No trip to Vietnam is complete without sampling the world-famous Vietnamese cuisine. But what are the best foods in Vietnam? And where can they be found? This guide will show you which dishes cannot be missed, and get your mouth watering in anticipation for your trip.
1. Pho (fuh)
Pho is perhaps the most well-known Vietnamese dish. This delicious soup consists of rice noodles, meats and veggies, often served with a side of fermented fish or chilli sauce. Whilst its origins remain a mystery, today Hoi An's central market offers a phenomenal pho experience. Top Tip: Find the stall with a photo of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain enjoying their signature dish.
2. Mi Quang (me wang)
Easily identifiable by its yellow-coloured noodles, this popular lunch dish is seasoned with fish sauce shallots, herbs and black pepper, as well as a variety of meats. Originating from Da Nang, this dish is one of Vietnam's best-eats, and the city's Mi Quang Ba Vi has long held a reputation as a go-to place for an authentic mi quang experience. Banh Mi is similar to the French baguette, with Vietnamese ingredients.
3. Banh Mi (beng mee)
A tasty and convenient snack when you're on-the-go, banh mi is a Vietnamese twist on the toasted French baguette and came into being when Vietnam was a French colony. This is one of the Vietnamese foods you have to try, and there are a wide variety of meat and other fillings you can add to the pickled vegetables, pate, soy sauce and chillies with which it's traditionally served. The aptly named Banh Mi Queen in Hoi An is a strong contender for the crown of the ultimate banh mi.
4. Goi Cuon (ghio kwoon)
One of the best healthy foods in Vietnam is goi cuon. Wrapped in rice papers, this Vietnamese summer roll is packed with noodles, pork slices, shrimp, basil and lettuce, and is often served as a snack or starter. Originating in the south, this dish is known by different regional names - often simply called 'rice papers'. A popular snack for locals, you will find goi cuon on street stalls throughout Vietnam.
5. Banh Xeo (beng se-oh)
Another staple of Vietnamese cuisine is banh xeo. Similar to a pancake or crepe, banh xeo is made with coconut milk, rice flour and turmeric, with your choice of fillings! Popular options include vermicelli noodles, chicken, pork or even shrimp. You will find this dish at most road-side stalls and restaurants, but where better to try it than the region of its origin - central Vietnam. Ba Duong restaurant in Da Nang is so dedicated to the dish that it's the only thing on the menu!
6. Xoi Xeo (soi se-oh)
Served with shallots, soy sauce and mung bean paste, xoi xeo is a sticky sweet and savoury rice dish. Eaten at all times of day, xoi xeo has many variations across Vietnam, and can be a great snack choice for vegans and vegetarians!
7. Com Tam (coom taam)
Translating as 'broken rice', com tam is an appetising product of the famous Vietnamese paddy fields. This much-loved breakfast and lunch dish is traditionally served with fried egg, diced green onions, various meats and other toppings. Whilst starting life in the south, com tam has spread throughout Vietnam and is a favoured street food amongst the locals of Da Nang.
8. Ca Kho To (cah khaw toh)
For seafood lovers, ca kho to is one of the best Vietnamese meals going. This catfish filet is caramelised in rich gravy and served with soy and fish sauces, shallots and seasoning inside a clay pot. Head to coastal towns such as Da Nang and Hoi An for fresh Vietnamese seafood.
9. Banh Cuon (beng kwoon)
A simple snack to enjoy as you sight-see, banh cuon sees ground meat or seafood, mushrooms, onions and ham rolled into a rice flour sheet. Like other top Vietnamese dishes, banh cuon is sold by street vendors across the country. Top Tip: The port city of Da Nang is a great place to try banh cuon with delicious fresh shrimp.
10. Bun Thit Nuong (bun tit noong)
Unlike most noodle dishes, bun thit nuong doesn't come in a soup, but a side of fermented fish adds exciting flavours. Served with lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, and peanuts, and topped with pork shoulder bun, thit nuong is a hearty option for those who can never have enough to eat. Whilst now a favourite food in southern Vietnam, the dish originated in the central region and the former capital city of Hue is a great place to grab a plate. The street vendors and restaurants on Bach Dang Street offer delicious bun thit nuong, and you can walk it off after with a stroll to the nearby temples and canals.
Now your taste buds are all fired up, get in touch with one of our travel experts at Hoot Holidays - there's plenty more where this came from!