Photo Story: A Week of Divine Food in Hanoi

By Mark Wiens 40 Comments

Don’t worry, this isn’t all I ate!  I stuffed in quite a bit more during my brief stay in Hanoi, yet I discovered that photographing food in Vietnam can be a little more challenging than other places.

Sitting on 6 inch stools on the roadside, balancing drinks and dishes on tiny or nonexistent tables, extremely uneven light coming from makeshift roofing, people shoving, and a slight concern of being hit by motorbikes all add to the exciting challenge!  Here are a few things I ate while in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Pho Ga – Vietnamese rice noodle soup with chicken

Vietnames chicken noodles
Pho Ga Noodles

Pho Bo – Beef noodle soup

Vietnamese beef noodle soup
Pho Bo Noodles

Pho Xao Bo – Rice noodles fried with beef and vegetables

Pho Xao Bo
Pho Xao Bo

Xa Lach Tron Dao Dam – Vietnamese beef and lettuce salad

Xa Lach Tron Dao Dam
Xa Lach Tron Dao Dam

Banh Goi – Vietnamese empanada dumplings (left), Nem Cua Be – Vietnamese fried crab spring rolls (right)

Hanoi spring rolls
Banh Goi (left), Nem Cua Be (right)

Nom Chim Quay – Pigeon and papaya salad

Nom Chim Quay
Nom Chim Quay

Nom Bo Kho – Beef and papaya salad

Nom Bo Kho
Nom Bo Kho

Rice and buffet

Vietnamese Rice and Dishes
Vietnamese Rice Buffet

Goi Cuon – Vietnamese fresh summer rolls

Goi Cuon
Goi Cuon

Banh My Doner Kebab – Baguette stuffed with kebab meat and vegetables

Vietnamese Doner Kebab
Banh My Kebab

Bun Cha – Barbecue meat soup, rice noodles, and herbs

Bun Cha
Bun Cha

Mien Xao Luon – Stir fried cassava noodles with fried eels

mien-xao-luon
Mien Xao Luon

Xoi Ga / Xoi Thit Kho Tau – Sticky rice with chicken and with glazed pork

Xoi Ga, Xoi Thit Kho Tau
Xoi Ga (left), Xoi Thit Kho Tau (right)

Xoi Xeo Ga – Sticky rice, corn, bean paste, chicken, fried onions, sauce!

Xoi Xeo Ga
Xoi Xeo Ga

I have to give my vote to Hanoi’s Bun Cha with Xoi Xeo coming in next!

I know I missed a few of Hanoi’s dishes, if only I had had a bit more time…

Like Vietnamese food too?  What are your favorite Vietnamese / Hanoian dishes?



40 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Catherine – Red Door Ponderings

    2 weeks ago

    Nem Cua Be are our absolute favourites. Both times we have been to Hanoi we have managed to track down an amazing road side place that is only open for lunch. Beautiful fresh Nem Cua Be and piles and piles of fresh herbs/lettuce. Unbeatable.

  • Madeline Parrish

    3 months ago

    I like to refer to nem cua be as little crab pillows. They are so delicious at anytime of day!

  • vynhu

    4 months ago

    Next time, I hope you will visit Hanoi again, and you should try some famous Hanoian food like: Bún thang (rice vermicelli and chicken, fried egg, dried white radish and pork), Bún giả cầy (rice vermicelli and pork legs), Bún riêu Hanoi (Bun rieu Hanoian style) , Bún ốc Tây Hồ (Bun and snail Tay Ho), Bún cá (Bun and fish), Bánh đa cá (flat dried rice noodle and fish), Bánh đa cua (flat dried rice noodle and little crab), Bún mọc (Bun and pork legs, vegatables…), Bánh tôm Tây Hồ (fried shirmp cake), Bánh rán mặn (fried wheat cake with miced pork meat, vermicelli), Miến lươn (vermicelli and swamp eel), Bún hải sản bề bề (Bun and seafood), Phở cuốn (flat rice noodles roll beef and lettuce), Phở chiên phồng Ngũ Xã (fried rice noodle and beef, bok choy), Lẩu soup, Ốc luộc (Boiling Snail), Cháo trai, Cháo gà, Cháo Sườn…

    • Mark Wiens

      4 months ago

      Thank you very much for all your tips. I would love to visit Hanoi again in the future!

  • Hanoi street foods

    3 years ago

    Chicken noodle is best one in Hanoi

  • Gerard ~ GQ trippin

    4 years ago

    I heard about the banh mi Doner Kebab, but never got a chance to try it. How was it?

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Gerard, I loved it! Hope you can try it soon!

      • Chau Nguyen

        4 years ago

        Thanks, Mark. It’s about my country, lol.

  • Karthik

    4 years ago

    Yes, Hanoi makes the some on the best Pho in Vietnam and street food scene is amazing. Also, never forget to savour the Pho Cuon spring rolls.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Karthik, yes those spring rolls are wonderful!

  • Dong Y

    4 years ago

    Vietnam’s Pho is the best. Try it if u r in hanoi. U will never forget its taste

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Dong, yes a I had some delicious pho in Hanoi, I really like it!

  • mimi

    5 years ago

    well it seems like asian foods r really scary to western ppl :'(

  • Sophie

    6 years ago

    Ooh, how delicious it all looks. Great photos.

  • wandering educators

    6 years ago

    i am now officially super hungry. gorgeous photos!

  • ayngelina

    6 years ago

    Bun cha is one of my favorites but it all looks so fresh.

  • Michael Hodson

    6 years ago

    You had me at Vietnam and food. Such a yummy country. Thanks for the photos!

  • Nancie

    6 years ago

    Great shots! Yes, eating and taking photos in Hanoi can be a challenge 🙂 Love pho!

    Could not do the pigeon dish………just the thought makes me gag 🙂

  • Railway Reservation

    7 years ago

    Wow lovely dishes Here are a few things I Want eat while in Hanoi, Vietnam.

  • Mark Wiens

    7 years ago

    @Jetpacker: Haha, it was a little bone filled, but the flavor was excellent!

    @Riku: Yes man, the fresh herbs and mild soups definitely added a unique natural flavor. I didn’t make it to the dog street in the end, sort of ran out of time, and my girlfriend wasn’t too thrilled! Next time!

    @Digital Nomadism: Yah, sucked on the whole thing and spit out the bones! You have got to try it when you are in Hanoi!

  • Digital Nomadism

    7 years ago

    Also not sure about that Pigeon head!! Did you crunch down the whole thing or is it for show?

    • Chau Nguyen

      4 years ago

      Just for show, man. I’d rather take it out.

  • Riku S

    7 years ago

    haha, ”comment luv” 😀 nice one

  • Riku S

    7 years ago

    Wow dude, awesome pics. Rice noodle soup w chicken/beef/pork + some liver in it was propably the best dish that I ate in Vietnam. Döner kebab and fresh summer rolls were really tasty too.
    Btw did you notice that those Vietnamise soups had that unique taste of freshness on them? I mean if you compare to ones you get in Thailand or Laos.

    And did you go to that ”dog street”?

    • Chau Nguyen

      4 years ago

      There’s nowhere noodle is tasted like in Hanoi, all are the modifications. “Dog street”? You mean dog meat on the street ? Sometimes you can find it in some markets but not regular. You have to go to some restaurant to try it.

  • The Jetpacker

    7 years ago

    Everything looks awesome… except the pigeon… with the HEAD in the dish. I’ve never walked through a city and went, “Hmm… that pigeon looks edible.” How was it?

    • Chau Nguyen

      4 years ago

      It was nothing, lol. Just for decorating. I don’t eat that stuff but other is enough to say extremely great. Vote for Beef Noodle, Bun Cha, Beef Salad … and everything, lol.