Hanoi, Vietnam is the place to go for delicious, authentic street food and Hanoi Street Food Tours is the company to book with. Recapping the best Hanoi street food tour! In Hanoi, we went on the best street food tour EVER. On our 3.5 hour shuttle ride to Halong Bay, we met a couple American girls from D.C. who swore by this street food tour they took in Hanoi. They warned us that it was pretty pricy for a Vietnam tour ($85 pp) but worth every penny. Hanoi Street Food Tours, which has been given praise by the New York Times, is a two-man run show, by Mark Lowerson, an Australian expat who’s lived in Vietnam for years and Tu, a local who worked in Hanoi’s restaurant industry before joining forces with Mark. Mark and Tu limit their tours to no more than 6 people so that you get a completely intimate experience. They take you to hole-in-the-wall street food vendors that you would never find on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet but serve up the most delicious food I ate all trip.
We were on the tour with only one other couple who happened to grow up in Boston (WHAT?!) and were traveling for a year and started an awesome travel blog, called New Routes Travel. It was fun to share the experience with another couple who were around our age and from the States. We ended up hanging out with them a little bit later that day after the tour too.
While on the tour, Mark informed us that each street food vendor focuses only on one dish so that they can be the “master” of that dish and only have to deal with a short set of ingredients. Most operate specific times of the day too. Like breakfast and lunch. Or evening hours. Usually somewhere between 2.5-4 hours total. Mark’s been all over Southeast Asia and affirms that Vietnam has the best street food scene of all the countries. I’d have to agree.
Street food vendors are nothing short of transparent. Their kitchen and ingredients are right in front of you. Like this bun ca vendor you see here.
Bun ca or fish noodle soup was honestly THE best dish I had in Hanoi. Crispy fried fresh water perch, mustard greens, spring onion, chinese celery and tomatoes all stewed in a delicious fish broth. On the side, garlic in rice vinegar, limes, dry roasted chili oil and fresh chili oil. And the rice noodles here are died with tea powder to make them brown in color. How cool is that? My mouth is literally salivating just talking about this dish. I would fly back to Vietnam in a heartbeat just to eat this soup again. If you’re in Hanoi, check out Bun Ca Van.
We then took a stroll to digest our food and head to our next stop, coffee (it was morning after all).We arrived at Cafe Duy Tri for yogurt coffee (which I talked about in my Vietnamese coffee ice cream post). This place makes their own homemade yogurt to freeze and mix with coffee for their famous “yogurt coffee” drink. Mark told us how Vietnam’s coffee scene started because of their French influence. Vietnam has done all their own roasting and grinding since 1936. They don’t have espresso machines or use any dairy (besides sweetened condensed milk). Just dark roast, slow drip coffee with chocolate notes. So freaking good. And I’m not a big coffee drinker.We enjoyed a yogurt coffee, some regular iced coffee and we were fired up for our next stop!Spring rolls! Go to Com Rang Duc Hanh at 38 Ma May. Steve had pork and crab rolls and I had crab and mushroom rolls and oh. mah. gawd. These things were so crispy and umami filled and delicious. The dipping sauce was sweet and umami packed as well, made with fish sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, sugar, carrots, pepper and young papaya.
Check out those mushrooms!
Our last stop was for something sweet at Tra Chanh Dao Duy Tu.We started off with these sweetened iced green teas with lime (tra chanh). So refreshing. Then these tapioca bowls with coconut milk and banana (che ngon). SO good.I have to say it once more in case you aren’t convinced. This tour is well worth every penny. I would never have found these spots on my own. They are gems that only the locals know about. And some of the best food I ate all trip thanks to Mark and Tu.
Tell me, have you ever been on a street food tour? Where was it and what was your experience like?
For more Southeast travel recos, check out my posts below!