In the depths Southeast Asia lies the 15th most populous country in the world – Vietnam. This is a rich and diverse country which serves as an active melting pot for various cultures and people. When it comes to food in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is the place to be!
Most Popular Vietnamese Dishes
Traditionally, Vietnamese cuisine is based around five core taste elements, spicy, sour, salty, sweet and bitter. Common ingredients across the country include fish sauce, shrimp paste, rice, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables.
With its minimal use of oil and emphasis on herbs and vegetables, it is considered one of the healthiest diets out there! Of the incredible traditional dishes you can try in Vietnam, these are the most popular for both locals and tourists to try.
Of course, an absolute classic and popular dish found all over Vietnam, Pho! Tourists will not have a hard time finding this delicacy!
Pho is a dish made from rice noodles and served in a bowl with either a broth or bean sprouts, orange leaves and sliced meat as a topping. The meat used to make the dish is quite diverse and can be chicken, pork or beef. Definitely, a must-have when visiting!
Banh Mi is living proof of the French influence in Vietnam. Baguettes are used as the main ingredient of the Banh Mi. The bread is filled with either meat of chicken as well as pickled turnips or carrots.
This sandwich shaped dish has a spicy and savory taste. The dish is sold from every corner store stall to the fanciest restaurants around. Banh Mi is best had as a breakfast item.
This pancake-like dish is made from flour and vegetables that are mixed with shrimp on a dough. The dough is shaped like a bowl. The dish has a delightfully savory taste with a blend of authentic Vietnamese spices.
This menu is quite popular as a snack to prop up your hunger for the main course. Banh Khot is usually enjoyed along with spicy fish sauce and fresh vegetables.
This is another variation of pancakes or crepes but of a larger size. Banh Xeo is made from a mixture of flour, rice, coconut milk and turmeric and then it is filled with sauteed meat, shrimp and bean sprouts. This dish has a crisp and savory taste.
One of the all-time greatest Vietnamese dishes, Banh Cuon or steamed rice cake is made from ground rice dough. Which is then pressed until very thin layers are formed.
The minced meat and vegetables make up the filling. The ingredients are then steamed and served with cucumber slices, lettuce leaves, shrimp tempura or green fried beans.
Goi Cuon or Vietnamese rolls are salad rolls filled with slices of meat or shrimp. This is then boiled or steamed. These foods are usually enjoyed fresh and warm with peanut sauce. This dish is one of the nation’s favourite foods, found nearly everywhere.
Ca Kho To
Otherwise known as caramel fish, is fish that is boiled with sugar and a lot of spices until it has a soft texture. This meat is cooked in a container made out of clay.
The use of the clay aims to hold the heat from the meat to make it more durable. This is a classic dish, first being made in ancient times.
Also known as broken rice is also an amazing dish worth checking out. It is named such because the basic ingredients of the dish are wrecked rice.
Com Tam rice has a dense yet soft texture. It is eaten along with side dishes which are usually made from pieces of meat or vegetables.
Bo La Lot
Bo La Lot is a dish which consists of minced beef which is seasoned with strong spices and sugar. All of this is then rolled into fresh betel leaves.
The dough is then grilled on very hot coals and served with rice and fresh vegetables. You must try it with its special Bo La Lot sauce.
Bo Luc Lac
This is a must-try for any meat lovers out there! This food is a sauteed meat that is seasoned with special Vietnamese spice and is cooked slowly to produce meat that has an incredibly soft texture.
It is usually served on top of tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers and is enjoyed with rice or chips, pepper sauce and lime.
Banh Trang Nuong (Vietnamese Pizza)
Banh Trang Nuong is a Vietnamese-style pizza made using grilled rice paper, instead of dough, as its base. It is typically eaten as a quick, cheap snack and enjoyed throughout the country.
Any toppings can be used with some of the most popular being tuna, chili, egg, cheese, spring onion and canned meat.
Check out our Vietnamese pizza recipe to try it for yourself!
Porridge or chao in each region in the country has unique and different recipes and presentations as well. Generally, though Chao is made from very soft rice and is served along with sliced chicken, offal, fish or even fried breadcrumbs, whatever floats your boat.
It is usually topped with fried onions, black pepper powder and bean sprouts as well as lime leaves. This dish is best enjoyed while it is still piping hot!
Let these dishes be your introduction to the flavor-bomb cuisine of Vietnam! If you’re a newcomer to Vietnamese cuisine, you’re in for a yummy journey ahead of you. Tam Biet!