There are plenty of delicious dishes to try in Vietnamese cuisine. The country is known for its abundance in vegetables and herbs, so that’s why they have incorporated these greens as ingredients for food, making several Vietnamese foods as some of the healthiest and most nutritious dishes in the world.
From vegetable soups to spring rolls, Vietnam has a lot to offer when it comes to satisfying and comforting food. Here are 10 of the tastiest Vietnamese dishes that you should try.
The staple comfort food in Vietnam, pho is available in almost every corner and every street in the country. It became so popular that plenty of pho restaurants have popped up in other countries like the United States of America and Indonesia.
There two popular variants of pho, one is the Northern pho while the other is the Saigon pho. Northern pho is said to be the “original pho,” and as such, the bowl of soup has more traditional ingredients in it like green onions, strips of beef, garlic, and cilantro.
On the other hand, the Saigon pho is a customizable variant of pho where you can add bean sprouts and herbs to the broth. You can also add hot sauce and hoisin sauce to the soup to give it extra flavor.
The second most popular Vietnamese food right next to pho, banh mi is a sandwich consisting of pieces of beef, pork, or chicken meat, hoisin sauce, cilantro, pickled carrots, and cucumber that are all contained within a toasted baguette.
Interestingly, the baguette did not originate from Vietnam, as it was introduced by the French during their occupation of the country in the mid-19th century. While the Vietnamese have regularly eaten baguette after the French rule, it was not until the 1950s in Saigon where Bahn Mi was created and became a staple street food.
Goi cuon, or Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, is a common side dish that is usually made of cooked prawns, rice noodles, and vegetables wrapped in a rice paper called bánh tráng. The Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are known for their translucent wrap that lets you see the ingredients filling the wrap inside.
Originally coming from China, The term spring roll was coined from the Chinese tradition of using vegetables harvested during the spring season and wrapping it using a paper-like pastry.
Often called sizzling pancake due to the noisy sizzling sound that the dish makes while being cooked, bahn xeo is a typical street food sold in stalls around Vietnam.
As opposed to the classic pancake that is usually sweet, bahn xeo is a savory variant because of the ingredients found in it. These ingredients include shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, green onions, and mung beans that are combined in a mixture of turmeric powder, rice flour, and water. The turmeric powder gives the bahn xeo its signature yellow color.
Another Vietnamese noodle dish, cao lau is different from pho as it only has a small amount of broth in it. Cao lau consists of pork, vegetables, bean sprouts, and herbs that are mixed with rice noodles soaked in lye water, which gives it its distinct yellowish color and chewy texture.
While it is regularly topped with char siu pork, some stalls also add shrimps to the dish to give it a more meaty taste.
Xoi is a sweet and savory dish that is mainly made from glutinous rice mixed with different kinds of ingredients like mung beans, chicken, pork, or even quail eggs.
There are a lot of varieties of Xoi, but the popular ones are the xoi ga (chicken xoi) and the xoi khoai mi (cassava xoi), which are commonly bought as an on-the-go food. Although they are mostly eaten as a dessert, some parts of Vietnam like the Central Highlands serve it as a main dish.
Bahn cuon is a dish commonly found in Northern Vietnam and is made by filling a thin rice sheet with mushrooms, shallots, and ground pork.
Bahn cuon is typically served with a side dish of bean sprouts, cucumbers, and the Vietnamese pork sausage called cha lua.
A popular lunchtime food in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, bun cha is like a complete meal due to how it is usually served in a tray full of bowls and plates of food.
The first bowl in the bun cha has pieces of pork belly and meatballs that are made from chopped pork shoulder. The second bowl has rice noodles that you will typically see in pho, but this time it is dry and has no added ingredients or seasoning. The third one has pickled vegetables like carrots, onions, or green papaya, while the last plate or bowl contains the dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lemon juice, garlic, and chili peppers.
It is up to the eater as to how they want to eat the dish, but a few will often add sauce to the rice noodles and eat it before taking a bite of the pork belly and the meatballs.
Thit kho tau
The thit kho tau is a dish usually eaten in Southern Vietnam that contains boiled eggs and marinated pork that are braised in coconut juice.
This dish is also traditionally given by the Vietnamese people as an offering to the deceased members of the family and their ancestors during Vietnam’s Lunar New Year. After providing the portion of the dish to the deceased, the leftover portion is then eaten by the family members who gave the offering.
A rice cake typically made from glutinous rice, pork, and mung beans, banh chung is another dish that is associated with Vietnamese tradition.
According to Vietnamese legends, banh chung is meant to symbolize the earth, while another dish called the banh giay symbolizes the sky. Banh chung is made during Vietnam’s Lunar New Year, and it is often placed in altars during this day to give respect to their ancestors. You can also consider Vitamix Recipes as well for quick options!
If ever you go to Vietnam during their Lunar New Year, don’t forget to try and have a taste of one of the country’s symbols of history and culture.