Budget tip: Eat street food
You may have heard of famous Vietnamese dishes, and you may have tasted some of them in your own country as well. However, how much do they actually cost in Hanoi? Your answer depends on how many letters! There are always prices you want to pay when dining in Vietnam, but to enjoy authentic food in your pocket, always remember to eat street food. In Hanoi, it’s the Old Quarter. In Ho Chi Minh City, it is Ben Thanh market. In most other places, it is the central market of the city or province.
Take Hanoi as an example. Without a doubt, the sidewalk restaurants in the Old Quarter offer Vietnamese food at the lowest possible prices! For example, a bowl of authentic Chicken Pho costs around US$10 (taxes and tips included), but only $1 to $1.50 at a sidewalk eatery on Bat Dan Street. Besides delicious food, these restaurants also give you the opportunity to sit on small tables and chairs to watch the daily life of Hanoians.
It can take you a while to find the food you like because sometimes the restaurants are hidden in some small alleys. You should ask some locals for directions, or try walking around the eateries around the Dong Xuan Market area. Also, most places only specialize in one or two dishes, so you might want to look up some famous names before heading out.
You can find almost all the dishes in the posh restaurants on the street at relatively lower prices. Sandwiches, noodles, steaks, … hardly cost more than $3 – $4, so get ready to explore all of Hanoi’s great food. If you are really worried about the quality of the food, another option is the local eateries or some foreign restaurants in Hoan Kiem district, which provide you with a richer menu and less illness.