Foodies from all over the world are of the opinion that Vietnamese cuisine counts as one of the best in Southeast Asia. While it’s true that Thai food still holds supremacy, especially in Western countries, Vietnamese food provides a good contrast to Thai food. Where Thai dishes rely mostly on boldness and heat to give them character, Vietnamese dishes are more subtle and delicate. In addition, Vietnamese cooking focuses heavily on the use of fish and vegetables and doesn’t include a lot of dairy- or oil-based foods making it among the healthiest in the world. Sample these ten fantastic foods so you can have a taste of just how awesome the dishes are in Vietnam.
Banh mi is one of the many products of France’s lasting influence on Vietnamese culture. Filled with proteins that can range from meatballs to omelets, garnished with vegetables that include daikon radish, shredded carrot, cilantro and cucumbers. Finally, it wouldn’t be complete without a generous helping of sliced chili in to make the ultimate banh mi.
This dish is Vietnam’s version of the pancake. Unlike its American breakfast counterpart, Vietnam’s banh xeo is savory, filled with shrimp, eggs, and bean sprouts. These pancakes are typically served with a spicy dipping sauce.
Bun cha is one of the popular lunch foods in Hanoi. It’s a noodle dish containing white rice noodles topped with meat grilled on charcoal. Bun cha is commonly served with a plate of herbs and dipping sauce.
The French brought coffee to Vietnam; soon enough, the Vietnamese have become enamored with the drink. Ca phe is their spin on the drink, which is strong and dark coffee filtered using a French press into a glass with sweet condensed milk. You can have ca phe hot or iced.
In northern Vietnam, especially in Hanoi, dill is not considered a garnish but an actual vegetable. Cha ca is one of those northern Vietnamese dishes that use dill liberally. Flaky white fish that’s fried and seasoned with ginger, garlic, turmeric and lots and lots of dill is what makes cha ca.
The Vietnamese didn’t really take to the French’s love for pastries, preferring to eat fresh, ripe fruits for dessert. But they do get inventive with their fruit desserts, and one such result is the che, a sweet fruit soup where fruits like rambutan, mangoes and jackfruit are mixed with black beans, mung beans, jellies and other stuff.
More likely than not, you have had goi cuon or Vietnamese spring rolls. These spring rolls are a mix of shrimp, herbs and greens wrapped in translucent rice paper wrappers. They often come with a dip made with fish sauce and spices.
Nom Hoa Chuoi
Did you know that bananas have flowers? Well, banana flowers are the main feature of nom hua chuoi, a Vietnamese salad. Mixed with shredded green papaya, carrots and cilantro, these flowers are then thinly sliced. Finally, the salad is usually topped with chopped peanuts and fish sauce.
The national dish of Vietnam and the poster child of Vietnamese cuisine would be pho. Made from beef bones simmered with charred onion and ginger, as well as a spice packet containing coriander, cardamom, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and fennel. This soup is famous for its rich broth, sometimes it takes up to 24 hours to simmer the bones. Aside from this lovingly made broth, a bowl of pho contains translucent rice noodles and flank steak (or chicken). Besides that, it’s also served with a plate of mung bean sprouts, cilantro, fresh mint, lime wedges and sliced Serrano chilies. Some people love their pho with a dash of sriracha and hoisin sauces.
Rau muong is a simple dish of morning glory stir-fried with garlic. It’s usually served as a side dish or as soup topping. Don’t underestimate this dish for its simplicity. It’s crunchy, garlicky and tasty.
Given how popular it has become around the world, it’s highly likely that you’ve already had a taste of Vietnamese food. But nothing tastes better than the original, so plan your food pilgrimage to Vietnam right now. Plenty of other places to explore in Vietnam as well which we’ve listed here!