Fried cakes, fried bun – No. 6 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh District
Fried cakes are a good choice for cool autumn days. There are two types of cakes, sweet fried and savoury glutinous rice cakes. The sweet ones often have bean paste inside and the outer coating is covered with sugar or honey. Cost is between 2 000 and 3 000 VND. A savoury glutinous rice cake is about 7000 VND. They contain meat, vermicelli, wood ear mushrooms and are served with sauce. Fried buns are also very popular with young people and are enjoyed with soy milk or iced tea. A fried bun usually costs 10 000 VND.
Chinese-style stuffed sticky rice ball sweet soup – To Hoang De Alley, Hai Ba Trung
On cold days, nothing is better than sitting in a corner of a small street, holding a hot bowl of Chinese-style, stuffed sticky rice ball sweet soup. Breathing in the aroma of ginger and rubbing your hands on the bowl brings instant warmth. Although it is not a pure Vietnamese dish, the soup is popular when the first monsoon comes into the city. In Hanoi, there are many good places to eat this dish including Bach Mai, Hang Dieu, and the Hang Can area. But, De To Hoang street is where you’ll find the most famous spot. Here, the rice balls come with a variety of stuffings and a bowl of soup costs 15 000 VND.
Tofu pudding – Nghia Tan market, Cau Giay district
Tofu pudding, also known as silken tofu with ginger syrup, is a “countryside” dish that is popular in Hanoi both in summer and winter. In winter, a hot bowl of Taiwanese tofu dessert is carefully crafted. The soybeans are squeezed, pressed and filtered to produce a soft, silky substance called braised beans. After cutting the braised beans into bowls, sugar water with jasmine or grapefruit flower petals is added. This dessert can be found in almost any market. The price for a bowl is 6 000 to 10 000 VND.
Grilled bread with salt and chilli sauce – No. 5 Alley 336 Nguyen Trai
A favorite snack of the Saigonese, this snack has become a favorite dish in Hanoi. It is cooked with onion, green onion sauce, pork, and other sauces. Ingredients such as chilli peppers and onions are marinated by Mrs Toan, the restaurant’s owner. Her handmade Vietnamese sausage and shrimps make her dishes extremely attractive. Located in the middle of Nguyen Tuan Street and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities at No. 5 Lane 336 Nguyen Trai. Hours are usually from morning to 9 p.m. The price for a delicious grilled bread with chilli sauce is 15 000 VND to 18000 VND.
Grilled corn and sweet potato – Chua Lang street
Grilled corn and sweet are closely connected to Vietnam’s Northen people. Sitting beside a crackling charcoal stove, waiting for a bundle of corn and potatoes to cook can take the edge off winter’s chill. On cold days in Hanoi, they appear for around 7 000 VND each. The vendors often have trolleys, or are on the sidewalk, and are easy to find.
Banh Duc – Le Ngoc Han Street
This dish is very soft and smooth, with an attractive smell of coriander. It comes with delicious fish sauce, has the sweet taste of bone water and is filled with minced meat, crispy wood ear mushroom, and tasty tofu. For Hanoians it is an ideal choice on a cold afternoon. Not many places sell delicious banh duc, but there is one vendor on Le Ngoc Han street. Cost for a bowl is 15 000 VND.
Grilled banana rice cake – No 1 Hang Duong street
Banana rice cake is quite familiar to young Saigonese but has only recently been introduced to Hanoi. One ripe banana is wrapped in sticky rice and grilled. In Saigon, banana rice cakes are cut into pieces then eaten with coconut milk and a sprinkle of roasted peanuts. In Hanoi, they also add coconut shavings. Price is 20 000 VND.
Pork rib porridge – Huyen Lane
To sample this simple food, go to Ngo Huyen Lane. Here, people sit on plastic chairs around a pot of porridge. While it won’t fill you up, it can ease your hunger pains. People oftern eat porridge to remind themselves of old days, when it was a popular food among the poor. There are two types of porridge, pork rib porridge and clam rice porridge. Both are smooth, plain and simple with an attractive smell of bones. Eat it with fried bread sticks, and add dried, shredded pork for extra flavour. A bowl of porridge costs 20 000 VND.
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