Vietnamese noodle soups

Whenever “Vietnamese noodle soups” are mentioned, phở is usually the first image that pops up in people’s minds, and for good reason. But aside from phở, our country also has many more delicious noodle soup dishes to offer.

So, if you’re in Hanoi and you’ve had your fill of phở at the many phở stalls dotted across the city, check out these 10 other Vietnamese noodle soups for a change of pace.

1. Bún riêu cua – crab rice noodles

Bún riêu cua
Image credit: @meosut

People tend to remember phở as the iconic Vietnamese noodle soup with distinctly flavorful broth made from simmered beef bones, but technically, the name phở only refers to the flattened rice noodles used in the dish. Aside from phở, another type of rice noodles you’ll see a lot in Vietnam is bún – where instead of being flattened, the rice noodles are left as round strips.

Bún is a staple ingredient in many Vietnamese dishes, among which bún riêu cua is one of the most popular. Here, the bún is served in a broth made by cooking the meat and brains of freshwater crabs with tomato and various spices.

Bún riêu cua with shrimp paste (mắm tôm)
Image credit: @lpta69

Bún riêu cua usually has a light and slightly sour taste, but if you want, you can add in some shrimp paste (mắm tôm) – a traditional Vietnamese condiment made by fermenting shrimps with salt for months. The paste has a pungent smell that’ll probably make you wince, but once added to bún riêu cua, it turns into a mouth-watering aroma and makes the dish that much more flavorful.

Find this dish at:

Bún riêu Hàng Bạc
Address: 11 Hàng Bạc Str., Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6AM-8PM, Daily
Price range: VND25,000-VND45,000 (USD1.08-USD1.94)

Bún ziu gánh cô Yến
Address: 18 Hàng Khoai Str., Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 4.30PM-11.30PM, Daily
Price range: VND25,000-VND45,000 (USD1.08-USD1.94)

2. Bún ốc – snail rice noodles

Bún ốc
Image credit: @gdbaby1881988

Bún ốc is a cousin of bún riêu cua, where the broth is prepared in a similar manner – with tomato, shallots, and various other spices. Instead of crab meat, however, the star of the dish is snails, which are first marinated in water to get rid of all the dirt and slime, then boiled and added to the broth for some satisfyingly chewy bites.

The bún and snails are often accompanied by deep-fried tofu. As the tofu pieces soak in the broth, they make for tasty snacks that fill your mouth with gushes of flavor every time you bite in.

Image credit: @just_pain

Most bún ốc stalls also have other toppings such as beef and giò – a type of Vietnamese meatloaf – that you can order with your serving if you want. Meanwhile, condiments such as chili, shrimp paste, and vinegar are always ready on the table for you to adjust the taste to your liking.

Places to try bún ốc in Hanoi:

Bún ốc sườn Cô Sáu
Address: Multiple outlets. Full list of locations available here
Opening hours: 6.30AM-2PM & 4.30PM-10PM, Daily
Price range: VND20,000-VND50,000 (~USD0.87-~USD2.16)

3. Bún bò Huế – Huế-style beef noodles

Bún bò Huế
Image credit: @reikoyang_gogo

Bún bò Huế – or Huế-style beef noodle soup – is a sumptuous meal featuring slices of well-done beef, meatballs, and a whole piece of pig’s leg. Meanwhile, the beef bone broth has an extremely rich flavor infused with the scent of lemongrass, fish sauce, and other spices.

Image credit: @huoghuong_

As you can probably guess, the dish originates from the central Vietnamese city of Huế, but today, you can find great bún bò Huế at many food stalls in Hanoi. It is usually served with a side dish of fresh herbs such as bean sprouts and basil that contribute a great deal to the taste, so don’t forget to add some to your bowl.

Some recommended bún bò Huế stalls:

Bún bò Huế O Xuân
Address: Multiple outlets. See full list of locations here
Opening hours: 7AM-9.30PM, Daily
Price range: VND45,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.95-USD2.60)

Bún bò Huế O Uông
Address: 546 Lạc Long Quân Str., Tây Hồ District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6AM-2.30PM & 5.30PM-9.30PM, Daily
Price range: VND45,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.95-USD2.60)

4. Mì gà tần – chicken cooked with Chinese herbs

Mì gà tần
Image credit: @thuy.tthuy

At first glance, you might find mì gà tần – chicken cooked with Chinese herbs and served with noodles – rather intimidating with its pitch-black broth, but the soothing aroma of mugwort, red dates, and lotus seeds is enticing. And as you take the first bite into the chicken, you’ll see that it’s tender and sweet.

Image credit: @sam.eating.diary

People believe that the best mì gà tần is made from a breed of small chicken called gà ác, which has black skin and leaner meat. Due to their smaller stature, these gà ác are often cooked while stuffed inside empty beer cans, as the confined space helps infuse the spices deeper into the meat.

Each chicken is cooked in an empty beer can
Image credit: @markjlwang

As the dish is cooked using various Chinese medicinal herbs, it is considered nutritious and thought to have a positive impact on one’s health. Many Vietnamese people eat it while recovering from a cold or an illness to help reinvigorate their body.

Find mì gà tần at:

Gà tần Mai Hương
Address: 12C Hàng Cót Str., Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 9AM-10PM, Daily
Price: VND60,000-VND100,000 (USD2.58-USD4.30)

5. Bún thang – light rice noodles with chicken, egg strips, and more

Bún thang
Image credit: @amy.eatz

As another signature Hanoian noodle soup, bún thang consists of many ingredients including shredded chicken, egg strips, dried prawn, herbs, and more.

Image credit: @rio_hanoi

Despite its mishmash nature, however, the dish has a light flavor thanks to its clear broth made by simmering chicken or pork bones and dried squid. And while bún thang is not too hefty, it is surprisingly filling and can be eaten at any time of the day.

Try bún thang at:

Bún thang Thuận Lý
Address: 33 Hàng Hòm Str., Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7AM-11PM, Daily
Price range: VND35,000-VND40,000 (~USD1.52-USD1.73)

6. Bún cá – rice noodles with deep-fried fish

Image credit: @afood.intown

When you’ve had your fill of beef or chicken noodle soups, try a bowl of bún cá for something different. Here, the bún is served in a broth of tomato and scallions with veggies and deep-fried fish, or . The slightly sour broth is balanced out by the savory fish for a sublime taste that’ll leave you craving for more.

Image credit: @ngoctu1603

Over the years, many new versions of the dish have been invented. Some bún cá stalls add in fried shrimps for some variety, while others complete their own versions with chả cá – fish that is ground and baked into cakes.

Find this dish at:

Bún cá Sâm Cây Si
Address: 5 Trung Yên Alley, Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7AM-5PM, Daily
Price range: VND35,000-VND50,000 (~USD1.52-USD2.17)

Bún cá Hàng Đậu
Address: 42 Hàng Đậu Str., Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7AM-10PM, Daily
Price range: VND35,000-VND50,000 (~USD1.52-USD2.17)

7. Bún mọc dọc mùng – rice noodles with meatballs

Image credit: @knatxu

The name bún mọc dọc mùng tells you everything you need to know about the dish: it is bún served with mọc (meatballs) and dọc mùng – the stalks of a plant you might know as the giant elephant ear plant – in a clear broth of simmered beef or pork bones.

Image credit: @binbolt

The mọc also consists of minced mushrooms and wood ear mushrooms in addition to the meat, so with each bite, you can smell the pleasant aroma of the mushrooms. The taste is completed by the dọc mùng stalks, which have a satisfyingly crunchy texture. You can also order other toppings, most commonly pork ribs or legs, if you want.

Eat bún mọc dọc mùng at:

Bún dọc mùng Bát Đàn
Address: 18 Bát Đàn Str., Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6AM-11PM, Daily
Price range: VND40,000-VND50,000 (~USD1.74-USD2.17)

Bún mọc Hoa
Address: 383 Bạch Mai Str., Hai Bà Trưng District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 5PM-10.30PM, Daily
Price range: VND30,000-VND40,000 (~USD1.30-USD1.74)

8. Miến ngan – cellophane noodles with duck meat

Image adapted from: @axon_edwards

Aside from phở and bún, another type of noodles that Vietnamese people consume regularly is miến – cellophane noodles made from starch. Again, they are used in a wide variety of noodle soups, but one you’ll see a lot in Hanoi is miến nganmiến with duck meat.

A bowl of miến ngan features miến served with boiled duck meat, young bamboo shoots, spring onions, and sometimes mushrooms and duck innards. As both the miến and the broth have a light taste, it’s perfect for when you want something not too heavy but still enough to keep you full.

Bún ngan
Image credit: @sam.eating.diary

The same broth goes well with bún as well, which is why most stalls offering miến ngan also offer bún if you want to have the option.

Miến ngan trộn
Image credit: @vananh.gram

You might also come across a version of miến ngan with no broth called miến ngan trộn. Here, the miến and duck meat are served dry with crushed peanuts, fried onions, and plenty of herbs to bring out the freshness and juiciness of the meat.

Places to try miến ngan:

Bún miến ngan Lý Nam Đế
Address: 65 Lý Nam Đế Str., Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7.30AM-10PM, Daily
Price range: VND40,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.73-USD2.59)

Bún miến ngan 101
Address: 101 Cầu Giấy Str., Cầu Giấy District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7AM-2PM & 4PM-10.30PM, Daily
Price range: VND40,000-VND60,000 (~USD1.73-USD2.59)

9. Miến lươn – cellophane noodles with eel

Miến lươn with fresh eels
Image credit: @thuythach74

Another popular variation of miến is miến lươn miến cooked with eel. Here, the broth is made by simmering the backbones of the eels, giving it a sweet and oceany taste.

Miến lươn with dried eels
Image credit: @conchauthachlam

Eels used in miến lươn are either fresh or dried. The fresh eels are stir-fried with chili, turmeric, and other spices before being added to the broth along with herbs, giving the dish a mouth-watering red color. Meanwhile, dried eels are deep-fried into crunchy delights with rich flavors.

Eel soup served with bánh mì
Image credit: @hunhdoof

Many miến lươn stalls also have eel soup that you eat with bánh mì, or stir-fried miến lươn where the noodles are fried along with the fresh eel and served dry.

Try miến lươn at:

Miến lươn Chân Cầm
Address: 1 Chân Cầm Str., Hoàn Kiếm District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7AM-10PM, Daily
Price range: VND35,000-VND50,000 (~USD1.52-USD2.17)

Lươn O Quế
Address: 4A Alley 102 Ngụy Như Kom Tum Str., Thanh Xuân District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7AM-2PM & 5PM-10PM, Daily
Price range: VND35,000-VND50,000 (~USD1.52-USD2.17)

10. Phở vịt quay – phở with grilled duck meat

Image credit: @phmanhthu_

Phở vịt quay adds a unique twist to traditional Vietnamese phở. Instead of the usual rare or well-done beef, the dish features grilled duck cut into slices and added to the broth.

Image credit: @junn_ran

As mismatched as that might sound, the idea turns out surprisingly well. The duck meat is rich and juicy, while the clear phở broth helps keep the fatness in check so that the taste doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Since it surfaced a couple of years ago, the dish has been sought after by many Hanoian foodies thanks to its innovative idea.

Find phở vịt quay at:

Phở vịt quay Ngọc Phát
Address: 319 Thanh Nhàn Str., Hai Bà Trưng District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6AM-2PM & 4PM-9PM, Daily
Price range: VND35,000-VND45,000 (~USD1.52- USD1.95)

Vietnamese noodle soups to try in Hanoi

Yes, phở is a must-try when you’re in Hanoi, but these 10 other Vietnamese noodle soups are also not to be missed out on if you want to experience Vietnam’s rich food culture to the fullest.

For more things to do and places to eat in Hanoi, check out:

 Cover image adapted from @lpta69, @gdbaby1881988, @thuythach74, and @junn_ran

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