There is a saying “each season has its own dish”. In the 36 old streets of Hanoi, there are distinctive food for each season that goes by. In spring, we have stuffed sticky rice balls (Bánh trôi) or hot rice noodle (Bún thang). In the summer, people would love to have sweet lotus seed gruel (Chè sen) and then during autumn green rice is the most popular dish around town.
As we can see, through out all four seasons people who visit Hanoi are mesmerized by the traditional cuisines of this exquisite city. Especially in the cold breeze of winter, the selection of appetizing food is only getting better. Let’s explore the world of heavenly cuisines for the winter in Hanoi. However, do not forget to book a flight to Hanoi first, we recommend that you can get the suitable price at Just fly.
Grilled corn on the cob is a must (Ngô nướng)
Grilled corn on the cob is the first choice for street food during the winter. Hanoi is reowned for its sophisticated and profuse gastronomy, however, the simpliscity of “grilled corn on the cob” has captured the appetite of many people. They love the experience of watching those plumpish maize seeds popping in the flickering flames that rise up by the flapping fan of the street vendor. It’s the experience of sitting by the side of Long Bien bridge on a windy day, having a bite of the buttery corn and a sip of warm corn silk tea, that is enough to make you warm for a long winter day.
Not only in the Long Bien bridge area, you can easily find grilled corn on the cob in any street vendor. Usually, there would be roasted chestnuts vendors nearby, which is truly worth a try.
Read: How is Da Nang tourism attractive on Tet holiday?
Snail rice noodles:
We Vietnamese believe that eating snails can make our stomachs cold, but our snail dishes are usually cooked with ginger, lemongrass or lime leaves which can decrease the cold nature of snails so we can eat them without worrying.
Regarding snails dishes, the most popular one would be: boiled snails, which we eat with a sauce including lime, ginger, lemongrass, chilli and kumquat. Moreover, we have rice noodle with snails. Vu Bang – a famous Vietnamese journalist once said about this dish that it has helped Hanoian to master the art of eating well.
In the past, there is no particular restaurant to have snail rice noodles, it’s usually sold by peddlers on the street. When you call them, they’ll stop, put out the small chairs for you and start making you a delicous bowl. On top of the hot white strands of noodles, some coriander is added alongside a few slices of chilli and of course a generous amount of snails, then finally aromatic broth is poured in to blend the rich flavour. A perfect bowl of Hanoi snail rice noodle should retain the crunchiness of the snails, the light sour taste of thickened vinegar (dấm bỗng) and the tingling hot you feel from the chilli.
Here is some addresses for you to try out this dish:
- Bún ốc Bà Sáu – 73 Mai Hac De Str., Hai Ba Trung Dist., Hanoi
- Hoe Nhai Street
- Doi Can Street
Read: Top 10 famous dishes should not be missed when Hoi An tourism
It’s impossible not to mention the savoury doughnuts on Lac Long Quan street. Around 4PM-6PM, you can see the long queue of people waiting for their turn to have this. The store have lots of customers through out the year but to be honest, people tend to eat this more often in the winter as it’d be quite a greasy food in the summer.
The savoury doughnuts there are made on demand, not pre-made. There are usually around 4 to 5 frying pans being used to cook at the same time in different levels of temperature to get the perfect doughnut for the customers. A well-prepared, crispy doughnut will be sliced into 2 to 3 small portions, put into a bowl and have dipping sauce with pickles poured in. By having some pickles, it makes the dish less greasy.
Address: 242 Lac Long Quan Str., Tay Ho Dist., Hanoi
Which dish is most people’s favourite for the winter in Hanoi? It’s definitely Cassava Gruel. Not a too fancy dish, cassava gruel is just an ordinary food that you can come across at any street vendor in Hanoi. So why are people so obsessed about it? Because people would get sick and full easily from keep eating hot, grilled, roasted or oily dishes. Therefore a sweet, buttery and light bowl of cassava gruel would then become a great remedy.
A smoky hot bowl of cassava gruel with some coconut water added, you can feel the soft and viscous texture of the cassava mixed up in the warm taste of fresh ginger. It seems like the whole winter of Hanoi has been packed into one small bowl of cassava gruel. And only one bowl is enough to drive away the winter cold. The most popular place to get cassava gruel is at Huyen lane (Ngõ Huyện), and it’s only 10,000 vnd per bowl, what a bargain!
Besides the 4 dishes that have been mentioned above, the winter in Hanoi has much more delicious, distinctive food such as fried breadsticks (quẩy nóng), rice cakes (bánh đúc), black sesame gruel (chè chí mà phủ), or even Trang Tien ice-cream, etc. You can’t really taste the sweet and slightly burnt flavour of grilled fermented pork roll (nem chua nướng) through pictures and photos.