra layer of winter blubber.


Breakfast



1. Bún chả – grilled pork with rice noodles



Image credit: @ms_lulus_secret

Bún chả is a scrumptious feast of flavors and colors. It’s a glorious surf-turf combination of grilled fatty pork cooked over charcoal, with rice noodles, fresh herbs, chilli and irresistible drops of fish sauce mixed with vinegar that can make any finicky eater go bananas. 

The art of the dish lies in the skill of fanning the pork over charcoal and mixing the dipping sauces using Vietnamese condiments. 

Price range: VND45,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.96-USD3.05)
You can find this dish here:

  • No.23 Nguyễn Biểu, Quán Thánh, Ba Đình District 
  • 74 Hàng Quạt, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Duy Diễm Restaurant, no.140 Ngọc Khánh, Giảng Võ, Ba Đình District
  • No. 34 Hàng Than, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình District
  • Hương Liên Restaurant, No.24 Lê Văn Hưu, Phan Chu Trinh, Hai Bà Trưng District

2. Bún thang – Thang noodles



Image credit: @ujunhs_

Bún thang is the quintessential cuisine of Hanoi, combining a classic comforting appearance with a mix of textures and flavors. A typical bowl of bún thang is made of dried shrimp, shredded chicken, spring rolls, a pinch of thinly sliced fried eggs, onions and rice noodles. 

The aromatic, sweet and simmering broth made of chicken or pork bones and about 12 different condiments gives the dish a perfect finishing touch.

Price range: VND40,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.74-USD2.62)
You can find this dish here:

  • 25 Hàng Hành, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Bún thang Bà Đức, 48 Cầu Gỗ, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • 144D2 Giảng Võ, Giảng Võ, Ba Đình District

3. Bánh cuốn – steamed rolled sheets



Image credit: @giagiaeating111

Bánh cuốn is a Vietnamese all-time breakfast favorite. You can find this dish everywhere around the country, but only in Hanoi can you find what many consider the most authentic and savory version of this dish.

Made from a thin, wide sheet of steamed rice batter filled with a mixture of cooked seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and fried shallots, this breakfast classic comes with sides such as Vietnamese pork sausage, sliced cucumber, and bean sprouts, with fish sauce as the main dipping sauce. 

Price range: VND25,000-VND65,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.83)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bánh cuốn Bà Hạnh, 26B Thọ Xương, Phủ Doãn, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Bánh cuốn Bà Hòe, 16 Dốc Hòe Nhai, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình District
  • No. 34 Yên Phụ Nhỏ, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình District
  • No. 171 Bế Văn Đàn, Quang Trung, Hà Đông District

4. Xôi xéo – sticky rice with mung beans



Image credit: @ecoistic

Xôi xéo is the favorite traditional breakfast of old-timer Hanoians, because sticky rice is known to keep eaters feeling full for a longer time than noodles. The dish is a luscious mixture of glutinous rice and turmeric powder, layered with mung beans, deep fried shallots, and some lard.

The mung beans, after being carefully chosen and peeled, are then steamed, pummeled, and rolled into small balls. The yellow color of turmeric powder and mung beans, the brown of the shallots, and the distinctive green of the banana leaves mix and match attractively.  

Price range: VND15,000-VND35,000 (~USD0.65-USD1.53)
You can find this dish here:

  • Xôi Xéo Cô Mây, Hàng Bài – Lý Thường Kiệt crossroad, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Ngon Restaurant, No. 18 Phan Bội Châu, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Xôi Yến, No. 35B Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hoàn Kiếm District

Lunch



5. Chả cá Lã Vọng – Vietnamese turmeric fried fish with dill leaves



Image credit: @susritasarkar

Grilled fish, the main ingredient of chả cá Lã Vọng, is made from the tender flesh of lentils that lends a totally distinct flavor to the dish. Marinated with lesser galangal, sour dry rice, turmeric, and grilled over charcoal until both sides turn golden brown, the fish is then pan-fried with dill and onions for extra crispiness and aroma. 

The dish is served with a rich layer of toppings such as fried peanuts, grilled rice crackers, and coriander with fish sauce or shrimp paste to accent the flavor of the dish. 

Price range: VND70,000-VND120,000 (~USD3.05-USD5.23)
You can find this dish here:

  • 14 Chả Cá, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Chả cá Vọng Ngư, 29 Nguyễn Chí Thanh, Ba Đình District
  • Ông già chả cá, No. 18, Level 9, Lý Thường Kiệt, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Chả Cá Lão Ngư, 171 Thái Hà, Đống Đa District

6. Bún đậu mắm tôm – rice noodles with fried tofu and shrimp paste



Image credit: @buniuiu

Hanoians have proven through bún đậu mắm tôm that even a simple-looking and intense-smelling dish can appeal to lunch goers with its artful arrangement.  

In this mix of ingredients typically served on a bamboo tray, vermicelli and tofu are considered light and bland ingredients, yet they match perfectly with the intense smell of shrimp paste sauce, with sour lemon juice and chilli peppers. 

Despite its simple ingredients, you’ll feel as if you’re being treated to a feast when you see the combination of golden-fried tofu, white vermicelli, fresh herbs, and shrimp paste sauce. Fried rice rolls and thinly sliced pork are the most popular toppings to go with this dish.

Price range: VND30,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.31-USD2.62)
You can find this dish here:

  • No. 1 B, Ngõ Trạm, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • No. 49, Phất Lộc Lane, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Bún Đậu Cây Bàng, 129 Đại La, Hai Bà Trưng District
  • No. 31 Lane 29 Hàng Khay, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm District

7. Bánh đúc – steamed rice cake



Image credit: @haeun.de

Usually made from rice flour or tapioca flour, bánh đúc is boiled directly on the stove until liquidefied and served with stir-fried minced meat and mushrooms. 

When eating, the seller scoops two or three tablespoons of this silky smooth rice cake into a small bowl, then adds some aromatic spices such as coriander, fried onion, and pepper, before pouring the sour and sweet sauce over the mixture to complete the taste. 

Price range: VND20,000-VND50,000 (~USD0.87-USD2.18)
You can find this dish here:

  • 106 Gốc Đề, Minh Khai, Hai Bà Trưng District
  • 28 Hàng Bè, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Nghĩa Tân Market, B6 Nghĩa Tân, Cầu Giấy District
  • 249 Đội Cấn, Liễu Giai, Ba Đình District
  • 296 Minh Khai, Hai Bà Trưng District

8. Bún ốc chuối đậu – rice vermicelli with shrimp paste soup



Image credit: @linhnguyen1227

Even though Hanoi is a labyrinth of striking authentic cuisines, bún ốc chuối đậu never fails to pack a punch with its robust pot of colors and flavors. This dish is made from very simple ingredients, including large snails, tofu, tomatoes, and rice noodles. Thinly sliced green bananas bulk up the dish and add a fleshy taste. 

Tomato wedges are continuously added to the simmering stock, with one or two ladled into each serving to lend it a natural sweetness. Several spoons of fermented shrimp paste and vinegar liven up the flavor of the broth.The snails are pried out of shells, looking chewy and slimy. Finally, a salad plate is served along to balance the taste of the stock.

Price range: VND35,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.53-USD2.62)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bún Ốc Cô Lan, 139 Khương Thượng, Đống Đa District
  • 102 Lương Định Của, Kim Liên, Đống Đa District
  • Bún Ốc Bà Lương, 34 – 64 No.191 Lane, Khương Thượng, Đống Đa District
  • Bún Ốc Bà Giao, 18/ 433 Lane, Bạch Mai, Hai Bà Trưng District
  • Bún Ốc Cổ, 103 E4 Thanh Xuân Bắc, Thanh Xuân District 
  • Bún Ốc Sườn, 57A Hai Bà Trưng, Hoàn Kiếm District

9. Bún ngan – goose noodles


Savoury and healthy, bún ngan is always on the list of the must-try dishes in Hanoi in winter. Cooked from duck bones in simmering broth, this steaming noodle dish boasts succulent duck flesh served with chewy bamboo shoots and creamy blood cubes atop soft and bouncy noodle strings.

You can order a noodle soup bowl with all the fillings ready inside, or you can order the noodles with a separate plate of succulent duck chopped into chunks, and dip them in a bowl of dipping sauce before balancing the greasy taste with the noodles. 

Price range: VND25,000-VND65,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.83)
You can find this dish here:

  • Bún Minh Thư, 31 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Bún Ngan Nhàn, 14 Trung Yên Lane, Đinh Liệt, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Bún Ngan Mềm Béo, 54 Phùng Hưng, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm District

10. Bánh gối – pillow-shaped deep-fried cakes



Image credit: @tmyduyen1292

Bánh gối fascinates guests with its pillowy shapes. The cake is made of rice flour that’s folded into these shapes and deep-fried until the skin turns yellow and crispy. Vermicelli, minced pork, wood ear, and mushrooms are chopped and blended together for the savory filling. 

The dipping sauce for this dish normally contains immunity-boosting ingredients such as garlic, chili, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. A bunch of herbs such as lettuce and coriander are served along to reduce the greasiness of the puffs and accent the overall flavor. 

Price range: VND20,000-VND50,000 (~USD0.87-USD2.18)
You can find this dish here:

  • 52 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Bánh Gối Hàng Chiếu, 86C Hàng Chiếu, Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Bánh Gối Hòe Nhai, 9 Hòe Nhai, Ba Đình District
  • Bánh Gối Ngọc Tú, 107 C3 Nghĩa Tân, Cầu Giấy District
  • Bánh Gối Chú Quân, 17 Hoàng Tích Trí, Kim Liên Apartment Building, Hoàn Kiếm District

Midday pick-me-up snacks



11. Nộm đu đủ bò kho – Vietnamese green papaya salad with jerky



Image credit: @pilavigne

Nộm is a simple yet delectable dish consisting of dried beef cut into thin slices, soaked with the sauce including garlic, salt, sugar, ginger and chili. Carrot, mangoes, and green papayas are sliced into strips and mixed with herbs as the main toppings. 

The secret weapon of the dish lies in the sauce, which is basically made of vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, chili, and soya sauce. Cooks usually soak carrot and green papaya strips in the sauce and top them with dried beef and roasted peanuts.

Price range: VND20,000-VND50,000 (~USD0.87-USD2.18)
You can find this dish here:

  • Nộm Mai Nga, 25 Hàm Long, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Nộm Lim, 55 Hàng Bún, Quán Thánh, Ba Đình District
  • Nộm Bò Khô Sứa Ngon, 21 Đặng Trần Côn, Quốc Tử Giám, Đống Đa District
  • Nộm Bò Khô – Nộm Lim – Nộm Tá Lả Gia Truyền, 55 Hàng Bún, Ba Đình District
  • Nộm Bò Khô – Nộm Lim – Nộm Tá Lả Gia Truyền, 27 Hoàng Sâm, Cầu Giấy District

12. Cháo sườn – porridge with pork ribs


Cháo sườn is a strictly Hanoian dish that cannot be found in any other province in the South. Just one scoop and you’ll be surprised at how a bowl with simple ingredients such as porridge, pork ribs, and shredded pork can be so delicious. 

The dish is often served with crunchy, greasy hot crullers to bring out the best flavor of the dish. If you ever see a big pot and a dozen plastic chairs with lots of people gathering around it in Hanoi, there might be a vendor there selling cháo sườn. 

Price range: VND25,000-VND65,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.83)
You can find this dish here: 

  • Cháo Sườn Ngõ Huyện, 43 Ngõ Huyện, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Cháo Sườn Sụn Đội Cấn, 142 Đội Cấn, Ba Đình District
  • Cháo Sườn Cô Là, 2A Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • 37 Lương Sử C, Văn Chương, Đống Đa District
  • Cháo Sườn & Bánh Giò – Kim Ngưu, 260 Kim Ngưu Lane, Hai Bà Trưng District
  • Cháo Sườn – Cửa Bắc, 45 Cửa Bắc, Ba Đình District

13. Bánh mỳ muối ớt – Vietnamese bread grilled with salt and chilli



Image credit: @lelinhtree

Despite not being a traditional snack of Hanoi, bánh mỳ muối ớt is a fun departure from the traditional bánh mì with its intense hit of spice combined with buttery mayonnaise sauce. 

A portion includes flattened bánh mì, which is smeared with scallion oil and butter and grilled over hot charcoal for a crunchy texture. The bread is cut into a few bite-sized pieces and topped with quail eggs and cucumber slices to balance the taste.  

Price range: VND25,000-VND65,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.83)
You can find this dish here: 

  • Bánh Mì Cô Liên, 50 Lò Sũ, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • No.5 Alley, No. 336 Nguyễn Trãi, Thanh Xuân Trung, Thanh Xuân District
  • No.1 Hàng Giầy, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • No. 29 Chùa Láng, Láng Thượng, Đống Đa District

14. Bánh rán lúc lắc – shaking fried cake



Image credit: @l.h.ph

Bánh rán is a deep-fried glutinous rice ball roasted with white sesame and a coat of sugar. The filling includes mung bean paste that’s scented with jasmine. The beans are cleverly rounded into a ball and separated from the shell so that when one shakes the entire rice ball, one can hear the filling rattle against the inside of the shell. 

This cake has a sweet, fatty, and moist flavor from mung beans and fried oil. Even though it’s not exactly the healthiest snack, it’s a very delicious treat for winter that warms you up from within. For extra indulgence, serve it with a cup of tea. 

Price range: VND5,000-VND15,000 (~USD0.22-USD0.65)
You can find this dish here:

  •  16A Lý Nam Đế, Hàng Mã, Hoàn Kiếm District
  •  21 Lê Đại Hành, Lê Đại Hành, Hai Bà Trưng District

Dinner



15. Chả rươi – palolo worm omelette



Image credit: @sy_zoomr

The main ingredients of chả rươi are palolo worms, sea creatures boiled in hot water to remove their tentacles. They’re mixed together with tangerine peel, herbs, minced pork and egg yolk before being fried over low heat. Onions and various spices are added, and the mixture is then fried until its surface turns crispy brown. 

The result is a rough-looking but tasty omelette steeped in the zesty, rich flavor of palomo worms. Chả rươi can be served with vermicelli or rice.

Price range: VND40,000-VND100,000 (~USD1.74-USD4.36)
You can find this dish here:

  • Chả Rươi Hưng Thịnh, No.1 Hàng Chiếu, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Chả Rươi Gia Ngư, No. 25 Gia Ngư, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Chả Rươi Hằng Béo, No.244 Lò Đúc, Đống Mác, Hai Bà Trưng District

16.Chả nhái – deep-fried frog patties



Image credit: @nguyenbea

Chả nhái is a seafood snack best eaten in chilly weather along with a bottle of beer. This dish is made of chopped meat and the bones of small frogs that are crushed, then mixed with spices, lemongrass, chili leaves, and fried in a pan of boiling oil until dark golden brown on each side.  

A bite of chả nhái can be followed by a bite of fresh herbs to balance out the taste.

Price range: VND25,000-VND65,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.83)
You can find this dish here:

  • Chả nhái Thanh Hằng, 14/191 Khương Thượng Lane, Khương Thượng, Đống Đa District 
  • Hà Khuê Restaurant, 152/22 Tôn Thất Tùng, Khương Thượng, Đống Đa District 

17. Cháo lòng – pork organ congee


Image credit: @long.ha.saigones

Cháo lòng basically consists of pork bone broth, rice, chilli, and various pork offal parts such as liver, kidney, and spleen. The dish is always served warm, usually with pieces of deep-fried crullers. 

Scallions, bean sprouts, herbs, and cubes of congealed blood make for extra hearty toppings to fill you right up.  

Price range: VND25,000-VND65,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.83)
You can find this dish here:

  • No.4 Đào Duy Từ, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Cháo Lòng Lợn Thuốc Bắc, 88 Thuốc Bắc, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm District 
  • 235 Tô Hiệu, Dịch Vọng, Cầu Giấy District
  • 18 Lò Sũ, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Cháo lòng bà Tý C, 39 Châu Long, Ba Đình District

18.  Cháo hàu – Vietnamese oyster porridge


Image credit: @tntung0802

Cháo hàu, or oyster porridge, is considered a tonic food for the body to cope with the cold. A bowl of cháo hàu consists of fresh oysters and savory porridge as its main ingredients. When being cooked, oysters do not need many spices, because their saltiness and natural sweetness are enough to bring out an awakening taste sensation.

The sweetness of the oyster makes the oyster porridge become sweet and aromatic. Oysters contain a lot of nutritional value – such as proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins A, C, D, B, B2, and B3. 

Price range: VND25,000-VND65,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.83)
You can find this dish here:

  • 67, Lane 460 Khương Đình, Khương Đình Ward, Thanh Xuân District
  • Cháo Việt restaurant, No. 8 Hàng Bột Lane, Cát Linh, Đống Đa District
  • Hàu Quán restaurant, No.286 Lạc Trung, Hai Bà Trưng District

19. Phở cuốn – Vietnamese fresh rice noodle rolls



Image credit: @chang.chengcheng

Compared to the traditional phở, phở cuốn boasts a lighter texture with fresh rice paper rolls wrapped with beef, crushed eggs, and herbs. Don’t worry if there’s no broth, as a bowl of dipping sauce can help lend flavor to the dish. Just dip each roll into the dipping sauce, which is a combination of sugar, vinegar, water, garlic and fish sauce. 

The way cooks make rolled phở is also modified into different ways to make the dish more appetizing and interesting, such as frying the rice paper till it turns crispy so the rolls resemble traditional spring rolls. 

Price range: VND30,000-VND70,000 (~USD1.31-USD3.05)
You can find this dish here:

  • Phở Thìn, 61 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Phở cuốn Hưng Bền, No. 25 – 27 Ngũ Xã, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình District
  • Phở cuốn Thanh Hằng, No. 29B Ngũ Xã, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình District

20. Gà tần – chicken stew with herbs



Image credit: @nam.le89

Outstandingly flavorful, gà tần is a great choice for dinner in Hanoi. A complex and hearty combination of chicken, mugwort, and a variety of Chinese herbs, this delicacy is imbued with the bitterness of herbs and the natural sweetness of chicken bones and meat. 

One can choose either white or black chicken, with the latter containing less fat and being slightly sweeter than the former.

Price range: VND30,000-VND65,000 (~USD1.31-USD2.83)
You can find this dish here:

  • Gà tần Mai Hương, 12 Hàng Cót, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Gà tần Đinh Liệt, 1 Đinh Liệt, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Gà tần Bà Dậu, 201 Tôn Đức Thắng, Đống Đa District
  • Gà tần quán Cây Si, 29 Tống Duy Tân, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Gà tần Hàng Bồ, 24 Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm District

Supper



21. Nem chua rán  – fried fermented pork rolls



Image credit: @duahauxdautay

Nem chua rán is hands down Hanoi’s iconic street food that is ideal for every budget. Boasting deep-fried fermented pork rolls served on layers of banana leaves along with a few slices of cucumber for extra crunchiness, this is Hanoi’s answer to Lotteria’s cheese sticks.

Crispy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside, this is an unbeatable night snack to enjoy with friends in chilly weather.  

Price range: VND25,000-VND50,000 (~USD1.09-USD2.18)
You can find this dish here:

  • Tạm Thương Alley, Hanoi Old Quarter (Note: there are more than 10 stalls here selling this dish door-to-door so you’ll be spoiled for choice. The prices are also quite reasonable due to the high competition here.)

22. Bánh trôi tàu – sweet dumpling soup


Image credit: @chicualong

Introduced to the local food scene by Chinese immigrants in the early 19th century, bánh trôi tàu is an absolutely ravishing choice of dessert when chilly breezes sweep through the city. 

The dessert is primarily made of rice balls filled with either black sesame seeds or mung bean paste before being boiled and garnished with shredded ginger. Cooked with brown sugar, ginger, and coconut milk until thickened, the soup is complex in flavor and starchy in texture.

The sweetness from the sesame and bean paste, the tingling spiciness from the ginger, and the lingering aroma from the coconut milk guarantee to satisfy any sweet tooth. 

Price range: VND15,000-VND30,000 (~USD0.65-USD1.31)
You can find this dish here:

  • No. 116 Nguyễn Khuyến, Ba Đình District
  • Điệp Béo, No. 52 Hàng Điếu, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Chè 16, No. 16 Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Chè bà Mai, No. 93 Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm District

23. Phở – Vietnamese beef and noodle soup


Of course, a trip to Vietnam is never complete without tasting this quintessential cuisine that put Vietnam on the world’s map. Nothing beats a chilly night eating phở on the streets after an exhausting day and when the temperature plummets. 

A bowl of Hanoian phở arrives with a heap of ingredients: noodles, chicken or beef stock, spring onions, bean sprouts, and more. The broth is cooked with pork bones along with a packet of herbs, and simmered for at least 18 hours. When serving, add some chili sauce and squeeze in some lime juice for a much more refreshing and deeper flavor. 

Price range: VND35,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.53-USD2.62)
You can find this dish here:

  • Phở Gà Nguyệt, 5b Phủ Doãn, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • 48 Trần Nhật Duật, Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Phở Xào Bắp Bò Bà Thanh Béo, 11 Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm District
  • Phở Đường Tàu, 3 Trần Phú, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm District

Authentic Hanoi winter comfort foods


When visiting Hanoi, you can have a chance to enjoy Vietnam’s most authentic street food with histories dating back centuries ago. With the cooler climate in the north and wide selection of unique ingredients and traditional recipes, Hanoi makes for a wonderful culinary adventure.  

If you are in Saigon and looking for a self-guided tour to navigate the vibrant food scene here, check out our list of the most value-for-the-dish street foods in Saigon. For those on a short visit to Saigon and need a detailed guide of what and where to eat, we’ve got you covered there. 

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from: @nolimitcooking, @milanmilktea, and Mink Nguyen

Enjoying The Smart Local Vietnam? Follow us on Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more stories like this. If you have a story to share, email us at pressvn@thesmartlocal.com.