You may expect soups and sandwiches when you treat yourself to Vietnamese cuisine, but this is far from the whole picture. Offering a variety of piquant flavours, delectable textures and mouthwatering aromas, cuisine in Vietnam is something you need to experience on a regular basis. Before you place your first order, take the time to get to know this cuisine’s tasty dishes. Who knows? You may even develop a tasty new habit.
How to eat like a Vietnamese local
Most people who wish to experiment with Vietnamese cuisine should start their adventure at the breakfast table. Typically a savoury meal, breakfast generally consists of broken rice served with grilled meats and vegetables. Alternatively, you could treat yourself to a crepe stuffed with shredded meat and a delicate sauce. The next meal of the day, lunch, is typically eaten on the run so you get to try some of the finest street foods in the world. Grab a banh mi or tasty grilled pork served with noodles. Finally, Vietnamese cuisine is rounded off by sumptuous dinners. If you dine at a Vietnamese restaurant you can order several different meals that all of your guests can share. Generally, this includes grilled or stewed meat, rice, noodles, vegetables and some kind of soup.
Things you might not know about food in Vietnam
Palate teasing facts:
- There is no specific preferred protein in Vietnam. Chefs who create these meals use chicken, beef, pork and seafood in equal measure.
- Food in the south of Vietnam is generally spicier than food found in the north due to the heavy Thai influence that exists in the region.
- Vietnamese cuisine usually consists of one of the five flavours that are iconic in this country.
- A large bowl of herbs is typically served alongside all Vietnamese meals to accentuate the flavour of the dish.
Iconic Vietnamese dishes
These dishes are full of flavour and enjoyed the world over:
- Pho: This chicken or beef soup is probably one of the most well-known dishes of Vietnam. It consists of a bone broth, noodles, and fresh herbs. Diners finish the soup with chilli, lime juice and hoisin sauce to taste.
- Banh Mi: These delectable sandwiches comprise some kind of protein and fresh salad served on a crispy baguette. This dish is a nod to the French influences that are common in Vietnam.
- Cao Lau noodles: Tasty noodles made from the lye water found in the Hoi An region of Vietnam, the only place in the world where you can indulge in this tasty dish. Typically, this noodle dish is served with grilled pork, crackling and fresh vegetables.
- Banh Xeo: This savoury pancake hits all the right notes. The light batter is filled with a variety of meats and vegetables before being fried to perfection.
We highlight the hidden food gems:
- Egg coffee: Coffee is one of the most important aspects of Vietnamese cuisine. This is made with frothy egg yolks, fragrant coffee and sweet condensed milk to create the perfect pick-me-up.
- White Rose dumplings: Although this may sound like a dessert it is, in fact, a delightful savoury dish. These little dumplings are filled with spiced pork and shaped into delicate roses.
- Tiet Canh: This is a blood pudding made from the blood of ducks or pigs. The chef lets the blood coagulate before cooking it into a delectable dish.