Hanoi is an absolute gem for street food lovers. I lived there 7 years ago and on my visits back since then, while a lot of the larger food establishments have changed hands or disappeared completely my favourite street food vendors have stayed put.
Top of this list has to be Ly Van Phuc (pronounced Lee Van Fuk) or as it’s more commonly known “Chicken Street/ BBQ Chicken Street.” It’s one of the top street food destinations in Hanoi if not the whole of Vietnam and despite this it’s still much better known amongst the locals and ex-pats than the many backpackers that visit the city as it’s slightly out of the main town area.
The vendors might all appear to be selling the same grilled chicken and potatoes but the tried and tested favourite is right down to the end of the road and on the right…trust me!
The menu is fairly simple and all the below are brushed with honey before being grilled to perfection on the open grills you can see all along the street. You’ll also be served chilli sauce and pickled cucumbers in sweet vinegar to go with it.
bánh mì – grilled bread
cánh gà – chicken wings
khoai – roasted sweet potato, cubed on skewers
For the more adventurous there’s also the option of local favourite; chicken feet. Don’t be concerned if you don’t fancy trying out your Vietnamese, staff here are used to foreigners pointing out what delicious food they want to try next, so just point and hold the appropriate number of fingers up!
Make sure to wash down your meal with glasses of local Bia Hoi. If I’m honest I’ve never really understood the pricing system here and I’m sure it changes slightly every time I’ve been, however a meal for two including all the chicken, bread and potatoes we could eat plus 3 beers each came to less than $10 this time which I can’t complain about.
Now as you’re sat on small plastic stools which I’ve seen many a westerner break and rubbish is pushed onto the floor to be cleaned at the end of the night…admittedly you might feel that the surroundings are not 5* standard, however the scores of motorbikes arriving night after night shows that this place’ popularity is here to stay, and there isn’t a star system high enough to score how good the food here!