Even though by no way is it unique to Hanoi only, street vendors are the essential part of city life. One of indispensable function street vendors play is to provide a great variety of food 24/7 all year around. Here are some street vendors which you can't miss out while travelling in Hanoi.
Caramel Pudding (Hang Than)
Hang Than Street is a gathering place that has been popular with Hanoi’s young demographic for years. The area houses many dessert shops, amongst which Kem Caramen Duong Hoa, said to be one of the best in town, and a must-try for travellers. The eatery offers a wide selection of desserts, including crème caramel, homemade yoghurt, coconut jelly, mango sweet dessert (che xoai), ice cream in coconut and homemade cakes. However, crème caramel — kem caramen — is the signature food of this streetside eatery.
There are about three or four shops selling homemade caramel pudding and yogurt close to the corner of Hang Than and Hoe Nhai. It’s easier for takeout but if you don’t mind a bit squeezing, of course you are welcome to sit down. They are master at mixing yogurt and caramel pudding with fruits, nep cam (violet glutinous rice) and all kinds of yummy jelly.
Hoa qua dam – Fruit salads (To Tich)
Specific types of fruits vary according to the season, but since you are in a tropical country, the beauty of diversity is a wonder. The general idea is medium sized pieces of different taste are topped with condense milk and served with a separate bowl of ice.
Nem ran – Fried pork roll (Ngo Tam Thuong)
The whole alley is devoted to this food. Pork roll wrapped in banana leaves are either fried or BBQ at your request. A small portion of hot sauce is served together with a plate of either cu dau (pachyrrhizus) or mango. You can always ask for soya sauce if the sauce is too hot to bear! French fries and sometimes chicken wings are available as well.
Ngo Hang Chieu
Unlike the other three addresses, Hang Chieu valley is a well-known destination for those who want to try different dishes at once. Little shops here are like heaven for those who want to access local food in an authentic way. It is a bit crowded, especially around lunch time. You will see most of the common noodle soup, banh xeo (Vietnamese pan cake with shrimp and bean sprout inside), che (sweet beans and jelly) and many others.