Budget Tip #9: Eat Street Food
You might have heard about the famous cuisines of Vietnam, and you might have had some of them in your own country. However, how much do they really cost in Hanoi? The answer is: it depends! There are always the prices you want to pay when it comes to eating in Vietnam, but to enjoy the authentic food within your budget, always remember to eat street food. In Hanoi, it is 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 for example. Without a doubt, the sidewalk restaurants in the Old Quarter offer Vietnamese food at the lowest prices possible! For example, a bowl of authentic chicken Phở costs you about $10 in the US (tax and tips included), but it is only $1 to $1.5 on a sidewalk restaurant on Bát ĐànStreet. Besides good food, these restaurants also give you a chance to sit on the small tables and chairs to watch the daily life of Hanoians.
It might take a while to find the food that you want, because sometime the restaurants are hidden in some small alleys. You should ask some local people for direction, or try to browse along the restaurants around Dong Xuan Market area. In addition, most places specialize in only one or two dishes, so you might want to look up some famous names before you go out.
You can find almost all of the cuisines in the fancy restaurants on the streets at a relatively lower price. Sandwich, noodles, steaks, etc. hardly cost more than $3-$4, so get ready to explore all the wonderful dishes of Hanoi. If you really concern 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 broader menu and less worry of illness.