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Vietnamese noodles: Innumerable dishes to fill you up during your trip

16/01/2024 10.436

Vietnamese noodles have many different variations throughout Vietnam, which have been used as staple dishes among the locals. Read on to learn more about these delicious specialties before trying them during your Vietnam trip!

Vietnamese noodles

On your Vietnam travel, you will definitely try Vietnamese cuisine, in which Vietnamese noodles play an important role. There are many different variations of noodles and numerous dishes that are served with noodles. After learning about the noodles in the country, don’t forget to try them and satisfy your taste buds on your vacation in Vietnam!

1. The 7 different types of Vietnamese noodles that you may not know

Vietnamese noodles play an important role in Vietnamese cuisine. Back when Vietnam was still under the reign of Chinese dynasties, noodles were introduced into the country around the time of the East Han Dynasty. Vietnamese people have since then learned the way to make noodles, and modified them into different tasty variations.

Among them, the seven most popular variations are: 

1.1. Pho - The steamed flat rice noodles

Pho is the most popular variation of noodles throughout the country, which is also made from rice like the others but has flatter strands. The two most common dishes of pho are pho bo (beef noodles) and pho ga (chicken noodles).

Vietnamese noodles

Some people say that pho have French origin, as the French brought their beef broth to Vietnam and combined it with Vietnamese noodles. Others say that pho Vietnamese noodles are similar to Chinese noodles, with their buffalo meat replaced by beef in Vietnam. Pho Vietnamese noodles could be found in every street corner in Hanoi from 1910 to 1954. 

In 1954, Vietnam was divided into two regions: the north and the south. When many Northerners migrated to the south, they brought along their pho recipes. Now, in Southern Vietnam, pho Vietnamese noodles are often served with herbs, lime and beansprouts to cool off the hot weather. The broth of pho Vietnamese noodles here is more spicy and sour than that in the north.

1.2. Cao Lau - The unique Udon-like noodles

Cao Lau noodles is an iconic dish in Hoi An Ancient Town, where Chinese and Japanese merchants used to flock to between the end of the 15th and 17th centuries. Hence, some people believed that these Udon-like noodles were introduced here by those merchants. 

The locals process the noodles in mineral-rich water from wells, which results in a unique texture and flavour for the noodles. The noodles are put in bowls, with some beansprouts added. A sauce of lemongrass is poured onto the noodles and beansprouts, topped with slices of grilled pork and vegetables.

Vietnamese noodles

1.3. Rice vermicelli (Bun)

Bun (fresh rice vermicelli) is among the most popular Vietnamese noodle variations in the country. These thin, soft, and white strands of noodles are easy for chefs to prepare various noodle soups, spring rolls, and noodle salads. It has little starch, which is good for digestion. 

You can find various dishes made from bun, such as: bun rieu cua (vermicelli with sour crab broth), bun cha, bun thit nuong (vermicelli with grilled pork), and bun bo Hue (vermicelli with sliced beef).

Vietnamese noodles

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1.4. Thick noodles (Banh canh)

Banh canh (a kind of thick noodle) is more popular in the central and southern regions of Vietnam. The strands can be made from rice flour, wheat flour, tapioca, or rice flour mixed with tapioca, which makes them much bigger than normal vermicelli. Banh canh is often served in a broth with pork knuckles, sausages, and crab. In the Mekong Delta, banh canh is a popular dish for breakfast, with fresh fish broth, fish, and herbs. The seasoning for banh canh varies, depending on the chef and the locals’ taste in each region.

Vietnamese noodles

1.5. Clear rice noodle (Hu tieu)

Hu tieu is a popular noodle dish in Southern Vietnam and is often eaten for breakfast. The dish was introduced to the region from Cambodia in the 1960s. A bowl of hu tieu noodles often includes rice noodles, offal, a quail egg, and a shrimp. There may be other fillings such as pork, pork ribs, pork offal, shrimp, squid, wonton dumplings, fried garlic, fried shallots and scallions, herbs, and chilli sauce. It may be served with or without broth.

Vietnamese noodles

This dish appeared in the U.S. reality show Master Chef in 2013, where the world-famous chef Gordon Ramsay said it was among his top favorite dishes and asked the competitors to prepare a bowl of hu tieu. On another TV show in 2010, the chef was filmed trying the dish at Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho, a province in Southern Vietnam.

1.6. Dried glass noodles (Mien)

Dried glass noodles are made mostly from arrowroot or mung beans. Their strands are thin with a slightly chewy texture. The dried strands are often soaked with water to turn soft and used in dishes such as glass noodles with chicken or glass noodles with fried eels. The noodles can also be used as fillings for fried spring rolls or banh goi (Vietnamese dumplings with meat, mushrooms, vermicelli, and diced vegetables).

Vietnamese noodles

1.7. Vietnamese egg noodles (Mi trung)

Vietnamese egg noodles are a popular Vietnamese food that is made of noodles (mi) and egg (trung). The boiled noodles can either be served dry or with broth. Vietnamese egg noodles can be found at stalls that serve noodles with wonton soup, topped with green onion and shallot broth, char siu pork, and boiled eggs.

Vietnamese noodles

2. The 3 main variations of dishes which are served with Vietnamese noodles

There are three types of Vietnamese noodle dishes, which are “wet” dishes, “dry” dishes, and “rolled” dishes. “Wet” dishes have the noodles and broth in the same bowl. “Dry” dishes have the noodles in a separate bowl and the broth in another, or even without broth altogether. “Rolled” dishes have the noodles wrapped in rice paper.

2.1. Vietnamese noodles soup

Vietnamese noodle soup is a “wet” dish. It has a lot of ingredients and is good for digestion, as there is little starch. There are various dishes for this type, such as: pho (noodles with chicken or beef); different variations of bun (rice vermicelli) like bun rieu, bun bo Hue; banh canh; mi; hu tieu; mien; and banh da cua. The highlight of these dishes is the broth, which is made by boiling pig bones, cow bones, or seafood. 

Vietnamese noodles

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2.2. Vietnamese noodles salad

Vietnamese noodles salad is a type of all “dry” noodle dishes such as bun cha (vermicelli with grilled pork), bun dau mam tom (vermicelli with shrimp paste and fried tofu), and bun bo Nam Bo (Southern beef noodles).

  • Bun dau mam tom (vermicelli with shrimp paste and fried tofu) is simple yet very popular in the North of Vietnam. It can be a good dish for vegetarians. Besides, the delicacy can be served with slices of boiled pork belly, pig’s leg, offal, minced pork, and fried minced pork.
  • Bun cha or bun thit nuong (vermicelli with grilled pork) is a dish to cool off the summer heat. The cool vermicelli goes well with the hot grilled pork, served with some herbs and lettuce. The sour and sweet fish sauce will make this combination even smoother.
Vietnamese noodles
  • Bun bo Nam bo (Southern beef noodles) is another simple yet unforgettably tasty dish. The beef is well-marinated before being stirred with fat. The fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice, chopped chilli and garlic make the flavours of the dish. Some fresh lettuce and herbs are the more healthy ingredients of the dish, while some fatty and crispy roasted peanuts will perfect the flavours. 

2.3. Vietnamese noodles for spring rolls

Vietnamese noodles can also be made into spring rolls, the most typical dishes of which include banh cuon (steamed rice-flour rolls), pho cuon (rice-flour sheet rolls), and goi cuon (fresh spring rolls).

  • Goi cuon (fresh spring rolls or summer rolls). A piece of goi cuon has boiled meat, boiled shrimp, fresh herbs, and fresh vermicelli. The rolls are dipped in a thick soy sauce or sweet and sour peanut sauce with chilli and garlic. If you are a vegetarian, you can choose tofu and mushrooms as fillings for the rolls.
  • Pho cuon: A piece of pho cuon also includes rice-flour noodles, this time the noodles are a thin sheet wrapped outside stirred-in-fat beef. The rolls are dipped in a sweet and sour fish sauce, topped with some chopped chilli, garlic, pickled carrot or radish. Pho cuon is a culinary highlight of Hanoi.
Vietnamese noodles
  • Banh cuon (steamed rice-flour rolls): A piece of banh cuon has a hot rolled sheet of rice-flour noodles wrapping outside minced pork, minced wood ear, onion, and mushroom. The rolls are dipped in a sweet and sour fish sauce. The taste will be perfect with some fresh herbs and fried onions spread on the dish. 

In Vietnam, you can easily find a place to enjoy noodles, such as in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, etc. For each destination that you intend to go to, you should plan in advance where to stay to have the best accommodation experience after exploring the cuisine there.

The hotel and resort system of Vinpearl, a top-rated brand of accommodation with high-class services in Vietnam, is a top suggestion. Vinpearl hotels and resorts are often situated at prime locations, which help you reach all tourist destinations with ease.

Vietnamese noodles
  • Vinpearl Phu Quoc
  • Vinpearl Nha Trang has proved to be a favorite accommodation for many travelers. Vinpearl Nha Trang resorts and hotels all offer high quality services so that you can have a flawless Nha Trang trip. The system has prime locations and unique entertainment services such as spa and gym. It also has modern, luxurious and well-equipped rooms, along with a diverse menu of both Asian and European dishes.
  • Vinpearl Resort & Golf Nam Hoi An is one of the best accommodation systems in the ancient town. The resort has a combination of resort, entertainment, golf, and cultural experiences. 
Vietnamese noodles

Vietnamese culinary art is very diverse, and the same goes for Vietnamese noodles. There are 7 different popular types of noodles and 3 main variations of dishes which are served with noodles. Hopefully, this article will help you learn more about noodles in particular and Vietnamese dishes in general, so that you can better plan for a meaningful and interesting trip to Vietnam.

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