Backpacking in Hanoi, Vietnam means staying at a Hanoi hotel with Vietnamese cuisines at street food stalls around the area. Find the recommendations here.
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, offers us loads of attractions, from museums to temples and sites of the war era—not to mention heritages of French colonialism such as cathedrals and opera theatres. You won’t regret travelling there lah! If you are after the food, no worries, the city is a haven for that! So, before booking a Hanoi hotel, you should see these recommendations first.
Interesting Facts about Hanoi
Being the capital city of Vietnam as well as the country’s second largest city, Hanoi—just like Singapore—is a melting pot of eastern and western cultures. The city is a combination of Vietnamese figure and French manner. This is no wonder, because based on Wikipedia, France colonised Vietnam from 1873 until 1945. In fact, from 1883 to 1945, Hanoi was the administrative city of the whole French Indochina colony that also included Cambodia, Laos, and China.
During the colonial period, the southern part of the old Hanoi City was renovated into a modern administrative city by the French. They built wide avenues full of parks, public buildings, churches, luxurious cottages, and an opera house. However, there was also much destruction caused along with the renovation, such as the reduced width of lakes and inland waterways as well as the demolished fortresses and palaces.
Today, Hanoi is one of Southeast Asia’s big cities with rapid development. According to TripAdvisor, the city populated with 7,781,631 people has also been on the 15th position of the top 25 travel destinations in the world. Every year, Hanoi never runs out of visitors. Therefore, the tourism sector of the city has also contributed to the country’s economy and infrastructure. It may not pay off the damages caused by the French and Japanese occupation, as well as the war against the US in the past, but it may help the country face the future.
Choose a Hanoi Hotel with Delicious Street Food around
Speaking of tourism, Hanoi does not only offer you spectacular sightseeing but also high-quality accommodation and delicious food. Nevertheless, if you are going to travel in the city on a relatively low budget, you should consider booking hotel rooms for the low season or find a pretty cheap Hanoi hotel room. No worries, though, the quality you will get for the price you pay is still worth it lah! You will get not only a comfortable room with great amenities but also delicious food! Below are some recommendations—based on TripAdvisor — you will not be able to resist.
1. La Beaute De Hanoi Hotel
Located in the centre of the Old Quarter, this boutique hotel is near the street food haven! It only takes a 3-minute stroll to the night market and Hoan Kiem Lake. At a relatively low price, you can get a large comfortable room with a hint of sweet elegance in red and white colours.
The Travelers’ Choice 2019 award winner is also rated 5.0 (excellent). This comes as no surprise as the hotel offers the best for visitors, such as free Wi-Fi connection everywhere in the hotel, hospitality of the customer service, free breakfast, airport transport, laundry service, and housekeeping, not to mention the great room amenities like air conditioning, flat-screen TV, mini bar, fridge, safe, and a balcony all to yourself.
Address: 15 Trung Yen Lane, Dinh Liet Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, 10000, Vietnam
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: About 28.1km or 46 minute drive
2. Paradise Boutique Hotel
Situated in between Quaint street and the historical site, Old Quarter, Paradise Boutique Hotel—just like its name—offers you a retreat despite the city’s hectic roads. The interior of the 25 visitors’ rooms is where vintage style meets elegance. You may see frames of photographs of the Old Quarter in the past on the walls of each room. Some of the rooms are also enhanced with private balconies for you to enjoy the Old Quarter’s panorama. Feeling hungry? Savour either international or local cuisines at the Paradise Restaurant and Bar on the hotel’s ground floor.
If you are ready to go sightseeing downtown, Hanoi Water Puppet Theatre and Hoan Kiem Lake are just around the corner. It also takes only a quick stroll from the hotel to the fabulous night market open on the weekends. There, you can enjoy many kinds of popular Vietnamese street foods. Going further, you will find Hanoi’s main attractions, like the Museum of Vietnamese History and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which is only a 10-minute drive away.
Address: 62 Hang Bac Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: About 27.7km or 44 minute drive
3. Gia Thinh Hotel
The 2.5-star hotel gives you not only convenient accommodation at a very affordable rate but also an amazing experience of travelling the entire Hanoi—especially the Old Quarter. It takes only a minute's walk to the heart of the historic site and popular landmarks such as Hanoi Opera House, Hoan Kiem Lake, One Pillar Pagoda, and Temple of Literature. Certainly, the hotel is also near the town’s street food centre.
Combining antique oriental style with modern urban design, the entire 21 guest rooms of Gia Thinh Hotel are enhanced with great amenities, such as air conditioning, free internet connection, LCD-screened TV, refrigerator, safe deposit box, and a private balcony. You will also feel like home when staying there as the whole hotel staff will give you the best service and hospitality.
Address: 19 Hang Bac Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: About 27.6km or 44 minute drive
Must-Try Vietnamese Cuisines on Street Food Stalls
Based on the versions of 2foodtrippers and South East Asia Backpacker, Hanoi handles street food seriously. You can find street food stalls everywhere on the sidewalks. Don’t worry about the prices as Hanoi’s street food is the cheap eats you are looking for when travelling in the city.
To begin with, Vietnamese food is very flavorful as people in the country use tender meats, chilli, fresh herbs (such as perilla, coriander, Spearmint, and Asian basil leaves) and clear broths, which are served in clay pots. However, they don’t use chilli to make the dishes taste hot and spicy. If you have tried Thai food before, you will find the spiciness of Vietnamese food much milder.
Vietnamese people have a big passion for eating and cooking. Therefore, when you visit Hanoi, eating out is a must. Almost on every sidewalk, you will find crowds of people sitting down on small plastic chairs with bright colours while munching on authentic Vietnamese street food. So, during your stay in a Hanoi hotel and before you book a table at a street food stall or order takeaway, here is a list of street food delicacies you need to know.
1. Pho (Noodle Soup)
Originally made in Hanoi, pho is a perfect combination of savoury broth, chewy rice noodles, slow-cooked beef or chicken, as well as herbs and spices—like red peppers, coriander, and basil leaves. At a very affordable price of S$1.35, you can savour a bowl of Vietnam’s national dish at many street stalls near the best Hanoi Vietnam hotels.
2. Bun-Mien Ngan (Glass Noodle Soup with Muscovy Duck)
Even though Muscovy ducks are originally from America, Australia, and Oceania, these large-sized ducks can also be enjoyed in Vietnam. If you stay at one of the hotels in Hanoi Vietnam, you won’t get any difficulties finding street food stalls that sell the yummy dish. Once you taste it, you will be a fan of the combo of hearty soup, Chinese Vermicelli (glass noodles), and decadent pulled meat of a Muscovy duck.
3. Bánh Mi
For many backpackers, this scrumptious on-the-go meal will give them energy to travel around the city. Influenced by French colonialism, the meal is a French baguette stuffed with shredded radish, pickled veggies, scrambled egg, sliced cold meat, chilli sauce, and mayonnaise. So, if you need a quick, cheap breakfast or lunch to make you full for the rest of the day, find one of the numerous Bánh Mi carts in the entire city.
4. Pho Cuon (Rice Noodle Spring Rolls)
If you love snacking, Pho Cuon can be the answer during your stay in a Hanoi hotel. This finger food is a spring roll made of a large rice noodle or rice paper rolled around some green herbs like basil or lettuce leaves and sliced beef or shrimp. Don’t forget to dip the rolls into Nuoc Cham, a flavorful sauce made of vinegar, fish sauce, chilli, and sugar. It’s finger-licking good!
5. Chè Khúc Bạch
Feeling thirsty? Or craving for some sugary treat? No worries, Chè Khúc Bạch is ready to be served on your table. Sprinkled with some crunchy muesli on top, the bowl of some ice, lychees, vanilla jelly cubes, and coconut water is a perfect dessert for your sweet tooth and the sunny day!
Wondering where exactly you can find the best street food in Hanoi? Just remember the hectic streets of Old Quarter—the historical part of the city. There, you will find loads of street food stalls and diners almost everywhere on the streets. Foods like sticky rice and fruit flesh wrapped in a banana leaf, meat on a stick, and snail soup can be found at the market just a stone's throw away from many Hanoi hotels, if not all. Are you confused about how to begin? Join a street food tour with a local guide who is an expert on this. Well, happy eating!