Vietnamese sticky rice (Xôi xéo)
Amazingly attractive with its bright yellow color, “xôi xéo” is sold in every wet market or may even be right on the street corner early in the morning. The seller keeps “xôi xéo” warm in a bamboo basket which is carried on the shoulder or fastened behind the bicycle. “Xôi xéo” is a special dish for breakfast, especially with students and manual laborers thanks to its rather low price, its fulfillment and palatability.
“Xôi xéo” is regarded as one of the hardest-to-cook “xôi”, despite the fact that it is concocted from ingredients which are very popular and familiar with Vietnamese. The ingredients for making “xôi xéo” remain the same everywhere: glutinous rice, turmeric powder, mung bean, shallot, and some liquid fat.
The turmeric powder, mixed with water and glutinous rice, will create the natural yellow for the dish. Mung bean, after being carefully chosen and peeled; is steamed, pummeled and then rolled into small balls. Travellers often are amazed at the sight of the seller skillfully smashing those balls inside their palms, covering the base with yellow thin layers of bean.
Traditional rice rolled cake (Bánh Cuốn)
Bánh cuốn is made from a thin, wide sheet of steamed fermented rice batter filled with a mixture of cooked seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and minced shallots. Sides for this dish usually consist of chả lụa (Vietnamese pork sausage), sliced cucumber, and bean sprouts, with the dipping sauce which is fish sauce called nước chấm. Sometimes, a drop of cà cuống, which is the essence of a giant water bug, Lethocerus indicus, is added to the nước chấm for extra flavor, although this ingredient is scarce and quite expensive.
The rice sheet in bánh cuốn is extremely thin and delicate. It is made by steaming a slightly fermented rice batter on a cloth that is stretched over a pot of boiling water. It is a light dish, and is generally eaten for breakfast everywhere in Vietnam. A different version of bánh cuốn, called bánh cuốn Thanh Trì and bánh cuốn làng Kênh, may be found in Thanh Trì, a southern district of Hanoi and Kênh village of Nam Định, an ancient village in the centre of Nam Định city.Bánh cuốn Thanh Trì or Bánh cuốn làng Kênh are not rolls, but just rice sheets eaten with chả lụa, fried shallots, or prawns.
Noodle soup (Phở)
This universally famous food is best enjoyed in Hanoi, where it was “invented” in the early 20th century. Phở is omnipresent in Hanoi, appearing anywhere from street vendors to high end restaurant chain Phở 24. Some is served with chicken and some with beef.
Each type of meat entails a variety of sub-dish, using from beef tenderloin to beef brisket, chicken wing to chicken thigh. The tip is, look for the place where locals gather the most and you know where you should order and sit down.
Phở Bát Đàn is a famous local restaurants famous for its pho bo (beef rice noodle soup). Located in the Old quarter “jungle”, the store easily stands out for the long line of people waiting to be served. You are highly recommended to join the local, line up for the pho bowl and bring it to a selected table to eat.
Vermicelli in chicken soup (Bún Thang)
With nearly 20 ingredients, Bún Thang” (vermicelli in chicken soup) is the dish that the cooking method requires the scrupulousness, care and sophistication of the cook, and also is one of the typical dishes containing innumerable quintessence of Hanoi’s culinary.
Vermicelli is put in large bowls, ornamented on the surface with thin omelet, lean meat pie, chipped pork… then poured with hot consommé. Some recommended addresses: Hàng Hành str, Cầu Gỗ str, 11 Hàng Hòm str, 11 Hạ Hồi str.
Hanoi Cold snail noodle (Bún Ốc)
Bún Ốc Snail noodle Soup is a fairly best Vietnamese food that can be found everywhere in Vietnam and seems rather simple to cook. This dish should actually be prepared by skilled cooks who know very well how to create a harmonious combination of many spices. A delicious hot bowl of snail noodle eaten on a cold day may well be considered the quintessence of Hanoi cuisine.
Hanoi has two areas that are famous for making delicious noodle, namely Phú Đô and Tứ Kỳ. These 2 villages roll out the noodle that is deliciously white, smooth and flexible. Hanoi is also famous for 2 areas that offer the best snail noodle, namely Tây Hồ and some villages in Thanh Trì district such as Trần Phú and Pháp Vân.