There’s a saying that Vietnamese food is unforgettable, and it’s definitely not an exaggeration. The country indeed has some tasteful dishes that won’t leave your mind once you’ve gotten a taste of them.
Like dishes from other Southeast Asia countries, Vietnamese cuisine tends to have strong tastes and flavours, ranging from savoury, sweet, sour, and spicy.
Spices like onions, pepper, candlenut, and coriander are the key point of Vietnamese foods. Moreover, they also have a special sauce that’s unique to their cuisine, which is a kind of fermented fish sauce called nuoc mam.
Nowadays, you can find and enjoy Vietnamese food almost everywhere. No matter which country you live in, there will be a stall or restaurant that offers Vietnamese dishes. Although, the tastes usually have been adjusted to the customers’ preferences.
That’s why! If you’re looking for authentic Vietnamese cuisine, the best way is, of course, to visit the country! You can also experience the authentic experience of enjoying Vietnamese cuisine while learning the culture. Amazing, isn’t it?
Without further ado, let’s jump into the list of the best Vietnamese food you need to try!
1. Goi Cuon (Transparent Spring Roll)
Let’s start small with an appetizer kind of food, the goi cuon!
Spring rolls have become one of the most common dishes in Asia, but this spring roll is special with its transparent look. The secret? The spring rolls use bánh tráng or rice paper that’s mainly made of rice flour.
A traditional goi cuon will be filled with pork, prawn, vegetables, bún (rice vermicelli), and other ingredients. You can eat the rolls right away or dip them into the sweet and salty hoisin sauce. Some even serve goi cuon with peanut sauce!
For Muslim friends, don’t be sad just yet! Some local sellers or restaurants sell halal goi cuon, so you can still enjoy the rolls 🙂
2. Banh Xèo (Vietnamese Pancake)
Banh xèo is known as a snack from Vietnam. The name itself comes from the sizzling sound you hear when a batter is poured into a hot pan (xèo – sizzling
It looks like a pancake but the size is much bigger. The filling is very nutritious as it is made from meat, shrimp, bean sprouts, and fried eggs along with green veggies. It is one of the most popular street foods you can find in Hanoi.
Commonly, it is covered with paper and before enjoying it, dip it first in nuoc mam or the fish sauce. Banh Xeo is also one of the favorite foods to bring when you have a trip by train.
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3. Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
The next popular dish from Vietnam is pho.
The stalls of this Vietnamese noodle are all-around mainly if you are hanging out in Hanoi. This noodle soup is different from ramen and other similar things. The noodle itself is made from rice flour so that the texture is thinner and softer.
For the topper, it has minced chicken or beef. The broth is savory with typical tastes of spices made from coriander and pepper. Generally, this dish is cheap despite its good taste. So, you must try it!
4. Bánh mì (Vietnamese Baguette)
Next, there’s bánh mì, another popular dish you must try! This food can easily be found whether in premium restaurants or on the streets. Of course, what makes them different is the quality of ingredients used.
Bánh mì itself is basically a French baguette that has been modified with Vietnamese spices. Yes, during the colonization era, the French introduced this dish to the people and it seemed that they just loved it.
For the filling, bánh mì has sliced cucumber, carrot pickles, coriander, and grated turnip. But overall, this food can be modified with any vegetables you want.
5. Bánh Huế (Vietnamese Rice Cake)
Asia has various kinds of rice cakes with distinct tastes and appearances that sets one apart from the other. Among the vast Vietnamese cuisine, there is bánh huế.
This snack is originally from the area of Central Vietnam and, uniquely, it still has so many variants based on which side ingredients are used. Some of them are bánh bèo, bánh nậm, bánh rán, and bánh bột lọc.
Of all the variants of bánh, bánh huế is the most popular and the easiest one to find. It is mainly made from rice flour with dried shrimp, leek, and grilled peanuts. Similar to many other dishes from Vietnam, you should eat it with nuoc mam to make it more delicious!
6. Cha Ca (Spicy Turmeric Fish)
For people in Hanoi, cha ca or Cha ca La Vong is a very special dish that can be only found in one particular area. It’s pieces of fish with spices such as onion, turmeric, ginger, and sweet fennel. The fish is cooked on a hot plate.
In Cha Cha La Vong, the price for a portion of Cha Cha is quite expensive. If you want to try the cheaper one, you can go to the area of Duong Than in the Hoan Kiem district, not too far from Cha Cha La Vong.
7. Xôi Mặn (Savory Sticky Rice)
Xoi is one of the best Vietnamese foods but unfortunately, it is just very underrated. This is the main menu made from sticky rice that has been spiced in such a way to make it taste savoury. There are some side dishes to eat together with the rice. It can be sliced chicken to fried eggs with vegetables as you wish.
While the side dish is flexible, there is something that must be served together with it. Yes, the sticky rice is topped with the spread of dried garlic to enrich its aroma.
8. Chạo tôm (Vietnamese Shrimp Nugget)
Chạo tôm can function as a side dish to serve together with rice or as a snack.
The main ingredient of chạo tôm is shrimp, which is minced smoothly, mixed with spices, and covered with sugar cane. Next, chạo tôm is steamed to manage the shape before it is served. Usually, it looks like nuggets with Vietnamese spices.
Chạo tôm can be directly served after being steamed. Don’t worry, it has been cooked well and the taste is also delicious. But you can also fry or bake it to enrich the flavor and make it crunchier!
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9. Bò nướng lá lốt (Vietnamese Baked Floss)
Talking about popular Vietnamese dishes, it feels lacking if you don’t mention bò nướng lá lốt. It actually has a long name, thịt bò nướng lá lốt which means baked ground meat or baked Floss.
The main ingredient is beef, chicken, or pork that is ground and spiced. The meat is then covered with betel leaves and then traditionally baked on the charcoal stove.
Aside from its savory taste, bò nướng lá lốt is very aromatic due to the betel leaf covering it. The aroma smells slightly like perfume or incense.
10. Mì Quảng (Savory Noodle Soup)
Lastly, there is the next underrated but tasty Vietnamese food you need to try! It’s said to be underrated as it is rarely found in the main list of the best dishes in the country. But don’t worry, since Mì Quảng is really delicious and the price tends to be quite affordable.
Mì Quảng is another noodle soup but there are more toppings such as meat, shrimp, fried peanuts, mint leaves, and quail eggs. The broth is savory with vegetable oil. It’s quite easy to find this Vietnamese food on the streets. So, make sure to taste it!
How was the list? Full of mouth-watering Vietnamese food, right? 🙂
You should definitely plan a trip to Vietnam if your schedule allows it. Look for the perfect flight and hotel to stay in Vietnam at Airpaz.com, Airpaz Android app, or iOS app and enjoy days of exploring the streets of Vietnam and the crazily good food!
Here are some hotel recommendations for your stay in Vietnam!
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