The thousand-year-old capital Hanoi is internationally known as one of the best foodie destinations in Asia, and if you’ve heard of any of the city’s street eats, it’s most likely Pho, Banh mi, or Bun cha. There is no doubt that Hanoi is the best place to try those delicious dishes, but there’s much more to sample in the city’s diverse food scene.
Bun ca, meaning fish noodle soup, includes either white or brown rice noodles, chunks of fried fresh water fishes – usually grass carp or climbing perch, fish cakes, water celery, dill, and especially, a clear fish both. The dish is mostly served by former farmers from Nam Dinh and Hung Yen Provinces, who came to Hanoi in the last two decades.
Traces of tomatoes, green onions and mustard green are also added to combine for a light meal. This blog post introduces top fish noodle dishes that are familiar with the locals, and they’re within walking distance from hotels in the city center.
Note: Though it’s accepted by the locals, most fish noodle soup eateries only qualify street level hygiene standards.
1. Bun Ca Luyen
First opened in 2001 by Ms. Luyen, who came from Nam Dinh Province in the southern Hanoi (she is known as one of the first people introducing this fish noodle dish to Hanoi). A bowl of her fish noodle soup includes flat brown rice noodles, small chunks of fried grass carp fish, fish cakes, water celery, and especially, the fish both flavored by pineapple and apple juices.
Add-on options include fried fish eggs and fish intestine, both are placed on top of the soup.
- 42 Hang Dau Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
- 7h00 to 21h00
2. Bun Ca Sam Cay Si
Nested in the middle of a backstreet that’s two blocks away from Hoan Kiem Lake, where some plastic tables are set up under a weeping fig tree (cay si in Vietnamese). It may look unsafe to passers by, but its turn over is high. So having a bowl of bun ca here is as street eat and local as you can get!
Though tucked away from the main street, the place is super busy with local eaters around lunch time. Hence, it could be a challenge to find a seat during its peak hours, the best time is around breakfast and late lunch time. The best seats are right in front of the cook, failing that they have a small room with 2 long tables just right behind the “kitchen”.
- 0901 267 899
- 5 Trung Yen Lane, Ta Hien Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- 7h00 – 17h00
3. Bun Ca Ro Hien Luc
Located on a green tree-line boulevard of Hai Ba Trung Street, right behind the National Library of Vietnam, the eatery offers a unique noodle soup featuring small pieces of fried climbing perch instead of grass carp. They also replace the green water celery (seen in the above two addresses) with sliced mustard green, then top with chopped dill and spring onion.
The dish is a specialty from Hung Yen Province, a farming province in the eastern Hanoi.
- 39P Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- 6h00 – 20h30
Well, hope this post was informative enough to help you prepare for a wonderful stay in our city. Contact us if you’re interested in a personal street food tour in Hanoi. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep updated on what’s new and what’s interesting in Hanoi.