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CNN lists top five must-try dishes for foreigners to try in Hanoi

The Cable News Network (CNN) has recently recommended five must-try dishes for foreign visitors on the streets of Hanoi, besides bun cha and world-famous pho.

The capital city, with more than a thousand years of history and a rich culture, has been renowned for its diverse food scene. However, cha ca (fish cooked with turmeric and dill), banh tom (shrimp cake), bun ca (fish noodle soup), bun rieu cua (crab noodle soup), and ca phe trung (egg coffee) are strongly recommended by CNN.

Banh tom (Photo: VNA)
Bun ca (Source:

Cha ca (Photo:
Bun rieu (Source:
Ca phe trung (Source:

CNN said Hanoians consider cha ca to be so exceptional that there is a road in the capital dedicated to the dish – Cha Ca Street. The dish itself dates back more than 130 years ago. It was first invented by the local Doan family, who served the special meal to troops during the French colonial rule.

Giving detailed ingredients of banh tom with freshwater crayfish or shrimp from West Lake, flour and sweet potato, CNN said that it is typically served with lettuce leaves for wrapping, plus chili, lime juice, and fish sauce for dipping. Banh tom is thought to have become common in the 1930s when small street vendors began congregating along Thanh Nien Street -- a road that separates West Lake and Truc Bach Lake.

The US-based television network suggested visitors try bun ca at lunch time. Bun ca, combining fried fishcakes, dill, tomatoes, green onions and perilla, can be found anywhere at the time.

Bun rieu is another gastronomic delight of Hanoi. Visitors will have a perfect meal when they add to a bowl of bun rieu- a meat or seafood vermicelli soup with a distinctive crimson colour, requisite plateful of lime wedges, chili and greens.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese ca phe trung is a Hanoi specialty in which creamy soft and meringue-like egg white foam is perched on dense Vietnamese coffee. It is served in both cold and hot versions.