Street food in Vietnam is notoriously varied, inexpensive, and accessible throughout the country, particular via street venders and market stalls. The baseline is a combination of a long history of evolving Southeast Asian culinary techniques and traditions and the happier impacts of a long history of French colonization.
The two staples of street food in Hanoi are pho (or soup), and spring rolls (cha gio). The former tends to involve a deliciously savory, clear broth, some combination of seafood, pork, chicken, and beef (pho bo, my personal favorite), onions, and a garnish of fresh veggies, hot peppers (watch out for these!), and citrus fruit. Most Westerners are increasingly familiar with pho, but if you make a habit of sampling various varieties in its country of origin, you’ll likely develop a relationship to this dish that will last you a lifetime.
Cha gio is also widely available in the US, but don’t let that stop you from gobbling up various samples of the various takes you’ll happen upon while traveling in Vietnam. The basic version of this treat involves a crispy, fried exterior filled with minced pork, shrimp, crab meat, shredded carrots, and mung noodles.
As previously mentioned, street food is widely available in virtually any populated part of the Vietnam, but Hanoi (Vietnam’s second-largest city) is literally bursting at the seams with the stuff. If you plan to visit Hanoi, seek out the streets surrounding Dong Xuan Market (among countless other places) to sample the aforementioned dishes, as well as sausages, fresh fruit, donuts, and other pastries. And don’t forget to wash it all down with glass of wine, or a cup of rich, sweet coffee or tea.
Take a tour of Hanoi’s best street food.