The Hanoitimes - As the capital of Vietnam with more than 1,000 years of history, Hanoi has a zest for food life that’s played out on the streets.
With vendors selling specialty dishes daily on every street corner, you don’t stay hungry for long in Vietnam’s capital city. Street food is well at the heart of this bustling city, but with so much on offer it’s difficult to know what to choose.
Hanoi’s street food is not just about breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s also very much about snacking. Vietnamese traditional food is amazing, but if you want to taste a variety of street food, Hanoi is the best destination. Unlike other cities, Hanoi offers plenty of options for many kinds of foods. Here, people love enjoy the meal in the street corners.
Nem chua nuong. Photo: Ha Phuong
One of the most famous street foods in Hanoi is Nem chua nuong (grilled Vietnamese sausages). The best nem chua nuong can be found inside Au Trieu, one of the most famous alleys in Hanoi. Here, people squeeze into the tiny space, sitting on tiny plastic stools at dimly-lit stalls enjoying nem chua nuong.
Most versions of Vietnamese nem chua can be distinguished by the name of the area it originated from, such as nem chua Thanh Hoa, nem chua Khanh Hoa. Nem chua Thanh Hoa is particularly favoured by northern people. Hanoians, especially youngsters, are fond of this dish, thanks to its lightly sour taste.
The flavor of grilled sausages is a bit sweet, a bit sour and slightly spicy, especially with chili sauce. Not like nem chua ran (fried fermented pork roll) which is dry and in deep golden yellow, nem chua nuong one can keep the original pink color of pork together with an outside sticky layer.
Plates of nem chua nuong are paired with fruits, like green mango, jicama and various types of grilled dried fish or French fries. For more than 15 years, Au Trieu has become famous thanks to Nem Chua Nuong Phuong, named after one of the two stall owners. Nem Chua Nuong Phuong is the one with tiny blue plastic stools.
Nem chua nuong is one of the most famous street foods in Hanoi. Photo: Ha Phuong
Open from around 2:00 pm, nem chua nuong in the tiny alleyway becomes crowded in the evening, until it closes around midnight. Besides Hanoians gathering for snacks and chitchat, you’ll notice a lot of foreign tourists sitting on tiny chairs tasting this special local food. Nem Phuong on Au Trieu alley is open from 2:00 pm until midnight. Each plate of nem chua with fruits, lime tea is VND150,000 (US$6.4).