Hanoi is heaven for street food enthusiasts. Every alley has a stall that serves some kind of food, whether it be snacks, a full meal, drinks or dessert. Finding vegan food may be a little tough though, so we’ve explored a few of the many alleyways of Hanoi and come up with this list for you to enjoy.
Banh rat mat is the Vietnamese version of a doughnut, but without the hole in the middle. The cake is made from sticky rice flour, stuffed with steamed mung beans. There is one stall located on Hang Chieu street in the Old Quarter known to sell the best and most authentic version of this cake. You can choose to eat it covered with sugar syrup or honey on top, or even plain if you do not have a sweet tooth – and all of these just for VND$5,000 (USD$0.30)!
Xoi che is a combination of two of Vietnam’s favorite desserts. Xoi is sticky rice, and che is sweet soup. For a small cost of about VND$15,000 (USD$0.80), you will be able to have a magical combination of both at Xoi che Ba Thin. The rice is cooked to perfection and can be mixed with either che ba cot or che hoa cau. Che ba cot is a sweet mixture of sticky rice, brown sugar and ginger. The che hoa cau needs a few more additional ingredients to make: coconut water, mung beans, vanilla extract and pomelo oil. It’s a roller coaster of flavors. For those who prefer less sweetness, go for the che hoa cau. To serve their huge fan base, these guys are open from early morning to late at night.
If you haven’t tried Vietnamese grilled banana, then you haven’t had banana at its best. A favorite Vietnamese snack is covering banana with sticky rice and then grilling over charcoal. That’s not all – thick sweet coconut milk is draped all over it. While the dish originated in the south, there is a food stall on Hang Duong street that makes this dish even more delicious than what is found in Ho Chi Minh City by adding coconut meat and peanuts into the mix.
Vietnamese sweet soups really are a genius invention. At Che Go Tran Phu, you can get your hands on three different kinds: Gang jelly sweet soup, Khuc bach sweet soup, and Aloe vera sweet soup. Grab a tiny stool by the sidewalk and let the sweet soup help you cool off a little.
The food stall at 66B Tran Hung Dao has been selling an all-vegan/vegetarian take on banh mi for a while — stuffed with plenty of healthy greens. Mushrooms, tomatoes, pickles, cucumber, daikon, cilantro, you name it.
Located behind Nghia Tan Secondary School, this stall has been operational for years, constantly attracting a steady crowd of students. While they serve meaty dishes here, the star is their young tofu — a vegan dish. First, sugar and ginger are boiled in water to make the sweet soup. Slices of young tofu are placed in a bowl with the sweet soup added on top along with dried coconut, shredded coconut and peanuts. Other toppings are available such as red beans and mung beans. Avoid the caramel one as it is made from eggs.
After taking a five-year hiatus, this stall just opened again recently, and loyal customers have started flocking back for their daily dose of banh troi. There are three dishes served here: banh troi tau (glutinous rice ball soup), chi ma phu (black sesame sweet soup), and luc tao xa (mung bean sweet soup). These are Chinese-influenced dishes that have been loved by the Vietnamese for hundreds of years. The stall is named after the owner, Pham Bang, who unfortunately passed away. The son has now taken over his father’s business.
Fruit in Vietnam is to die for! Fresh and juicy, you will find plenty of stalls selling fresh fruit cut up into slices with a dipping sauce. What makes one stall stand out from the other? The quality of the dipping sauce! While the typical mixture only involves salt and chili, variations can be made with fish sauce, shrimp sauce, sugar and other ingredients. At this place, guava, sour mango or ambarella fruit is mixed with salt and chili and another secret ingredient.
Ta Hien is the infamous backpacker street of Hanoi, akin to Bui Vien in Ho Chi Minh City or Khao San Road in Bangkok. You will find many different choices of food here in the form of street stalls, mom-and-pop stores, and more upscale restaurants.Head over to the entrance of this street and keep jumping from stall to stall until you end up at the one that looks like it’s selling a tornado on a stick. That’s potato. We can’t go into detail about how it’s made because well, we have no idea. But it really does make for a curious and delicious evening snack. They have three different kinds of dipping sauces, mayonnaise, cheese and chili, and obviously you’ll want to go for the latter. A stick will only cost you VND$15,000 (USD$0.80).
Every morning, if you walk by the T-junction of Hang Bai street and Vong Duc street, you will see a long queue of people waiting for their breakfast order from Xoi xeo chi May. The sticky rice served here is made from three mung bean types prepared in different ways, sticky rice and fried onions. Xoi is a Hanoi favorite breakfast staple and you can find this anywhere, but if anything the queue will indicate that this is the best.
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