Gastronomy: A Means of Drawing International Tourists to Hanoi

Hanoi's flavorful cuisine and its renown for healthy eating have made it a popular destination in Asia.


Over the past few years, Vietnamese cuisine has received widespread acclaim from major travel websites and food guides, highlighting its status as a culinary gem with strong international appeal. Recognizing the enormous potential in this regard, it becomes essential for the tourism industry to develop an inclusive local food map that showcases the diverse and exquisite flavors of Vietnam.

– Stunning visuals: The html content could be enhanced by adding some visually appealing images or graphics that can capture the attention of travelers. This can make the content more engaging and entertaining for the audience.

– Unique experiences: Include details about any unique experiences or attractions that travelers can expect to encounter. This can help to differentiate the destination from others and make it more enticing for travelers.

– Insider tips: Share some insider tips or recommendations for travelers visiting the destination. This can include hidden gems, local restaurants or shops, or lesser-known attractions that can enhance the overall experience for visitors.

– Cultural immersion: Highlight any opportunities for travelers to immerse themselves in the local culture. This can include traditional festivals, art exhibitions, music performances, or cultural landmarks that can provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of the destination.

– Adventure activities: If the destination offers any adventure activities such as hiking, water sports, or wildlife encounters, mention them in the content. This can attract adventure-seeking travelers who are looking for thrilling experiences.

– Sustainable tourism: Highlight any initiatives or efforts that the destination has taken to promote sustainable tourism. This can include eco-friendly accommodations, responsible tour operators, or conservation projects that can appeal to environmentally conscious travelers.

– Personalized experiences: Emphasize any opportunities for travelers to personalize their experience at the destination. This can include customizable itineraries, private tours, or unique accommodation options that cater to individual preferences and interests.

– Accessibility: If the destination is easily accessible with good transportation connections, mention this in the content. This can be a great advantage for travelers who are looking for convenience and ease of travel.

– Local cuisine: Highlight any unique or delicious local dishes that travelers can try during their visit. Food can be a major draw for many travelers, so mentioning the destination’s culinary offerings can be a strong selling point.

– Welcoming locals: Describe the friendly and welcoming nature of the locals. This can create a positive impression of the destination and make travelers feel more comfortable and welcomed during their visit.

 Four Vietnamese restaurants have recently been awarded Michelin stars.Photo: Michelin Vietnam

On June 6, four Vietnamese restaurants, three of which are located in the capital city of Hanoi, received one star each from the highly respected Michelin Guide.

Earlier, readers of TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, voted Hanoi as one of the top 20 food destinations in the world for 2023. Additionally, Vietnam was named the best culinary destination in Asia on Travel + Leisure’s “Bucket List Places in Asia in 2023” list, showing the recognition and acclaim the country’s food scene has received.

Indeed, Hanoi’s cuisine is a source of fascination not only among tourists but also among international politicians. It is worth mentioning that even former US President Barack Obama enjoyed the famous dish called “bun cha,” which is comprised of Vietnamese grilled pork served with rice noodles, during his visit to Hanoi in 2016. Additionally, in 2018, former South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife also indulged in the delicious beef noodle soup that Hanoi has to offer. These instances speak volumes about the unique and delectable culinary experiences that can be enjoyed in the vibrant city of Hanoi.

It was a surprise for the locals when Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid a visit to a steam beer bar on Duong Thanh Street in Hoan Kiem District. During his visit, he had the opportunity to sample some of the delicious Hanoi specialties.

Fresh noodle with duck, a Hanoi specialty prepared by Tam Vi’s chef 

Nguyen Trung Khanh, the General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, is confident that the presence of four Michelin-starred restaurants will significantly enhance Vietnam’s reputation as a food tourism destination. He believes that this culinary accolade will attract more international tourists to choose Vietnam for their next travel experience.

“The fact that Vietnam’s cuisine, especially Hanoi’s, has been recognized with Michelin stars and named as one of the top culinary destinations in the world by TripAdvisor in 2023 highlights the growing popularity and global appeal of Vietnamese cuisine. This presents a prime opportunity to attract international visitors,” remarked Nguyen.

In the foreseeable future, the tourism industry will persist in its efforts to globally promote Vietnamese cuisine, primarily utilizing international fairs as platforms to highlight Michelin Guide-starred restaurants and hotels. Additionally, there will be a concerted effort to enhance collaboration between travel agencies and these esteemed culinary establishments in order to facilitate the organization of food tours.

According to Nguyen Quoc Ky, the Chairman of the Vietnam Culinary Culture Association, Vietnam’s unique and diverse cuisine provides an opportunity to create alluring tourism products that can enhance the overall experience for tourists and ultimately encourage them to extend their stay.

A master plan needed

 The dish of polemo salad is prepared by chefs from Sente Restaurant in Hanoi

The World Food Travel Association (WFTA) estimates that international tourists spend approximately 25-35% of their overall travel budget on food and beverages. This significant portion of spending presents a unique opportunity for the tourism industry to capitalize on what can be seen as a “gold mine” of potential revenue. In order to effectively tap into this market, it is essential for destinations and businesses within the industry to develop a comprehensive food map that showcases the diverse culinary offerings of their area. By highlighting the local cuisine and culinary experiences available, destinations can attract and engage food-focused travelers, ultimately enhancing their overall tourism appeal.

Phung Quang Thang, Chairman of the Hanoi Travel Association, expressed that despite the presence of several travel companies, including Vietrantour, Hanoitourist, and TransViet offering food tours in the capital, they have yet to make a significant impact. To ensure the success of a themed food tour in Hanoi, two key factors must be identified: highlights and standards.

One way to improve the content and promote the highlighted dishes and professional Vietnamese restaurants could be to provide more details and context about these dishes and restaurants. This could include describing the flavors, ingredients, and unique aspects of each dish, as well as highlighting the expertise and reputation of the restaurants.

For example:
“Known for its vibrant flavors and fresh ingredients, Vietnamese cuisine offers a diverse range of dishes that are perfect for the adventurous food lover. Some of the must-try dishes in Vietnamese cuisine include the famous pho, a delicious noodle soup with fragrant herbs and tender beef or chicken, as well as the crispy and flavorful banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich filled with a variety of savory ingredients such as grilled meat, pickled vegetables, and herbs.

To truly experience the best of Vietnamese cuisine, it is essential to visit professional restaurants that specialize in this cuisine. These restaurants are dedicated to preserving and showcasing the authentic flavors and techniques of Vietnamese cooking. With chefs who have honed their skills through years of experience, these professional Vietnamese restaurants are known for delivering exceptional dishes that are both tasty and visually appealing.

One such restaurant is [Restaurant Name], which has gained a reputation for its outstanding Vietnamese cuisine. Offering a wide array of dishes ranging from traditional favorites to innovative creations, [Restaurant Name] is a go-to destination for those seeking an authentic and memorable Vietnamese dining experience. Their pho is hailed as one of the best in town, with rich and flavorful broth and tender meat.

Another notable Vietnamese restaurant is [Restaurant Name], renowned for its delectable banh mi sandwiches. Their unique combination of ingredients and attention to detail in every element of the sandwich makes it a standout choice for both locals and tourists alike.

By highlighting these specific dishes and professional Vietnamese restaurants, customers will have a clear understanding of what to expect and where to go when seeking an elevated Vietnamese dining experience. Whether it’s the iconic pho or the mouthwatering banh mi, these dishes will leave a lasting impression on anyone who tries them, showcasing the true essence of Vietnamese cuisine.”

“Visitors are drawn to food tours not just for the chance to eat, but also for the opportunity to delve into the making of the food and fully immerse themselves in the unique flavors of Hanoi,” Thang elaborated.

Nguyen Cong Hoan, the CEO of Flamingo RedTours, believes that culinary tourism is not just a service but a highly cultural and artistic experience.

A variety of Hanoi specialties like cha ruoi (sandworm omelet), cha com (young sticky rice sausage) or spring rolls are always available at the restaurant of Luklak Vietnamese Cuisine 

Therefore, it is essential for Hanoi to develop a comprehensive master plan for the sustainable growth of food tourism. This plan should aim to promote both high-end restaurants and street food, as they are both integral parts of Hanoi’s culinary scene. Additionally, Hanoi should prioritize the creation of policies that support the branding and international recognition of its restaurants. By doing so, this will not only elevate the status of Hanoi’s food but also contribute to the overall reputation of Vietnamese cuisine.

In its efforts to boost food tourism, Hanoi has introduced a range of specialized streets dedicated to culinary delights. One such example is the Tong Duy Tan Food Street in Hoan Kiem District, while another popular choice is the Dao Ngoc – Ngu Xa Night Food and Walking Street in Ba Dinh District. These streets not only serve as prime destinations for food enthusiasts, but also provide excellent opportunities for tour operators to organize captivating food tours.

On a food map of Hanoi after its restaurants were honored by Michelin, Dang Huong Giang, director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism, emphasized the city’s commitment to diversifying its culinary offerings as part of its tourism development strategy for 2030.

 A new concept of gastronomy in Hanoi: the tasting menu is served at Gia Restaurant

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To further enhance the allure of Hanoi’s tourism industry, the Hanoi Department of Tourism is taking steps to elevate its food tourism offerings. One of the strategies involves ramping up the promotion of Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as other esteemed dining establishments, through various media outlets, popular social networking sites, and both local and international tourism events. By showcasing these prestigious venues, Hanoi aims to position itself as a destination of choice for culinary enthusiasts.

“We want to take tourists on a culinary adventure by creating a food map that highlights the best local cuisine,” explained Giang enthusiastically.