Hanoi Street Food

By Catherine Ling - Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Street food in Vietnam is a thriving part of the country’s culture and way of life. Cheap and tasty fare abound on sidewalks filled with character and colour. Their street side culinary offerings range from former colonial French inspired fare (bahn mi sandwich), to Chinese and Thai style beef noodle, all with proud Vietnamese accents. Very little is left to the imagination as to how these are offered… very little is needed indeed.


This culture needs to be preserved, professionalised (who wants food cooked with suspicious water) and new possibilities in the market need be identified for players in this industry. This is something we celebrate at the World Street Food Congress in June this year.


Enterprising young girl peddling fried doughsticks and donuts along the streets.


Xucxich (sausages), bahn mi (pork baguette), trungngaicuai (herbed omelette) by the river.


A woman after a satisfying Bun Moc (pork and mushroom noodle soup).


Many street food vendors are women, often with children in tow.


Even cafes are popularly street affairs – all you need are small plastic stools, beverages and snacks.


Women making Banh Cuon, which is like steamed rice rolls with pork, chicken or shrimp filling.


Mobile peddlers offering all manner of leaf-wrapped foodie goodies.


Many street food vendors operate late into the night, like this one offering Bun Thang (a Northern style rice vermicelli soup with steamed chicken, pork and egg).


Grilling Bun Cha (caramelised char-grilled pork) by the roadside – the captivating BBQ aroma will draw hungry diners.


There’s literally no stopping the kinds of food you can have on the street – even a full-fledged seafood feast can be yours for the choosing.


The Vietnamese have gotten really good at making French bread because of their colonial influence in history.


For less than US$0.50, you can have a platter of Bun Dau Mam Tom – fried tofu with vermicelli and fermented shrimp dip – probably Vietnam’s answer to stinky tofu.


Pickled fruit and dried fruit of all kinds are also very popular roadside treats.


So little is needed for street dining in Vietnam. Often, you don’t even need tables.


Of course, everyone loves to hunker down for some good pho.