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Vietnamese Food – 10 Must-Try Delicious Vietnamese Dishes

White rose cake (Banh Bao, Banh Vac)

If you’re a foodie curious to explore the best of Vietnamese cuisine, don’t hesitate to savour these 10 must-try delicious dishes that promise a lifetime of unforgettable culinary experiences.

When it comes to Vietnamese food, the country’s cuisine is a vibrant fusion of bold flavours, aromatic spices, fresh ingredients, and centuries-old culinary traditions. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the serene shores of Da Nang and the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), every corner of Vietnam offers a tantalizing array of delightful dishes that are sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

1. Phở – The Soul of Vietnamese food

Phở – The Soul of Vietnamese food

Phở – The Soul of Vietnamese Food

No culinary exploration of Vietnam is complete without savouring a delicious bowl of Phở. Imagine a fragrant broth infused with spices, herbs, tender slices of beef or chicken, and delicate rice noodles. When eating Phở, don’t forget to squeeze some lime juice and add a dash of pepper or chilli flakes into the dish for an extra kick of flavour. Phở is not just a meal; it’s a comforting embrace that warms the soul.

The most famous place to savour the true essence of Phở is Hanoi, where the secret recipes have been passed down through generations. Enjoying a steaming bowl of Hanoi Phở during the winter is surely an unforgettable memory. Besides, Phở in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) usually reflects regional characteristics with lots of fresh herbs and spices.

2. Bánh Mì – Vietnam's Iconic Sandwich

Bánh Mì – Vietnam's Iconic Sandwich

Bánh Mì – Vietnam’s Iconic Sandwich

As a fusion of French and Vietnamese culinary influences, Bánh Mì comes in various preparations, but the most common is a crusty baguette filled with grilled pork, crisp pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, creamy pâté, and sauce. One bite, and you’ll understand why this dish has taken the world by storm.

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is renowned for having the best Bánh Mì, especially Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa.

3. Bún Chả – Hanoi’s Hidden Gem​

Bún Chả – Hanoi’s Hidden Gem​

Bún Chả – Hanoi’s Hidden Gem​

Did you know that Former President Obama savoured Bún Chả Hanoi? So, what makes Bún Chả so prominent that even the President needed to wait to enjoy this dish?

Hailing from the streets of Hanoi, Bún Chả is a delightful combination of sour, spicy, salty, and sweet flavours, which perfectly balances the warmth of grilled pork, the freshness of raw vegetables, and the flavourful vermicelli noodles. Eating this Vietnamese dish is so easy. You simply need to put all the main ingredients into a small bowl and then fill it with fish sauce, which is a mix of carrot, green papaya, chilli, and garlic.

It is interesting to know that we also have a Southern version of this dish. In Southern Vietnam, especially Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), it is called Bún Thịt Nướng. While both dishes feature vermicelli noodles as a base, they differ in their presentation and serving styles. Bún Thịt Nướng is often served as a complete dish with the grilled pork and pork sausage arranged on top of the noodles, accompanied by a generous serving of herbs, vegetables, and dipping sauce on the side.

4. Gỏi Cuốn – Fresh and Healthy Dish

Gỏi Cuốn – Fresh and Healthy Dish

Gỏi Cuốn – Fresh and Healthy Dish

Made with shrimp, pork, vermicelli noodles, and an assortment of crunchy vegetables, all wrapped in rice paper, Gỏi Cuốn (or Fresh Spring Rolls) is indeed a healthy meal that requires very little cooking. Believe it or not, it is a dish that tourists can eat over and over again!

In fact, there is almost no fixed recipe for this dish. Yes, you can put anything you like in your spring rolls. Whether the rolls are delicious or not depends on the dipping sauce. It is fish sauce mixed with crushed chilli, garlic, and lemon juice, all creating a very distinct taste. Sometimes, rich peanut sauce is also another great choice to enjoy this dish.

5. Cao Lầu – The Essence of Hoi An Food

Cao Lầu – The Essence of Hoi An Food

Cao Lầu – The Essence of Hoi An Food

Don’t miss Cao Lầu when you visit Hoi An, Vietnam because this is the iconic food of this town as well as one of the most delicious Vietnamese dishes. According to the locals, the name Cao Lầu means “High Storey” because this food used to be served only to the upper class in the 17th century.

A bowl of Cao Lầu includes chewy rice noodles, tender slices of pork, crisp greens, and crunchy croutons, all bathed in a savoury broth infused with hints of star anise and Chinese five-spice.

6. Bánh Xèo - Vietnamese Sizzling Pancakes

Bánh Xèo - Vietnamese Sizzling Pancakes

Bánh Xèo – Vietnamese Sizzling Pancakes

The name of Bánh Xèo is derived from the sizzling sound when the flour batter is poured into the hot pan. Although this traditional dish can vary in shape and size, its flavour still gives food lovers an interesting experience.

Inside it, you can find a savoury mixture of shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and vegetables. Based on the demand of the diners, eggs can be added or not. Then, wrap it in rice paper and dip it in a special dipping sauce for a burst of flavours and textures.

7. Bún Bò Hue - Spicy Beef Noodle Soup​

Bún Bò Hue - Spicy Beef Noodle Soup​

Bún Bò Hue – Spicy Beef Noodle Soup​

Coming to Hue, you can fall in love with not only its ancient and solemn beauty but also the royal cuisine of the city. Bún Bò Hue is one of the dishes that you should not skip. A bowl of this noodle soup features tender slices of beef, pork hock, and pork blood cakes simmered in a spicy lemongrass-infused broth, garnished with fresh herbs and lime wedges. Cooking this speciality requires skill and meticulousness in the selection of ingredients and the preparation.

8. Cơm Tấm - Convenient Vietnamese Dish for Busy People​

Cơm Tấm - Convenient Vietnamese Dish for Busy People​

Cơm Tấm – Convenient Vietnamese Dish for Busy People​

If Hanoi is well-known for Bún Chả and Phở, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) gets its name outstanding for Cơm Tấm that attracts both domestic and international tourists. For busy people who work inside or outside the office, this popular Vietnamese dish will be a good and convenient choice. It is typically served with tender grilled pork chops served over a bed of fragrant broken rice, accompanied by a sweet and savoury fish sauce dressing, pickled vegetables, and a crispy fried egg.

9. Cá Kho Tộ - The Magic of Clay Pot Cooking​

Cá Kho Tộ - The Magic of Clay Pot Cooking​

Cá Kho Tộ – The Magic of Clay Pot Cooking​

Cá Kho Tộ (Vietnamese Braised Fish in Clay Pot) is one of the many dishes you will smell before you see it. And that aroma will surely make you put aside any plan you are working on and sit down immediately for a meal. To have this speciality, fish will be slowly cooked in a sweet and sour sauce made from a perfect blend of coconut water and sugar in a clay pot until the fish is delicate and flavourful.

In Vietnam, many places serve Cá Kho Tộ, but this dish from Vũ Đại village (Ninh Binh Province) is considered the best one.

10. Nem Rán/Chả Giò - Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls​

Nem Rán/Chả Giò - Fried Vietnamese Spring Rolls​

Nem Rán/Chả Giò – Fried Vietnamese Spring Rolls​

Another must-try Vietnamese food is the fried spring rolls. Depending on each region, the filling varies, but it usually comprises ground pork, shrimp, rice noodles, eggs, wood fungus mushrooms, carrots, and different kinds of seasoning.

So, what are the differences between Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls and Fried Vietnamese Spring Rolls? The main ingredients are the first difference. Furthermore, the fresh ones (called Gỏi Cuốn) can be eaten immediately after being made, while the fried ones (called Chả Giò) must be deep-fried until golden and crispy. Interestingly, you can see this dish at any traditional Vietnamese banquet or celebration.

Along with the above list of 10 must-try delicious Vietnamese dishes, there is still a world of culinary marvels awaiting your discovery, such as Bánh Cuốn, Bánh Canh, Bún Riêu, Bò Lúc Lắc, etc. While the options are endless, allow yourself to embark on a journey through this list, and I guarantee that you will never regret it.

So, it’s time to pack your bags, sharpen your chopsticks, and get ready for a culinary journey with these 10 delicious Vietnamese dishes. Lots of flavourful, interesting, and unique dishes are waiting for you ahead!

Contents: Amasia Travel
Photos: Internet, VnExpress, Vietnam +

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