Vietnamese food has been highly appreciated internationally so far thanks to the global popularity of some prominent dishes, such as Pho and Banh mi. Meanwhile, Vietnamese cuisine is considered as one of the unique cuisines in East Asia. Read this article to know what to eat in your upcoming trip to Vietnam.
1. Banh mi - The Vietnamese sandwich
Banh mi, or the Vietnamese sandwich, is one of the most popular street foods in Vietnam that many tourists want to try. It is considered one of the most prominent remnants of the French colonial period in the South, aside from architectural works, because it was first created in the 19th century and inspired by the French baguette.
Over many years, the locals have changed this Vietnamese food in many ways to adapt to Vietnamese culture. Specifically, inside Bánh mì, they fill it with many ingredients like pork, egg, cucumber, pickled carrot, daikon radish, scallion and cilantro, depending on the demands of food enthusiasts.
For a lot of people, Banh mi is a great suggestion for breakfast, especially for those who have to go to work or school early in the mornings. It is such a cheap and tasty food that it can give people a great start to any busy day. Although Banh mi is available across the country, tourists will find the best one in the southern cities, Ho Chi Minh City for instance.
2. Pho - The Vietnamese rice noodle soup
As a pride of Vietnamese cuisine, Pho is definitely not an unpopular food for many tourists because it has been famous all over the world thanks to its unique flavor. This Vietnamese food originated in Hanoi and was first served to diners in the early 20th century. Despite its apparent simplicity, a bowl of Pho can provide tourists a satisfying meal.
The main ingredient of this best food in Vietnam is a type of rice noodles called “banh pho”, which is larger and flatter than other kinds of rice noodles. Besides, it also consists of broth, herbs and meat - which can typically be sliced beef or chicken. When eating Pho, remember to squeeze some lime juice into the dish and add a dash of pepper or chili flakes for an extra kick of flavor.
With many outstanding features, Pho is known as a quintessential Vietnamese food that international tourists should try once. This food can be eaten at any time of day but people love enjoying it for breakfast. Therefore, in your upcoming trip to Vietnam, start your day with a bowl of Pho before visiting some famous tourist attractions.
3. Bun cha - The Vietnamese grilled meat noodles
Bun cha is a prominent specialty of Hanoi cuisine which any tourist should enjoy once when visiting the capital of the country. Despite being a simple Vietnamese dish, it can satisfy any appetite with its memorable flavor. Rice vermicelli, grilled pork, herbs and fish sauce are all the things that create a unique taste for this dish.
When eating this Vietnamese food, you need to put all the main ingredients into a small bowl and fill it with fish sauce. In particular, the sauce is a mix of chili, garlic, carrot and green papaya. All of these will bring you a distinct sweet and sour flavor which is very suitable for this Vietnamese food and which cannot be found anywhere else.
This Vietnamese food is commonly eaten at lunchtime. Thus, when you get around in Hanoi during this time, you can smell the scent of pork which is grilled over hot charcoal wafts down the sidewalks. This will surely fill your nose and make you immediately hungry.
4. What to eat in Vietnam? Goi cuon - Fresh spring rolls
Goi cuon is the translucent spring roll packed with greens, coriander and minced meat. It is quite similar to the spring roll but it is eaten fresh. To make its outer layer, people take sheets of rice paper and soften them with a little water, then roll them neatly around the main ingredients.
You can find Goi cuon in most Vietnamese food markets. The most common variety of Goi cuon is a combo of pork tenderloin and shelled shrimp. In some Southern places, the locals are creative in preparing this Vietnamese food by adding green bananas and star fruits instead of common vegetables.
There is a special sauce for diners to eat with this Vietnamese food. It is fish sauce mixed with crushed garlic, chili and lemon juice so it has a very distinct taste. In addition, rich peanut sauce is another great suggestion to dunk Goi cuon in.
5. Bun bo Hue - The Hue style beef noodles
Representing the royal cuisine of Hue City, Bun bo Hue is a mighty demonstration of both beauty and taste that make most tourists fall in love with. A bowl of Bun bo Hue includes vermicelli, beef, pork blood, crab cake and broth. In particular, the vermicelli is made from rice flour mixed with the finest flour in a standard ratio to get its moderate toughness.
The highlights of this Vietnamese food are the large vermicelli and thin but big slices of beef, as well as the red-orange broth with an attractive spicy taste. To cook this specialty, the chef needs to be really meticulous with the selection of ingredients and the preparation.
Thanks to its eye-catching appearance and unforgettable taste, this Vietnamese food is one of the must-try foods on your trip. Although it is available throughout Vietnam, the best place to slurp this special soup is in Hue - where it was invented. Therefore, if you intend to go to Hue City, in addition to visiting some imperial fortresses and gorgeous pagodas, don’t forget to eat Bun bo Hue there.
6. Cao lau - The Hoi An noodles
If you have a chance to visit Hoi An Vietnam, you should enjoy Cao lau - the iconic food of this ancient town and one of the famous Vietnamese foods. Many people are curious about the origin of its special name. According to the explanation of the locals, Cao lau means “high storey” because it used to be only served for the upper class who usually dined on the upper floors in the 17th century.
As a renowned noodle specialty invented in Hoi An, this Vietnamese food is the combination of Chinese, Japanese, and local cuisine. A bowl of Cao lau includes Japanese udon-like noodles, roasted pork, herbs, bean sprouts and crunchy croutons. The highlight of this Vietnamese food is the sauce which is uniquely made by the locals.
People believed that the authentic flavor of Cao lau comes from the organic herbs from Tra Que Vegetable Village and the water from Ba Le Ancient Well. This makes a lot of tourists more eager to visit Hoi An and enjoy this specialty.
7. Mi Quang - The Quang style noodle soup
Mi Quang mostly contributes to the renown of Da Nang and Quang Nam cuisines. It is likened to the spirit of these culinary cultures and is chosen to be served on many important occasions. Like vermicelli or Pho, Mi Quang is also made from rice flour but has a completely distinct flavor.
Cooking Mi Quang is not difficult but there are many stages in the cooking process. This Vietnamese food can be made into many different versions such as meat shrimp noodles, chicken noodles, frog noodles, duck noodles, snakehead fish noodles,... With the difference between such main ingredients, each version will give you an unforgettable experience.
Mi Quang is usually eaten for dinner. Under the layer of the noodles, you can find raw vegetables such as basil, white bean sprouts, coriander, fresh lettuce, laksa leaves, finely chopped scallions and thinly sliced banana flowers. In addition, this Vietnamese food is also served with sesame rice paper and crispy roasted peanuts.
8. Bun cha ca - Fish cake noodle soup
Nha Trang is famous throughout the country for its grilled fish cake noodle soup, or Bun cha ca. This Vietnamese food is one of the famous specialties of the coastal city that has a clear broth and a rich flavor of fish cakes. It is this wonderful taste that fascinates anyone who comes to this beautiful city.
This Nha Trang specialty can have many variations depending on where you find it. Normally in Nha Trang, the broth is light, pure and just a tad sweet. The grilled fish cake is made from fresh mackerel and sailfish bones that have been stewed. Each bite is extremely chewy and fragrant.
Coming to Nha Trang and enjoying a bowl of Bun cha ca, you can clearly feel the breath of the sea - the feature of this city. When eating this Vietnamese food, you should not forget to add fresh peppers, fried onions and herbs for the best flavor.
9. Com tam - Broken rice
If Hanoi is famous for Pho, Saigon is well-known for Com tam that delights both domestic and international tourists. This is a popular Vietnamese food that suits many people’s tastes. It is typically served with grilled pork or fried eggs. Like other Vietnam food, it also includes a bit of lime juice, fresh herbs and spring onions.
This Vietnamese food is palatable thanks to the harmonious combination of the ingredients including grilled pork chops and green vegetables. In addition to the above ingredients, broken rice is also often served with scallion oil and some sour things such as radish, carrot, tomato, cucumber or papaya.
In addition, its sauce contributes to the characteristic flavor of this Vietnamese food. This sauce is the mixture of fish sauce, water and sugar. The sweetness of the fish sauce depends on the taste of each person. Sometimes, people also add garlic and chili to the fish sauce to enhance the flavor.
10. Banh xeo - Crispy pancakes
Banh xeo is a very familiar dish to the Vietnamese. It is always mentioned by many foreigners when visiting Vietnam. In fact, this dish was inspired by the French crepes and originated in Central Vietnam. Nowadays, this Vietnamese food is varied to suit the different tastes and customs of each locality. However, the unique flavor still remains and gives diners many unforgettable feelings when they try this dish.
Inside it, you can find a mix of ingredients including pork, shrimp and vegetables. Eggs can be added depending on the demands of the diners. The right way to enjoy this dish is to wrap it in rice paper and dip it in a special pork liver and peanut sauce before crunching into the crispy treats.
Like most Vietnamese food, you can find Banh xeo in any large city. If you travel to the Central region of Vietnam, try Banh xeo in Da Nang City.
In addition to the rich cuisine, Vietnam has a large number of tourist attractions and entertainment areas for you to explore. Therefore, you should choose a good accommodation for your stay to experience all the not-to-be-missed things in Vietnam and optimize your travel time.
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Vietnamese food is superbly attractive and diversified from region to region. After reading about the top 10 must-try foods in Vietnam, have you felt any craving yet? If the answer is “yes”, visit Vietnam and enjoy these dishes as soon as you can. For the most well-planned trip to explore Vietnamese food, remember to book rooms Vinpearl Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang and other famous destinations in Vietnam to enjoy plenty of delicacies with ease!