Street Food in Hanoi – Part 1

so, eating in hanoi… food in restaurants are much more pricier than the ones available on the streets hence we plonked ourselves on the stools and ate with the locals mostly. ordering involved a lot of finger gestures and pointing, yet somehow we managed. love the clear broth used in most Vietnamese cuisine.

Banh uot nong was one of the “snacks” we had on our first morning in Hanoi. White rice flour sheets, a nuoc mam (fish sauce) dip with sliced cha lua (luncheon meat), sliced chilli and some basil leaves. Next to the mobile vendor sat another woman selling this sweet & savoury concontion of sticky, glutinous mung beans (i think) with some ingredient I couldn’t really identify. or maybe it’s che dau van (haricot bean che)…

our first cups of vietnamese coffee!

our lunch at one of the local places in the Old Quarter. We had com binh dan which is very much like M’sia economy rice scene. Buffet like, with cooked dishes lined up for your selection and some of the stuff we had that afternoon were
1. ba la lot – rolled minced beef, bit of sugar and nuoc mam (fish sauce) all wrapped up in a la lot (pepper/betel) leaf
2. Cha gio (spring rolls) – piping hot bundles of seasoned minced pork, mushroom and translucent noodle
3. canh – vegetable soup. I believe this was made of b0 ngot leaves.
4. egg omelette
5. pickled vegetables (these were definitely an acquired taste for me. too sourish perhaps)
6. tofu/beancurd cooked with tomatoes
7. pork
8. fried Nhộng tam worms
9. chicken gizzards cooked with pineapple

i am not too sure if this the iced version of che thung but you get to pick a your own ingredients ( tapioca, black glass jelly, red beans, corn, coloured jelly etc) and have it topped up with sweetened coconut milk and ice. Quite the answer if you’re in need for a sugar high!
i really like the iced, clear, sweet drink we had on our last day (2nd pic) which came with tapioca beads, lian zhi (lotus seeds) and glass jelly in a fragrant tea-like drink. the “tea” had bits of jasmine flowers floating in it, which truly smelled divine. but the best bit was how it cooled us down after our morning “mission” to scour the streets for more bargains before leaving for KL.

some form of Banh ram, little balls of glutinous rice dough with filling in it. i believe the traditional ones have savoury fillings in them yet this one had sweet palm sugar and a trace of ginger in it.

Pho Bo – beef slices with pho (flat, thin kway teow like noodles), onions and spring onions. the clear broth is normally made by boiling meat (beef/chicken) for hours with different herbs to obtain that rich, sweet taste.

vietnamese dough crullers (yau char kway) which are about half the size of what’s available here in M’sia and brown glass noodles in flavourful broth with pork slices and meatballs (made with seasoned pork with bits of wood fungus/mushroom in it). excellent stuff!

we decided to go local in eating Oc (river snails, not that different to the french escargot) and clams and ordered them boiled. The mollusks are boiled in hot water with ginger and some herb leaves to rid it of the fishy taste. also ordered cua (crabs) which were thrown into the boiling water as soon as they were fished out from the aquarium. talk about freshness! all these were served with a lime & salt dip which truly brought out the taste. truly enjoyed the freshwater snails which still retained the chewiness factor. Also tried Bánh chưng, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves and stuffed with mung beans, fatty pork and black sesame seeds but it was disappointingly bland. definitely craved our m’sian versions more.

Just as soon as we finished our earlier shellfish dinner, we saw another lady selling grilled shellfish and was tempted to try other variants. The star of this place was definitely the salty & spicy dip! With lime, salt, pepper, chilli and a little something else, it was sublime. ordered some sea snails (with spotted shells) and so huyet (blood cockles) and she quickly whips them out of the plastic pails and onto the fire it goes. It only takes her a few minutes to grill them and soon we were happily prising open the cockles and gouging the snail out from its shell. warm and cooked just right, it was quite a delight eating these. and because it was so good, we couldn’t resist to order grilled prawns. that too, was sheer gastronomic heaven.



  1. Joy said

    I’ve heard so many good things about the coffee, and people buying the coffee maker thing for that because it’s so good!

    epicuriousgirl says:it’s really strong! i didn’t get the drip coffee apparatus because i’m lazy. takes far too long to drip, prefer my french press. 😛

  2. xes said

    vietnamese kopi is wee too sweet for me. But my fav would be their lemon soda 😀

    and stop moving website so often la! so hard to keep track! hehe

    epicuriousgirl says:3rd move only! 😛

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