Hanoi Vietnam – Full Travel and Food Review


We have been to Hanoi Vietnam before, precisely twice to Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon and famous for the pivotal role it played in the Vietnam War, and once to Hanoi Vietnam in the past two years. Both times we had a great stay and we had discovered the beauty and peculiarities of the Vietnamese kitchen together with the unique and picturesque realities of the Vietnamese lifestyle.

Reason why we were both very exited for our first trip to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam located in the far north of the country, known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences

Hanoi or Vietnamese: Hà Nội, is the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city by population. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts and 7 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. The population in 2015 was estimated at 7.7 million people. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Huế, the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802–1945), but Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam, and it became the capital of a reunified Vietnam in 1976, after the North’s victory in the Vietnam War.

The city lies on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is 1,760 km (1,090 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City and 120 km (75 mi) west of Hai Phong city.

October 2010 officially marked 1000 years since the establishment of the city. The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural is a 4 km ceramic mosaic mural created to mark the occasion.

Hanoi During Nguyễn Dynasty & French Colonial Period

Ha Noi, New Year’s Day, 1973

In 1802, when the Nguyễn Dynasty was established and moved the capital to Huế, the old name Thăng Long was modified to become Thăng Long (昇隆, “Soaring Dragon”). In 1831, the Nguyễn emperor Minh Mạng renamed it Hà Nội (河内, “Between Rivers” or “River Interior”). Hanoi was occupied by the French in 1873 and passed to them ten years later. As Hanoï, it was located in the protectorate of Tonkin became the capital of French Indochina after 1887.

Hanoi During two wars

The city was occupied by the Imperial Japanese in 1940 and liberated in 1945, when it briefly became the seat of the Viet Minh government after Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam. However, the French returned and reoccupied the city in 1946. After nine years of fighting between the French and Viet Minh forces, Hanoi became the capital of an independent North Vietnam in 1954.

During the Vietnam War, Hanoi’s transportation facilities were disrupted by the bombing of bridges and railways. These were all, however, promptly repaired. Following the end of the war, Hanoi became the capital of a reunified Vietnam when North and South Vietnam were reunited on 2 July 1976.

Modern Hanoi

On 29 May 2008, it was decided that Hà Tây Province, Vĩnh Phúc Province’s Mê Linh District and 4 communes of Lương Sơn District, Hòa Bình Province be merged into the metropolitan area of Hanoi from 1 August 2008. Hanoi’s total area then increased to 334,470 hectares in 29 subdivisions with the new population being 6,232,940. effectively tripling its size. The Hanoi Capital Region (Vùng Thủ đô Hà Nội), a metropolitan area covering Hanoi and 6 surrounding provinces under its administration, will have an area of 13,436 square kilometres (5,188 sq mi) with 15 million people by 2020.

Hanoi Vietnam has experienced a rapid construction boom recently. Skyscrapers, popping up in new urban areas, have dramatically changed the cityscape and have formed a modern skyline outside the old city.

In 2015, Hanoi Vietnam is ranked # 39 by Emporis in the list of world cities with most skyscrapers over 100 m; its two tallest buildings are Hanoi Landmark 72 Tower (336 m, tallest in Vietnam and second tallest in south-east Asia after Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers) and Hanoi Lotte Center (272 m, also, second tallest in Vietnam).

Hotel de l’Opera MGallery Sofitel Hanoi Vietnam



Vietnamese Cuisine

Vietnamese cuisine encompasses the foods and beverages of Vietnam, and features a combination of five fundamental tastes (Vietnamese: ngũ vị) in the overall meal. Each Vietnamese dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements.

Common ingredients include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird’s eye chili, lime, and Thai basil leaves.

Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of dairy and oil, complementary textures, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.

As the people respect balance rules, Vietnamese cuisine always has the combination between fragrant, taste, and colour. Vietnamese cuisine always has five elements which are known for its balance in each of these features.

Many Vietnamese dishes include five fundamental taste senses (ngũ vị): spicy (metal), sour (wood), bitter (fire), salty (water) and sweet (earth), corresponding to five organs (ngũ tạng): gall bladder, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, and urinary bladder.

Vietnamese dishes also include five types of nutrients (ngũ chất): powder, water or liquid, mineral elements, protein and fat. Vietnamese cooks try to have five colours (ngũ sắc): white (metal), green (wood), yellow (earth), red (fire) and black (water) in their dishes.

Dishes in Hanoi Vietnam appeal to gastronomes via the five senses (năm giác quan): food arrangement attracts eyes, sounds come from crisp ingredients, five spices are detected on the tongue, aromatic ingredients coming mainly from herbs stimulate the nose, and some meals, especially finger food, can be perceived by touching. Whether complex or simple, Vietnamese dishes also offer satisfying mouthfeel during the dining enjoyment.

Hanoi Cuisine

Gone through thousands of years and filtered the most sophisticated and unique features of nature in the North of Vietnam, Hanoi’s cuisine has become a special culture that attracts any travellers once they first come to Hanoi.

It can be said that there is nowhere else in this S-shaped country but Hanoi that cuisine has become the topic of all time for well-known writers and journalists. It is also in Hanoi that cuisine is considered as an art from cooking to enjoying stages.

Recently, the fact that Hanoi Vietnam honoured to receive Asian Cuisines Award for three dishes of Pho, Bun Thang (vermicelli with chicken soup) and Bun Cha (rice noodles with barbecued pork) has satisfied foodies of the capital.

The most significant characteristics of Hanoi Vietnam cuisine culture are the sophistication and deliciousness. Each food carries each special taste. Hanoi people have the habit of enjoying foods according to the season in a year and the time in a day.

In autumn, Hanoi Vietnam people are excited to celebrate the crop of Com (green rice flakes) in Vong village. Com is listed as a favourite speciality of Hanoi thanks to its subtle scent of young glutinous rice packed in gemstone-green lotus leaf. In cold winter, it is so great to enjoy the hot crunchy fried shrimp cakes (Banh Tom) by the West Lake (Ho Tay). Trying the sweet taste of shrimp and chatting about old stories is really a great joy in such cold days of winter.

Hanoi Street Food Tour

Hanoi Street Food Tour Guides You to Eat Delicious and Safe Street Foods.
Some of you love to try street food when visiting a new place. Actually, you can also do it when you are visiting Hanoi. In fact, Hanoi has several delicious street foods. The key is that you should know the exact location to find those delicious street foods. Instead of exploring the street food by yourself, it is better to do it in a team. Moreover, you will be guided by a professional so you can make sure that the street food you eat is not only delicious but also safe.


Hanoi Vietnam Noodles Soups

Phở or pho (pronounced variously as /fɜːr//fʌ/, or /f/; is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily made with either beef or chicken Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam, and was popularized throughout the rest of the world by refugees after the Vietnam War. Because pho’s origins are poorly documented, there is significant disagreement over the cultural influences that led to its development in Vietnam, as well as the etymology of the word itself. The Hanoi and Saigon styles of pho differ by noodle width, sweetness of broth, and choice of herbs. A related noodle soup, bún bò Huế, is associated with Huế in central Vietnam.

Bún chả  is a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodle, which is thought to have originated from Hanoi Vietnam. Bún chả is served with grilled fatty pork (chả) over a plate of white rice noodle (bún) and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce. The dish was described in 1959 by Vietnamese food writer Vu Bang (1913–1984) who described Hanoi as a town “transfixed by bún chả.” Hanoi’s first bún chả restaurant was on Gia Ngư, Hoàn Kiếm District, in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.


Vietnamese BBQ Hanoi Vietnam

The concept is basically this: sit on tiny stools at just-as-tiny tables with grill pans in the middle, and cook your own meat. For the meat, choose from beef, pork or goat udders (or a combination of beef and udders). Unsurprisingly, there is no vegetarian option.

Once that decision’s made, select the size you want, based on the number of people in your party, then order extras such as bread, chips and drinks. Note that a tub of margarine is charged as extra, just use the free oil if you’re watching your budget.

Helpful young staff, all dressed in bright yellow shirts bearing the name of the establishment in red, will light the block of paraffin under the foil-lined grill pan and provide a plastic bottle full of oil. Squirt the oil onto the pan and scoop on the meat and veg with the supplied chopsticks. Griddle until cooked, dip in a mixture of salt, kumquat and chilli, squeeze the kumquat on yourself, and eat. The staff will regularly replace the foil to prevent sticking.

The quality of the beef at Bo Nuong Xuan Xuan in Hanoi Vietnam is better than we’ve tried elsewhere and it comes with just enough onions, spring onions, aubergine and tomato to add some variety. Portions of meat look large but they are easy to work your way through as the speed of eating is somewhat limited by the need to cook it yourself.


Banh Mi Hanoi Vietnam

Bánh mì  is the Vietnamese word for bread. Bread, or more specifically the baguette, was introduced by the French during the colonial period in Vietnam. The bread most commonly found in Vietnamese cuisine is a single-serving baguette that is usually airier than its Western counterpart, with a thinner crust. Unlike the traditional French baguette, the Vietnamese baguette is made with rice flour along with wheat flour.

In Vietnamese cuisine, bánh mì is typically made into a sandwich known as bánh mì kẹp or bánh mì Sài Gòn, eaten alongside dishes such as bò kho (a beef stew) and phá lấu, or dipped in condensed milk (see Sữa Ông Thọ). In the Western Hemisphere, especially in areas with substantial Vietnamese expatriate communities, the term bánh mì is used as a synecdoche for the sandwich, which is sold in Vietnamese bakeries.

The Vietnamese sandwich, sometimes called a “bánh mì sandwich”, is a product of French colonialism in Indochina, combining ingredients from the French (baguettes, pâté, jalapeño, and mayonnaise) with native Vietnamese ingredients, such as coriander, cucumber, and pickled carrots and daikon. By the 1950s, it was sold in its modern form by street vendors in Vietnam. Vietnamese communities in France began selling it in the 1950s as well.

bánh mì sandwich typically consists of one or more meats, accompanying vegetables, and condiments. Common fillings include steamed, pan-roasted or oven-roasted seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, grilled pork, grilled pork patties, spreadable pork liver pâté, pork floss, grilled chicken, chicken floss, canned sardinesin tomato sauce, soft pork meatballs in tomato sauce (xíu mại), head cheese, fried eggs, mock duck, and tofu. Accompanying vegetables typically include fresh cucumber slices, cilantro (leaves of the coriander plant) and pickled carrots and white radishes in shredded form. Common condiments include spicy chili sauce, sliced chilis, Maggi seasoning sauce, mayonnaise, and cheese.


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