Taste the Famous ‘Ba Hoanh’ Rice Rolls at the Culinary Haven of To Hien Thanh Alley

Tô Hiến Thành is a renowned culinary alley in the heart of the capital, and within this gastronomic enclave lies a true icon: Ba Hoanh Restaurant. For over a century, this humble establishment has been crafting traditional Vietnamese steamed rice rolls, or 'banh cuon', with a depth of flavor that has achieved legendary status. The secret lies in the time-honored techniques and ingredients that have been meticulously preserved by generations of dedicated chefs. Each roll is a delicate masterpiece, a harmonious blend of soft rice flour, savory fillings, and an essence that whispers of history and heritage. Step inside, and you'll find yourself not just tasting a dish, but experiencing a living testament to the culinary soul of Vietnam.

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Hanoi’s culinary scene is steeped in tradition, with eateries that have been around for generations. One such establishment is Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon on To Hien Thanh Street, which has been serving up delicious treats for over a hundred years.

1 Introducing Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon, To Hien Thanh

Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon, a beloved eatery on To Hien Thanh Street.

Restaurant Quality: 4.1/5 (Google Rating)

Address: 66 To Hien Thanh Street, Bui Thi Xuan Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Opening Hours: 06:00 – 20:00 (Usually crowded at 09:00)

Price Range: 30,000 – 65,000 VND (~$1.20 – $2.60)

Phone Number: 0989083570

Facebook: Banh Cuon Ba Hoanh – 66 To Hien Thanh

Delivery: Yes (Shopee Food)

Menu Highlights: Banh Cuon (rice rolls) with grilled pork, steamed rice cakes, rice rolls with shrimp, bun cha (grilled pork with vermicelli)…

Signature Dish: Banh Cuon with grilled pork (50,000 VND)

Pros: Well-known restaurant with a long history and easy to find.

Con: Can get very crowded, so be prepared to wait.

When in Hanoi, don’t miss the chance to indulge in the century-old tradition of Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon. This humble eatery specializes in Banh Cuon Thanh Tri, a type of rice roll served with a unique dipping sauce made with ca cuong (a type of aquatic insect known for its aromatic essence).

Located on To Hien Thanh Street, a foodie hotspot in Hanoi, Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon is easy to spot thanks to its large sign and spacious dining area.

The atmosphere is bustling with activity, as staff members prepare various dishes, attend to customers, and manage the constant flow of diners. In addition to outdoor seating on the sidewalk, there is also an indoor dining area with comfortable wooden furniture.

While their specialty is Banh Cuon Thanh Tri, the restaurant also offers a variety of other dishes, including hot rice rolls, shrimp cakes, and bun dau (vermicelli with fried tofu and shrimp paste), ensuring that every palate is catered to.

Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon serves up a delicious tradition of Banh Cuon Thanh Tri with a unique dipping sauce.

2 What Makes Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon Special?

A Century-Old Legacy

The story behind the name “Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon” is a charming one. Mrs. Hoanh, the original owner, started making rice rolls when she was just 14 years old. Over time, she established her restaurant on To Hien Thanh Street, and the legacy continued as her children and grandchildren carried on the family business.

Despite changing hands over the years, the flavor and quality of the food at Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon have remained consistent, a testament to the family’s dedication to their craft.

The restaurant boasts a century’s worth of history and tradition.

The Signature Banh Cuon Thanh Tri

What sets Banh Cuon Thanh Tri apart from other rice rolls is its unique preparation and dining experience. Unlike typical rice rolls, these are made without any fillings, using only rice flour, resulting in a distinctive white color and a pure, delicate rice flavor. The traditional way to enjoy these rice rolls is to let them cool down, then pair them with grilled pork, pork belly, fried shallots, and herbs. You then roll the rice roll, dip it in the special sauce, and savor the explosion of flavors. The soft and chewy texture of the rice roll, combined with the savory-sweet sauce, creates an irresistible taste sensation.

If you prefer your rice rolls hot, they also offer a version with a minced pork and wood ear mushroom filling, seasoned to perfection.

Banh Cuon Thanh Tri, a signature delicacy with a unique dining experience.

The Aromatic Ca Cuong Dipping Sauce

One of the most distinctive features of Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon is the addition of ca cuong to their dipping sauce. When sliced, these tiny creatures release a powerful aroma from their essential oils, infusing the sauce with a unique fragrance. At the restaurant, each ca cuong costs around 60,000 VND, and the staff will cut it into small pieces and provide a small bowl of fish sauce. Diners can then add the ca cuong to their sauce according to their preference. However, it’s important to note that ca cuong may not appeal to all palates, and its price is relatively high, so consider this before ordering.

The ca cuong dipping sauce is an optional but memorable part of the dining experience.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor to Hanoi, Mrs. Hoanh’s Banh Cuon on To Hien Thanh Street is a must-visit destination for a taste of the city’s culinary heritage. Indulge in the signature Banh Cuon Thanh Tri and experience a century-old tradition that continues to captivate diners of all ages.

Frequently asked questions

The famous dish at To Hien Thanh Alley is the ‘Bánh Tráng Trộn’ or Mixed Rice Paper, a traditional Vietnamese dish with a variety of textures and flavors. The key ingredient is the rice paper, which is mixed with green mango, Vietnamese sausage, herbs, and a special sauce.

Yes, To Hien Thanh Alley is also known for its ‘Bánh Hỏi’ (rice vermicelli woven into thin sheets), which is served with grilled pork, and ‘Bánh Xèo’ (Vietnamese savory pancakes), which are made with a combination of shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts.

The alley comes alive in the afternoon, with most food stalls opening around 2 PM. It is best to visit before 6 PM as some stalls may start to close after that time.

Vegetarians may find options limited in the alley. While there are some vegetarian-friendly dishes like ‘Bánh Tráng Trộn’ (request without sausage) and ‘Bánh Bột Lọc’ (transparent dumplings), the choices are relatively few compared to meat-based offerings.

Yes, the alley is known for its sugar cane juice, which is freshly pressed and served with a squeeze of lime. This refreshing drink pairs well with the flavorful dishes offered in the alley.