It's no secret that the Asia Pacific region, including Vietnam, is the culinary gateway to a world of gastronomic adventure and booking.com recently reported.
The website's Travel Confidence Index 2023 research reveals that an impressive 63% of APAC travelers across 11 countries have crowned 'Food & Dining' as the reigning champion on their travel agenda, solidifying the region's undisputed status as the ultimate destination for food lovers.
According to the research, nearly half (42%) of Vietnamese travelers are motivated to immerse themselves in the culture or lifestyle of the destination, which extends to authentic local cuisine.
|Bun Cha or grilled pork with fresh noodle soup, is one of the wonderful delicacies of Hanoi. Photo: Le Phong|
Hanoi - a "culinary paradise" in the region
The capital of Vietnam has been ranked as one of the top five culinary destinations in the Asia-Pacific region.
"The city is a culinary paradise with famous delicacies that promise to provide visitors with unique dining experiences," the Dutch online accommodation booking site commented.
Being famous for its street food, Hanoi is also home to three Michelin-starred restaurants, including Gia, Hibana by Koki, and Tam Vi. "At Gia, chef Sam Tran creates a rotating, seasonal contemporary Vietnamese menu, Hibana by Koki serves Japanese cuisine at an intimate 14-seat counter with ingredients flown in from Japan twice a week, while Tam Vi focuses on northern Vietnamese dishes such as ham with snails and shrimp soup with Malabar spinach," the website reported.
"These restaurants, which were awarded the prestigious Michelin star in June 2023, serve beautifully crafted dishes and exceptional culinary experiences worth stopping by on a trip to Vietnam," it added.
The culinary destination survey was based on the criteria: being a popular destination easily accessible to international tourists, having a rich culinary and cultural background, and receiving the most votes from tourists and experts.
|The Thang Cuon or Mixed Roll, a Hanoi specialty of old, is prepared by the chef of Tam Vi Restaurant. Photo: Tam Vi|
The convergence of delicious food
The fact that the cuisine of Vietnam, and Hanoi in particular, has been awarded stars by the Michelin Guide and voted by TripAdvisor as one of the world's top culinary destinations for 2023 shows that Vietnamese cuisine is gaining a foothold on the world's food map.
Hanoi is famous for its excellent specialties. Pho bo or noodle soup with beef is on the list of dishes that visitors should not miss. Considered the national dish of Vietnam, pho bo has a number of variations such as pho tai or soup with medium rare sliced steak, pho chin or soup with steamed lean beef, pho nam or soup with steamed half lean beef, pho gau bo or soup with steamed fat beef, and pho sot vang or Vietnamese version of bordelaise sauce with beef tendon.
A Pho Bo stall can be found anywhere in Vietnam or in major cities around the world, but Hanoi is arguably the best place to try the dish. People should first taste a bowl of Hanoi's pho bo before going on to discover the secret of Vietnamese cuisine. The soup alone, with its extraordinary aroma, is enough to drive Winter from your soul.
In addition, pho cuon or pho roll, said to have been created by Hanoi housewives, has been a Hanoi delicacy for decades.
|Another specialty of Hanoi: Pho bo or noodle soup with beef. Photo: Le Phong|
Unlike ordinary pho bo, or traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup, which is always served hot, pho cuon is served cold with an aromatic sweet and sour dipping sauce. Cooks use pho sheets, or pieces of flat steamed rice sheet, with stir-fried beef and herbs to make the simple yet delicious dish.
Besides its famous delicacies, Hanoi is famous for delicious dishes from other places.
Right in the capital, there are countless eateries serving regional specialties whose tastes are even better than the originals, according to Hanoi culinary expert Nguyen Phuong Hai.
"These regional dishes, when brought to Hanoi, are skillfully modified by the chefs. As a result, they often have a new, more sophisticated and attractive taste than the original," he told The Hanoi Times.
Some of these best dishes are Banh cuon Cao Bang, or Vietnamese steamed rice rolls from Cao Bang Province; Vit quay Lang Son, or roast duck from Lang Son Province; Canh ca Thai Binh, or fish soup from Thai Binh Province; and Bun bo Hue, or beef noodle soup from Hue city, among many others.
In addition to Hanoi, Booking.com's other four "culinary gems" in the Asia Pacific region are Singapore, Seoul (South Korea), and Tokyo (Japan).