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Tasting Off The Beaten Path In Hanoi

As the capital of Vietnam and one of the most exciting cities in Southeast Asia, Hanoi has been the center of attention for travelers and foodies alike. The city is home to a diverse range of culinary delights, from traditional street food to high-end restaurants. But what if you’re looking to try something a little different? Welcome to “off the beaten path” Hanoi, where locals go for the best flavors, freshest ingredients, and most exciting experiences. Here’s your guide to tasting off the beaten path in Hanoi.

Exploring the Local Markets

The best way to get to know a city is to explore its markets. Hanoi is no exception. From the sprawling Dong Xuan market to the smaller neighborhood markets, you can find everything from fresh produce to unique souvenirs. Hanoi’s markets are also a great place to sample some of the city’s street food. Make sure to try the banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), pho (rice noodle soup), and banh xeo (Vietnamese crepe).

But there’s more to the markets than just food. You can also find a variety of items from local artisans, from handmade jewelry to traditional clothing. It’s a great way to get a taste of the local culture and to support the local economy.

If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, you can join a local food tour and learn about the city’s markets and cuisine. A knowledgeable guide will be able to show you the best spots and tell you the stories behind the food.

Hidden Cafes and Eateries

Hanoi is full of hidden gems, including cafes and eateries tucked away in small alleyways and backstreets. These local spots serve up authentic dishes that you won’t find in the tourist-heavy restaurants. Start your culinary adventure at Cafe Thang Loi, a cozy spot serving up traditional Vietnamese dishes like pho and bun cha.

Another great spot is Nha Hang Banh Cuon, a local favorite for its delicious banh cuon (steamed rice rolls). The restaurant is tucked away in a small alley, but its fragrant aromas will draw you in. Don’t forget to try the homemade pho chay (vegetarian noodles) and the banh tom (shrimp fritters).

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If you’re looking for a more modern experience, head to KOTO cafe. This trendy spot serves up international dishes with a Vietnamese twist. The menu features dishes like beef pho tacos, banh mi burgers, and even vegan options. The cafe also runs a training program for disadvantaged youth, so you can enjoy a delicious meal while also supporting a great cause.

Traditional Street Food

One of the best places to sample Hanoi’s local food is on the streets. From the bustling Old Quarter to the quieter side streets, you can find all sorts of delicious snacks. Don’t miss the banh bao (steamed buns), bun cha (grilled pork with noodles), and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich).

For a truly unique experience, head to the night markets. These lively markets come alive after dark, with vendors selling all sorts of street food. Try the banh goi (fried dumplings), nem ran (fried spring rolls), and com tam (broken rice). The markets are a great place to sample local delicacies and mingle with the locals.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try some of Hanoi’s more unusual street snacks. The city is home to a variety of unusual dishes, from fried silkworms to grilled snakes. While these dishes may not be to everyone’s taste, they are definitely a unique experience and a great way to explore the city’s culture.

Local Craft Breweries

Hanoi is home to a growing number of craft breweries, offering a great alternative to the city’s ubiquitous bia hoi (draft beer). These local spots serve up unique brews, from pale ales to porters.

One of the best craft breweries in Hanoi is Heart of Darkness. The brewery has a rotating selection of beers, from IPAs to stouts. The taproom also offers a variety of food, from pizza to burgers.

Another great spot is Platinum Beer. This microbrewery serves up a variety of craft beers, from lagers to sours. The taproom also has a full menu of food, from tacos to sandwiches.

If you’re looking for something a little more unusual, head to Pasteur Street Brewing Co. This craft brewery is best known for its unique Asian-inspired beers, from lychee ales to jasmine IPAs. The taproom also serves up a range of Vietnamese dishes, from summer rolls to pho.

Unique Drinks and Cocktails

Hanoi is home to a variety of unique drinks and cocktails. From traditional Vietnamese coffee to craft cocktails, there’s something to suit every taste. If you’re looking for a traditional experience, try the ca phe trung (Vietnamese egg coffee) or the nuoc mia (sugarcane juice).

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If you’re feeling adventurous, head to one of the city’s craft cocktail bars. These local spots serve up unique concoctions, from herb-infused martinis to banana daiquiris. Make sure to try the Gin & Jam, a unique take on the classic gin and tonic.

For a truly unique experience, you can also try a bia hoi (draft beer). This light, refreshing beer is served up in small bars on the side of the street. It’s a great way to cool down after a long day of exploring the city.

Dining Out in Hanoi

Hanoi has a variety of restaurants offering up everything from high-end cuisine to traditional street food. For a luxurious experience, head to Wild Rice. This modern Vietnamese restaurant serves up dishes like braised pork belly and grilled squid, all made with locally sourced ingredients. For a more traditional experience, try Quan An Ngon. This popular eatery serves up a variety of Vietnamese dishes, from pho to bun cha.

If you’re looking for something a little more unusual, head to Pizza 4P’s. This hip spot serves up wood-fired pizzas with unique Vietnamese toppings, from beef pho to banh mi. The restaurant also has a great selection of craft beers and cocktails.

Another great spot is the Green Tangerine. This fine-dining restaurant serves up traditional Vietnamese dishes with a modern twist. The menu features dishes like dumplings with lemongrass and chili and seared scallops with garlic and tamarind. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list, perfect for a special night out.

Unique Experiences

Hanoi is a great city for unique experiences. One of the best is the Hanoi Cooking Centre. This cooking school offers a range of classes, from street food to high-end cuisine. You’ll learn how to make traditional dishes like pho, spring rolls, and banh mi. The classes also include a visit to the local markets, so you can learn about the ingredients used in Vietnamese cooking.

For a truly unique experience, you can also join a food tour. These tours will take you to some of the city’s best restaurants and street food spots. You’ll also get to meet the locals and learn about the city’s culture and cuisine.

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Finally, you can also visit the Hanoi Beer Tunnel. This unique spot is home to a variety of craft beers and ciders. The tunnel also offers food and live music, making it a great spot to spend an evening.

A Unique Culinary Adventure

Tasting off the beaten path in Hanoi is a unique culinary adventure. From the bustling markets and hidden cafes to the craft breweries and unique drinks, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious dinner or a casual snack, Hanoi has it all. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore the city’s unique flavors.


Hanoi is a vibrant and exciting city full of unique culinary delights. From the bustling markets to the hidden cafes and eateries, there’s something for everyone. You can sample traditional dishes like pho and banh mi, or venture out to the craft breweries and cocktail bars. Whatever your tastes, you’re sure to find something to tantalize your taste buds. So get out there and explore the city’s unique flavors.