Vietnamese food is influenced by its French colonial past (as seen in banh mi) and its neighbors in China, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, Vietnamese cuisine is a combination of the exciting ingredients offered in these countries while still maintaining its own identity.
Among pho and banh mi that are traditional Vietnamese dishes, there’s so much more to have and taste when in Vietnam. Below are 21 dishes you can’t miss next time you make your way in Vietnam on vacation or to a Vietnamese restaurant.
A Vietnamese crispy crepe, named for the loud sizzling sound it makes when the rice batter hits a hot skillet. A delicious bahn xeo is a sizzling crepe bulging with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, plus fresh herbs that are part of the typical Vietnamese dishes. How locals have a Banh xeo? Roll it up in lettuce leaves or rice paper and dip into whatever special sauce the chef will prepare for you.
3. Bun bo Hue
A delicious Vietnamese soup that is traditionally consumed for breakfast. It consists of pork and beef bones broth, noodles, lemongrass, shrimp paste, lime juice, and a variety of herbs. You can have it with sliced brisket or crab balls. This soup is much spicier than the most Vietnamese soups.
Anthony Bourdain stated that “Bun Bo Hue is the best soup in the world!”
4. Nom hoa chuoi
Nom hoa chuoi is a popular salad, the delicious Vietnams’ banana flower salad has the peeled Banana flowers and thinly sliced on the side mixed with green papaya, carrots, and cilantro along with chicken and a heavy-handed pour of a salty fish sauce dressing and crunchy peanuts.
5. Banh cuon
A rice-based pancake best served with piping hot, with various accompanying food such as Vietnamese ham, raw vegetables, and mixed dipping fish sauce.
Zest is also added by dunking the slippery parcels in a fishy dipping sauce.
6. Pho cuon
They consist of a slightly cooked rice paper shell the same thickness as a Pho noodle. There is a selection of herbs and greens (mainly cilantro, mustard, leaf and lettuce) inside the soft shell, stuffed with sliced beef that has been cooked with garlic and pepper. Usually, it is served cold with a bowl of fish sauce, radish, vinegar, boiled water, chili, and some sugar dipping, garlic, carrots, some sugar for dipping.
7. Pho xao
Pho must be the most well-known Vietnamese dish in the world, Pho Xao which is a bit different from the noodle soup, the ingredients, the ways to process this dish. When done well the outer edges acquire a browned crunchiness, whilst the center stays soft and glutinous. This dish tastes best with a fried egg and seasoned with chili or soy sauce.
8. Bot chien
It is considered the favorite streetside snack in Saigon, Bot Chien is popular as the perfect after school and the after-midnight crowd. Chunks of rice flour dough are fried in a large wok until crispy and then an egg is broken into the mix. It is served, once cooked with slices of papaya, shallots and green onions, added with pickled chili sauce and rice vinegar.
9. Hoa qua dam
The perfect local treat during the hot Vietnamese summers, a chunky blend of fresh tropical fruit in a cup. A fantastic alternative to ice cream.
11. Ca phe trung
It is the Vietnamese “egg coffee”, a creamy soft, meringue-like egg white foam perched on the dense Vietnamese coffee, a drink that you’ll love.
12. Bun Thit Nuong
It is a Vietnamese rice noodle bowl with vegetables, herbs, grilled pork, and a nuoc cham (seasoned fish sauce) dipping sauce.
13. Banh mi
14. Com rang
Com Ran is a dish that includes baby-sized chunks of meat and colourful vegetables mixed with soy and fish sauce in a wok streetside creating a slightly smoky rice dish.
15. Dau phu sot ca chua
Vietnamese Fried Tofu with Tomato Sauce, spicy and sweet, fruity sauce with crispy fried tofu. It’s delicious if served with Thai sticky rice.
16. Canh bun
Similar to the Bun Rieu Crab Soup, but with a different type of noodle, this crab noodle soup is perfect for lunchtime.
Another hearty soup that’s high on the lunchtime agenda, this is a crab and morning glory noodle soup. Canh bun is similar to the more well-known bun rieu crab soup, but has a small handful of variations — including the type of noodle used.
17. Rau muong
Water spinach and morning glory is a leafy swamp vegetable that grows in abundance in Vietnam.
18. Goi cuon
Goi Cuon also known as the fresh spring roll, are rice paper rolls filled with fresh vegetables and herbs, meat, fish or vegetarian. For a complete meal have them with rice vermicelli served with different dipping sauces.
19 Banh knot
A variation of a Vietnamese pancake in different sizes.
Each banh knot can be tasted in one ambitious but satisfying mouthful. The coconut milk is used to make the crunchy outside and the filling consists of mung beans, spring onions, shrimps with a dusting of dried shrimp flakes.
A stewed sweet herbal chicken soup, it is a Hanoi specialty and a sacred traditional recipe that incorporates a special mixture of secret herbs and spices handed down from parent to child over generations. Believed to be something magical to a health tonic by Vietnamese connoisseurs.
21. Ga Nuong
Vietnamese grilled chicken (Ga Nuong): the chicken is infused with the flavors of five-spice, fish sauce, soy sauce, and other quick pantry items then grilled over large flaming barbecues, the chicken legs, wings and feet served are unusually tender, while the skin stays crispy but not dry.