Food magazine TasteAtlas recommends eight soup-based dishes from the northern provinces of Vietnam, from Lang Son's sour pho, Hanoi's snail vermicelli, to Hai Phong's crab noodle soup.
The dishes were chosen based on their status as local specialties or renowned dishes within a specific province or city. They have been appraised by culinary experts and are known for their fine flavors, deliciousness, and affordability.
TasteAtlas is a culinary website known for its collection of information on 10,000 dishes, 9,000 restaurants, and the documented research of food critics worldwide.
The first dish to mention is Hanoi snail noodle soup. The broth is prepared using snail stock and tomatoes. This dish includes vermicelli cooked in boiling water, accompanied by fresh vegetables, fish cakes, fried tofu, finely chopped scallions, and snails. It can be enjoyed with a squeeze of lime, shrimp paste, or chili sauce. Photo courtesy of Xuan Phuong
Crab noodle soup is a specialty from Hai Phong. It features a broth made from simmered pork bones and a variety of ingredients such as crab meat, herbs, grilled meatballs, pork rolls, or pork wrapped in betel leaves. The toppings of the crab noodle soup may vary depending on the eatery, but the light red color of the soup remains consistent. Diners can savor it with laksa leaves, perilla leaves, or sliced chili. Photo by Bui Thuy
Sour pho is a specialty hailing from Lang Son Province, often served as an appetizer during Tet holidays and special occasions in northern mountainous regions. Unlike traditional pho, this dish stands out with its presentation. Instead of hot broth, sour pho is served with a chilled sweet and sour sauce, mixed like a dressing. Other ingredients include char siu meat, pork intestine, fried pork liver, roasted duck meat, thinly sliced Chinese sausage, roasted peanuts, fried shallots, and herbs. Photo by Di Vy
Pork and mushroom meatball noodle soup, bun moc, is a popular dish originating from Moc Village, Nhan Chinh Ward, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi. The dish consists of vermicelli, pork and mushroom meatballs, pork rolls or ribs, pork leg, and shredded bamboo shoots. The broth is prepared using shiitake mushrooms and pork bones. The meticulous skimming of foam during simmering ensures a clear and flavorful broth. Photo by Bui Thuy
Eye-round steak noodle soup is another variant of the famous beef noodle soup in northern Vietnam. This version features tender pieces of beef, thinly sliced and boiled.The ingredients for this dish include broth made from beef and pork bones, ginger, onions, fish sauce, sugar, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. After placing the noodle soup and beef in the bowl, the broth is poured over, and a garnish of green onions is added. Lime is often provided on the side for diners who prefer a tangy kick. Photo by Quynh Mai
Salmon and sturgeon hotpots are renowned specialties of Sa Pa. This dish includes thinly sliced fish and a hotpot sauce accompanied by local vegetables like squash buds and watercress. The broth plays a crucial role in this dish. A standard hotpot broth should be clear, sweet, sour, and fragrant, with hints of pineapple and other spices. Photo by Hoang Danh Dung
Black chicken hotpot is a familiar and beloved dish in northern mountainous regions, such as Lao Cai and Ha Giang. It consists of black chicken cooked in a broth with mushrooms, ginger, red apples, and an assortment of vegetables like wood ear mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, beef, and corn. Tourists particularly enjoy this hotpot dish because black chicken is known for its sweetness, aroma, and crunchy texture. Photo by Quynh Mai
The culinary website also suggests diners try black chicken stewed with traditional Chinese medicine. Although the dish originates in Jiangxi Province, it has gained popularity in the mountainous region of Sa Pa in northern Vietnam. The small black chicken is known for its slightly tough yet sweet and aromatic meat. To create this herbal soup, the chicken is cooked using a double boiling method, infused with a variety of herbs including bamboo shoots, ginger, lotus seeds, wild yam, berries, and dried scallops. The soup is served hot, immediately after preparation, allowing the rich flavors to be enjoyed to the fullest. Photo by DiVy