The first thought that pops into people’s mind usually when they think of Vietnam is most likely food. In practically all corners of the world you will find a Vietnamese restaurant operated by Vietnamese immigrants that have proudly taken on the role as ambassadors of Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese cuisine is both healthy and incredibly robust in flavor. Fresh herbs and greens play a crucial role in Vietnamese cuisine and is one of the reasons why Vietnamese cuisine seems to have its way into the food scene all over the world. Although there are certainly more then just 10 dishes that are worth trying when you visit Vietnam here is our list of top ten things to try when going to Vietnam.
- Check out our Saigon Food Tour on Scooters or our Saigon Night Walking Food Tour
- Also read…Eat like a local in downtown Saigon
Not surprisingly Pho is at the top of our list. To start with Pho is pronounced “fuh” in Vietnamese unlike “fo” as it is often mistaken as outside of Vietnam. Without out a doubt Pho is Vietnams most popular export in the world first gaining notoriety when Vietnamese immigrants in California introduced the dish following the American-Vietnam War. Even though there is a good chance you have already sampled it outside of Vietnam it would be an absolute crime not to try it when you are in the country. To give a brief introduction Pho is a soup consisting of borth, rice noodles, herbs, a meat of your choice usually chicken or beef. Depending on where you are in the country the Pho may differ. Pho is a served by street vendors on practically every corner in Vietnam and it is absolutely to sample as many bowls of pho as possible during your trip to Vietnam.
Following Barack Obama’s visit to Hanoi in 2016 the popularity of Bun Cha has risen significantly. Bun Cha is a Ha Noi dish that consists of vermicelli noodles, grilled pork and a delicious dipping broth accompanied by fresh herbs. It is the most common lunch eaten in HaNoi each day but can be found in most places in Vietnam.
Similar to a crepe or pancake, banh xeo is made of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric, which you can fill it with vermicelli noodles, chicken, pork or beef slices, shrimps, sliced onions, beansprouts, and mushrooms. Most roadside stalls, local markets, and restaurants sell a platter of banh xeo for about VND 15,000 to VND 25,000, which usually comes with a side of fresh lettuce or rice papers. Eat like a local by wrapping your banh xeo in mustard leaf, lettuce leaves or rice papers together with nem lui (lemongrass pork skewers), mint leaves, basil, before dipping in fermented peanut sauce.
4.Banh Cuon (Rolled Cake)
Originating from Northern Vietnam, Banh Cuon is made from a thin, wide sheet of steamed fermented rice batter filled with a mixture of cooked seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and minced shallots. The rice sheet in Banh Cuon is extremely thin and delicate. It is made by steaming a slightly fermented rice batter on a cloth that is stretched over a pot of boiling water.
Another iconic dish of Vietnam that Banh Mi is the perfect example of Franco-Vietnamese cuisine. A baguette sandwich served typically with pickled carrot, cucumber slices, coriander, chili, pate and a meat such as pork. The Banh Mi originates in Saigon but can be found being sold by street vendors practically all over Vietnam.
6.Bun Thit Nuong
Bun Thit Nuong is vermicelli noodles, chopped lettuce, sliced cucumber, bean sprouts, pickled daikon, basil, chopped peanuts, and mint topped with grilled pork shoulder. An exceptionally filling dish that can be found on most street corners throughout the country.
7.Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Rolls)
If you are craving something more fresh then this is your answer. Often referred to as “summer rolls” they are typically packed with crispy salad, prawns and pork, and served with a sweet-and-spicy dip topped with peanuts. They make for a perfect light snack and are sold on street corners throughout the entire country.
This dish is so popular in Hanoi that there is a street named after these fried morsels of fish. In this alley you will find the establishment Ca Ca La Vong, which serves the sizzling chunks of fish seasoned with garlic, ginger, turmeric, and dill on a hot pan table side. 4
Saigon’s go to street side snack has a reputation for being the popular dish of choice in the late hours or early mornings on the weekends. Chunks of rice flour dough are fried in a large wok until crispy and then an egg is broken into the mix. Once cooked it’s served with slices of papaya, shallots and green onions, before more flavor is added with pickled chili sauce and rice vinegar.
10. Cao Lau