From curbside feasts on Lilliputian plastic chairs to superb fine dining, Hanoi’s restaurant scene has something for everyone. Locals are fiercely proud of their street food culture and this is where the essence of Hanoi’s food scene can be discovered. Signature northern dishes include bun cha (vermicelli with minced pork burgers), banh cuon (steamed rice rolls stuffed with minced pork, mushrooms, and shallots), and the ubiquitous pho, Vietnam’s nominal national dish, which comes in chicken and beef varieties. These classics represent just a tantalizing taste of what is on offer in the city. And with a seemingly endless array of vendors slaving over hot grills, simmering alchemy in large pots or doling out pillow-soft steamed buns from a ramshackle cart, opportunities to eat like a local are limitless. In the past, Hanoi’s restaurant sector has suffered in comparison to its Kingly street dining scene. That has changed significantly over the past decade or so. There is now an eclectic selection of interesting (and often excellent) eating spots that run the gamut from simple French bistros and laid-back cafés to opulent venues for multicourse blowouts and cutting-edge options that would not be out of place in the world’s major gastronomic hubs.
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