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Street Food in Hanoi

Photographer: Thai Linh Luong


Since ancient times, cooking is an art for the people of Hanoi. Traditions mixed with new fusions and contemporary food trends have merged into a unique culture, attracting tourists to Vietnamese cities, particularly Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, formerly Saigon.


Each meal in Hanoi has its own distinctive value bringing flavor, beauty and tradition to an art of cuisine. Locals and tourists enjoy inexpensive and varied street food, sitting on small, low stools surrounded by the enticing smells of fresh ingredients and usually a big hot pot of bouillon. The most popular meals are pho (noodle soup), nem (spring rolls), banh goi (pillow shaped cake), banh cuon (steamed rice cake), and chan ga nuong (grilled chicken feet).


Pho is a noodle soup served with chicken or beef and other condiments such as lemon, chili, fish sauce and pepper. This meal is served both at restaurants and at home at any time during the day. Bun Cha (grilled pork noodle soup) is also a very popular dish. A delicious Bun cha depends on the cook's experience and particularly his secret of making the sauce.


For drinking, side road cafés are becoming the most popular gathering places nowadays, especially for teenagers. People usually sit on the pavement on small stools, with no tables to drink coffee or tea, and chat with others for hours.


This street food culture arose along with the development of the Vietnamese capital and makes it today one of the great culinary places of Asia.