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10 Hanoi delicacies you can track down in Saigon

By Thanh Tuyet   July 9, 2017 | 06:10 pm GMT+7

Whether it's steamed snails or pig's trotter noodles, a taste of the north is there for those willing to look for it.

Banh cuon (steamed rice rolls)

The unique taste of Hanoi’s banh cuon comes from a strict selection of ingredients. The rice should be neither too soft nor too dry so that when it’s spread out on the cooking plate it's not too sticky. For the filling use wood-ear fungus and flavored ground meat, and fried onions on top are indispensable.

The fish sauce served with Hanoi’s banh cuon is not as sweet as Saigon's, and often has chilli peppers and fried onions, and sometimes gio lua - Vietnamese sausage. Even though there are many banh cuon restaurants in Saigon, only a few serve up the Hanoian variety.

We recommend La Chanh Restaurant, 5/5B Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 1. Prices range from VND20,000 - 40,000 ($0.88 - $1.76).

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The unique taste of Hanoi’s banh cuon comes from a strict selection of ingredients. 

Steamed snails

This dish simply consists of snails steamed with citronella and lemon leaves. The fish sauce is mixed with garlic, ginger and chilli pepper. Steamed snails can also be found at La Chanh Restaurant on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 1. A portion for two costs VND 50,000 ($2.20).

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This dish simply consists of snails steamed with citronella and lemon leaves.

Banh goi (pillow cake)

What gets gourmets going about this dish is the crispy shell filled with meat, vermicelli, wood-ear fungus and quail eggs. Hanoi’s banh goi is often eaten with sweet and sour sauce and papaya. A portion for two costs from VND40,000 ($1.76). Northern restaurants that sell the delicacy can be found on La Chanh.

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What gets gourmets going about this dish is the crispy shell filled with meat, vermicelli, wood-ear fungus and quail eggs. 

Snail noodles

A good bowl of snail noodles must be colorful, with the red of the tomatoes, green of the vegetables and the deep yellow of the well-cooked snails. The twist to this dish is a mild sour vinegar, and the noodles are usually accompanied by local herbs. You can try snail noodles Vi Moc Quan, 47 Tu Xuong, District 3. A bowl costs around VND40,000 ($1.76) .

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A good bowl of snail noodles must be colorful, with the red of the tomatoes, green of the vegetables and the deep yellow of the well-cooked snails.

La Vong fish cakes

This is a Hanoi specialty that attracts both local and foreign tourists. The fish cakes are usually prepared beforehand and fried on the spot with green onions and dill, then served with vegetables, rice noodles, shrimp paste and fried peanuts. You can try this dish also at Vi Moc Quan for about VND300,000 ($13.20).

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This is a Hanoi specialty that attracts both local and foreign tourists.

Crab hot pot with beef

Crab hot pot with beef thigh and bone marrow is a popular dish up north during the winter. When it arrived in Saigon, it immediately became a hit with young foodies. The trick to a delicious broth is the sweetness of the crab eggs and the sourness of the tomatoes and dracontomelon. A steaming hot pot can be found on Tu Xuong Street, Truong Dinh Street and Hong Ha Street, and a serving for four costs around VND 300,000.

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The trick to a delicious broth is the sweetness of the crab eggs and the sourness of the tomatoes and dracontomelon.

Noodles with tofu and shrimp paste

This dish is gaining in popularity in Saigon, and more and more restaurants are starting to offer it. Most of them adopt the Hanoi style, with the tofu medium-fried and eaten with cha com (green rice cake), cucumber and noodles. A serving will set you backs VND40,000 ($1.76), and can be enjoyed on Hong Ha Street, Phan Xich Long Street and Tran Hung Dao Street.

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Most of them adopt the Hanoi style, with the tofu medium-fried and eaten with cha com (green rice cake), cucumber and noodles. 

Bun cha

Just a slight change in the flavor of the sauce can be a turn off for many bun cha fans. In Saigon, Hanoi’s bun cha is a frequent dish for lunch and is a must-try for many foreign tourists. Rice noodles with spring rolls are less popular, and the spring rolls must be fried crispy. A portion costs roughly VND40,000 ($1.76). You can try this dish in the northern restaurants at Vi Moc Quan.

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In Saigon, Hanoi’s bun cha is a frequent dish for lunch and is a must-try for many foreign tourists.

Noodles with climbing perch

This simple dish consists of climbing perch, dill, tomatoes, Vietnamese taro and noodles. It’s one to go for on hot days in Saigon. Head to La Chanh. Expect to pay about VND35,000 ($1.54) for a bowl.

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This simple dish consists of climbing perch, dill, tomatoes, Vietnamese taro and noodles. 

Noodles with pig’s trotters

Not for the faint hearted, the trotters are cooked with galingale, citronella and shrimp paste for 3 to 4 hours until the flesh is soft and the skin is crispy. It’s a favorite among many southerners, and a portion costs from VND80,000 ($ 3.52). There are some northern restaurants selling this dish in Tan Binh District or, District 3, or La Chanh.

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Not for the faint hearted, the trotters are cooked with galingale, citronella and shrimp paste for 3 to 4 hours until the flesh is soft and the skin is crispy.