Vietnam is famous for many things. Its rolling hills, surreal Halong Bay, lush rice terraces, and forested mountains make it one of the shining jewels of Southeast Asia. And above all of these, Vietnam is a foodie’s paradise. Its food scene has been shaped by many factors throughout the course of history. Earlier, rice, plants, fish, meat, and herbs were the simple base of the Vietnamese diet. Later with time, it has taken elements from Chinese cuisine, French cuisine, and also has taken elements and techniques from some other European cuisine too. The introduction of chocolate and coffee to the nation was done by European colonialists. Vietnamese foods are distinctively flavorful. Their cuisine has a beautiful blend of heat, sweetness, sourness, and rich herbaceous aromatics. They eat different sauces. They eat seafood and rice is a staple for them even now. Below are 11 of the very popular Vietnamese foods that you just can’t afford to miss.
Most Delicious And Traditional Vietnamese Foods To Try:
No list of Vietnamese cuisine is complete without ‘Pho’. All the food streets of the main cities are rimmed with pho stands selling pho. It is served in households, restaurants to everywhere. An essential Vietnamese food that is basically a noodle soup that has various greens and meat in it. As a side, they eat fermented fish sauce or chili sauce. This quintessential Vietnamese food is eaten as a breakfast dish and the aromatic and salty broth, sprinkles of herbs, freshly cooked noodles, and chicken or beef – pho is a plain, simple, and tasty option to start a day. It can get from more simple to more exotic according to the usage of herbs and greens.
One of the most authentic Vietnamese foods, Banh xeo is a crepe kind of thing where the bread is made with rice flour, coconut cream, and turmeric and then it gets stuffed with shrimp, pork belly, and bean sprouts. If you can’t manage the whole crepe at a time (which you obviously can’t), cut it into slices, add some lettuce and herb to the sliced wrap, dip it into some fish sauce, and give it a bite to feel how crisp and tasty it is.
This Vietnamese dish did originate in Northern Vietnam. It is a savory rolled cake that is made from thinly steamed rice flour wrapped in a mixture of ground pork, minced mushroom, minced jicama, and minced shallots. The freshness of the herbs, sliced cucumber along with steamed pork roll and a yummy serving of fish sauce – it is delectable.
Bank Cuon Hai Nam is one of the best restaurants in Saigon where you can have the best Banh Cuon.
Goi Cuon or the Vietnamese spring rolls or rice paper rolls traditionally consist of rice vermicelli, pork slices, prawn or shrimps, different veggies, and basil. All these things get wrapped up in translucent rice paper wrapping which is made up of rice and water. It is loaded with meat and fish, so is full of protein and on the other hand, veggies and herbs make sure that you are getting proper nutrients. Vietnamese people eat this wrap with a ground chili and hoisin dipping sauce and it is one of the healthiest kinds of rolls that you can gorge on without any guilt feeling.
Ga Tan is a greenish stewed herbal chicken soup and is a specialty of Hanoi. A secret mix of herbs and spices is added to the soup and this soup which is obviously very tasty is considered a health tonic by the Vietnamese people. The chicken broth gets the exact amount of flavor from an adult chicken. The chicken gets good marination of salt and spices, then it is left like that for some time and then they simmer it with herbs, nuts, and seeds, and the yummy delicacy is prepared. One of the best traditional Vietnamese foods to try whilst in Hanoi.
Ca Kho To:
You can call it Vietnamese braised fish in a clay pot. It is also a Vietnamese staple where fish is caramelized in a clay pot. When the fish is kept for braising in the pot, it gets softened and absorbs all the flavors of sugar and fish sauce. Shallots, chili, and ginger are added to the caramel sauce and black pepper is also added to the preparation that provides it the perfect amount of hotness. One of the most authentic Vietnamese foods to try.
A hearty meal that is inexpensive and can be found at any streetside food stalls, Com tam is a dish of broken rice served with meats and topped with fried egg and onions. It is arguably the most iconic Saigon food and tastes delicious when you get to eat it with grilled pork chops and an excellently flavorful fish sauce. Being one of the most accessible Vietnamese foods, Com tam is a favorite among rich, poor, kids, and adults. When you are in Saigon, it is a must-try dish.
This is the Vietnamese version of the sandwich and is one of the most popular street foods. Banh mi is all about a French baguette which is stuffed with chosen ingredients like a selection of greens, paté, pork, and other fillings like beef, chicken, liver, and tofu. Every country has its own variety of sandwiches and this is the traditional Vistenaese one.
The country is popular for its desserts too. So when writing about the best Vietnamese foods, we must mention some of the yummiest Vietnamese desserts too. Vietnamese desserts come with unique flavors and textures and they are often low in sugar and are comparatively healthier. If you can’t do without sweets, these below-listed desserts are some of the must-tries.
Che Ba Mau:
It is a three-color dessert that is generally topped with coconut milk. Coconut is one of the quintessential ingredients that Vietnamese people use in their desserts. This dessert uses a layer of yellow mung bean paste, then a layer of soft red beans, and again gets layered with bouncy jelly bites. On top of everything, a rich creamy layer of coconut milk is poured. The layers of this refreshing dessert are customizable and it is a delight to have it on a hot and humid day from a cup that is served with ice topping.
Che Troi Nuoc:
Chè trôi nước translates to “floating dessert wading in water” and tastes incredibly flavorful and unique. You won’t get to taste a dessert as unique as this, anywhere else. Here you will get to see ball kinds of things floating on a sugary syrup. These balls are made of glutinous rice and are filled with a paste of mung beans. Then these prepared balls are cooked in a ginger syrup that is made of water, sugar, and grated ginger roots. The sellers serve this yummy delicacy hot with a fine garnishing of sesame seed and coconut milk. This is one of the most popular Vietnamese foods that is eaten on special traditional holidays too.
Che Phe Trung Or Vietnamese Egg Coffee:
We have talked about a handful of traditional Vietnamese foods and now it is time for some beverage, a beverage that the country is crazy about. Egg coffee or ‘ca phe trung’ is a traditional Vietnamese drink that is prepared with egg yolks, condensed milk, coffee, and sugar. They serve it hot or cold. The cold one, kind of tastes like ice cream, and the hot one will surely woo with its deliciousness. Hanoi’s streets are flooded with coffee shops selling this signature Vietnamese coffee and it is so different. If you are an avid coffee lover, you must taste this unique egg coffee whilst in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi coz Hanoi serves it the best.