If there’s one country that’s absolute heaven for food lovers, it’s Vietnam. With a French influence in many of the dishes here, the food is fragrant and full of flavour. You’re sure to see a lot of tempting things here but there’s some Vietnamese dishes that you simply have to try.
From steaming chicken noodle soups to crispy savoury pancakes and frothy coffees, here’s the essential dishes to try in Vietnam. Happy feasting!
Traditional Vietnamese dishes you need to try
Probably one of the most famous Vietnamese dishes, pho is a steaming noodle soup dish that’s traditionally eaten for breakfast. It’s made with rice noodles, bone broth and plenty of fresh herbs. You then add chilli, limi and hoisin sauce to taste. You can either get Pho Ga (chicken) or Pho Bo (beef).
2. Cao Lau noodles
This hearty noodle dish is native to Hoi An, where lye water from a nearby well is used to make the noodles. It can’t really be eaten anywhere else because of this.
It comes topped with slices of barbecue pork, pork crackling, bean sprouts, lettuce and herbs, and crispy deep fried squares of those tasty noodles.
3. Bun Cha
Barack Obama made bun cha famous when he ate it on Anthony Bourdain‘s TV show. This dish comes from the capital city of Hanoi. It’s a mixed plate of grilled fatty pork (chả) over a plate of white rice noodle (bún) and herbs, with a side dish of dipping sauce. Mix the ingredients together as you please!
4. Bánh mì
All bow down to the mighty bánh mì. You’ll see banh mi stalls over the country, serving this simple-yet-delicious sandwich. This is where the French influence comes into play: it’s a soft, fresh baguette, with pate, pork, fresh herbs, pickle carrots and chilli.
It’s the perfect snack for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is perfect drunk/hangover food.
5. White Rose dumplings
Another local Hoi An dish, you can try these delicate dumplings that look like white roses, hence the name. They fill the translucent white dough with spicy mince shrimp or pork and gently steam the dumplings. They come topped with crispy shallot and a tangy dipping sauce.
Be sure to sure to eat this when you’re in Hoi An!
6. Egg Coffee
We know, we know, it sounds a little weird. But egg coffee is a unique coffee treat from Hanoi that’s sweet and super delicious. “Cà phê trúng” is a rich Vietnamese coffee base with frothy egg yolk and condensed milk on top. There’s plenty of places in Hanoi to try it, but the most famous is the original Cafe Giang.
7. Banh Xeo
This famous street food is a crispy Vietnamese take on a savoury pancake. The batter is made from rice flour and coconut milk with turmeric. They then fill it with pork strips, shrimp, bean sprouts and spring onion and fry it to perfection. There’s a certain way to eat ban xeo: you place a piece of it on a rice paper roll, add fresh veggies and dip it into sauce after each bite.