Master Vietnam Street Foods Top To Try in 2023
Vietnam street food has been highly appreciated internationally so far thanks to the global popularity of some prominent dishes, such as Pho and Banh mi. Meanwhile, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the unique cuisines in East Asia. Read this article to know what to eat on your upcoming trip to Vietnam.
1. Com tam – Broken rice Southern Vietnam
If Hanoi is famous for Pho, Saigon is well-known for Com tam which delights both domestic and international tourists. This is a popular Vietnamese food that suits many people’s tastes. It is typically served with grilled pork or fried eggs. Like other Vietnam food, it also includes a bit of lime juice, fresh herbs, and spring onions.
This Vietnamese food is palatable thanks to the harmonious combination of the ingredients including grilled pork chops and green vegetables. In addition to the above ingredients, broken rice is also often served with scallion oil and some sour things such as radish, carrot, tomato, cucumber, or papaya.
In addition, its sauce contributes to the characteristic flavor of this Vietnamese food. This sauce is a mixture of fish sauce, water, and sugar. The sweetness of the fish sauce depends on the taste of each person. Sometimes, people also add garlic and chili to the fish sauce to enhance the flavor.
2. Goi cuon – Fresh spring rolls in Southern Vietnam
Goi cuon is the translucent spring roll packed with greens, coriander, and minced meat. It is quite similar to the spring roll but it is eaten fresh. To make its outer layer, people take sheets of rice paper and soften them with a little water, then roll them neatly around the main ingredients.
You can find Goi cuon in most Vietnamese food markets. The most common variety of Goi cuon is a combo of pork tenderloin and shelled shrimp.
In some Southern places, the locals are creative in preparing this Vietnamese food by adding green bananas and star fruits instead of common vegetables.
There is a special sauce for diners to eat with this Vietnamese food. It is fish sauce mixed with crushed garlic, chili, and lemon juice so it has a very distinct taste. In addition, rich peanut sauce is another great suggestion to dunk Goi cuon in.
3. Banh mi – The Vietnamese sandwich in Southern Vietnam
Banh mi, or the Vietnamese sandwich, is one of the most popular street foods in Vietnam that many tourists want to try. It is considered one of the most prominent remnants of the French colonial period in the South, aside from architectural works, because it was first created in the 19th century and inspired by the French baguette.
Over many years, the locals have changed this Vietnamese food in many ways to adapt to Vietnamese culture. Specifically, inside Bánh mì, they fill it with many ingredients like pork, egg, cucumber, pickled carrot, daikon radish, scallion, and cilantro, depending on the demands of food enthusiasts.
For a lot of people, Banh mi is a great suggestion for breakfast, especially for those who have to go to work or school early in the morning. It is such a cheap and tasty food that it can give people a great start to any busy day. Although Banh mi is available across the country, tourists will find the best one in the southern city, Ho Chi Minh City or instance.
4. Pho – The Vietnamese rice noodle soup in Northern Vietnam
As a pride of Vietnamese cuisine, Pho is definitely not an unpopular food for many tourists because it has been famous all over the world thanks to its unique flavor. This Vietnamese food originated in Hanoi and was first served to diners in the early 20th century. Despite its apparent simplicity, a bowl of Pho can provide tourists with a satisfying meal.
The main ingredient of this best food in Vietnam is a type of rice noodle called “banh pho”, which is larger and flatter than other kinds of rice noodles. Besides, it also consists of broth, herbs, and meat – which can typically be sliced beef or chicken.
When eating Pho, remember to squeeze some lime juice into the dish and add a dash of pepper or chili flakes for an extra kick of flavor.
With many outstanding features, Pho is known as a quintessential Vietnamese food that international tourists should try once. This food can be eaten at any time of day but people love enjoying it for breakfast. Therefore, on your upcoming trip to Vietnam, start your day with a bowl of Pho before visiting some famous tourist attractions.
5. Banh Xeo – Crispy pancakes in Southern/Central Vietnam
Banh Xeo is a very familiar dish to the Vietnamese. It is always mentioned by many foreigners when visiting Vietnam. In fact, this dish was inspired by the French crepes and originated in Central Vietnam. Nowadays, this Vietnamese food is varied to suit the different tastes and customs of each locality.
However, the unique flavor still remains and gives diners many unforgettable feelings when they try this dish.
Inside it, you can find a mix of ingredients including pork, shrimp, and vegetables. Eggs can be added depending on the demands of the diners. The right way to enjoy this dish is to wrap it in rice paper and dip it in a special pork liver and peanut sauce before crunching it into the crispy treats.
6. Bun bo Hue – The Hue-style beef noodles in Central Vietnam
Representing the royal cuisine of Hue City, Bun bo Hue is a mighty demonstration of both beauty and taste that make most tourists fall in love with it. A bowl of Bun bo Hue includes vermicelli, beef, pork blood, crab cake, and broth. In particular, vermicelli is made from rice flour mixed with the finest flour in a standard ratio to get its moderate toughness.
The highlights of this Vietnamese food are the large vermicelli and thin but big slices of beef, as well as the red-orange broth with an attractive spicy taste. To cook this specialty, the chef needs to be really meticulous with the selection of ingredients and the preparation.
Thanks to its eye-catching appearance and unforgettable taste, this Vietnamese food is one of the must-try foods on your trip. Although it is available throughout Vietnam, the best place to slurp this special soup is in Hue – where it was invented.
Therefore, if you intend to go to Hue City, in addition to visiting some imperial fortresses and gorgeous pagodas, don’t forget to eat Bun bo Hue there.
7. Bun cha – The Vietnamese grilled meat noodles in Northern Vietnam
Bun cha is a prominent specialty of Hanoi cuisine which any tourist should enjoy once when visiting the capital of the country. Despite being a simple Vietnamese dish, it can satisfy any appetite with its memorable flavor. Rice vermicelli, grilled pork, herbs, and fish sauce are all the things that create a unique taste for this dish.
When eating Vietnamese food, you need to put all the main ingredients into a small bowl and fill it with fish sauce. In particular, the sauce is a mix of chili, garlic, carrot, and green papaya. All of these will bring you a distinct sweet and sour flavor which is very suitable for this Vietnamese food and which cannot be found anywhere else.
This Vietnamese food is commonly eaten at lunchtime. Thus, when you get around in Hanoi during this time, you can smell the scent of pork which is grilled over hot charcoal wafting down the sidewalks. This will surely fill your nose and make you immediately hungry.
8. Cao Lau – The Hoi An Noodles Central Vietnam
If you have a chance to visit Hoi An Vietnam, you should enjoy Cao lau – the iconic food of this ancient town and one of the famous Vietnamese foods. Many people are curious about the origin of its special name. According to the explanation of the locals, Cao lau means “high story” because it used to only served the upper class who usually dined on the upper floors in the 17th century.
As a renowned noodle specialty invented in Hoi An, this Vietnamese food is a combination of Chinese, Japanese, and local cuisine. A bowl of Cao lau includes Japanese udon-like noodles, roasted pork, herbs, bean sprouts, and crunchy croutons. The highlight of this Vietnamese food is the sauce which is uniquely made by the locals.
People believed that the authentic flavor of Cao Lau comes from the organic herbs from Tra Que village and the water from Ba Le Ancient Well. This makes a lot of tourists more eager to visit Hoi An and enjoy this specialty.
9. Mi Quang – The Quang-style noodle soup in Central Vietnam
Mi Quang mostly contributes to the renown of Da Nang and Quang Nam cuisines. It is likened to the spirit of these culinary cultures and is chosen to be served on many important occasions. Like vermicelli or Pho, Mi Quang is also made from rice flour but has a completely distinct flavor.
Cooking Mi Quang is not difficult but there are many stages in the cooking process. This Vietnamese food can be made into many different versions such as meat shrimp noodles, chicken noodles, frog noodles, duck noodles, snakehead fish noodles,… With the difference between such main ingredients, each version will give you an unforgettable experience.
Mi Quang is usually eaten for dinner. Under the layer of the noodles, you can find raw vegetables such as basil, white bean sprouts, coriander, fresh lettuce, laksa leaves, finely chopped scallions, and thinly sliced banana flowers. In addition, this Vietnamese food is also served with sesame rice paper and crispy roasted peanuts.
10. Bun cha ca – Fish cake noodle soup, Nha Trang
Nha Trang is famous throughout the country for its grilled fish cake noodle soup, or Bun cha ca. This Vietnamese food is one of the famous specialties of the coastal city that has a clear broth and a rich flavor of fish cakes. It is this wonderful taste that fascinates anyone who comes to this beautiful city.
This Nha Trang specialty can have many variations depending on where you find it. Normally in Nha Trang, the broth is light, pure, and just a tad sweet. The grilled fish cake is made from fresh mackerel and sailfish bones that have been stewed. Each bite is extremely chewy and fragrant.
Coming to Nha Trang and enjoying a bowl of Bun cha ca, you can clearly feel the breath of the sea – the feature of this city. When eating this Vietnamese food, you should not forget to add fresh peppers, fried onions, and herbs for the best flavor.
11. Xoi – Vietnamese sticky rice Southern/Northern Vietnam
Xôi, Vietnamese sticky rice is a departure from other sticky rice interpretations in the region. The weighted, more dense glutinous staple comes in a savory or sweet option. Xôi mặn, savory xôi, is a popular, inexpensive breakfast fix. Hankering for something sweeter? There are over 20 types of xôi ngọt; but if you’re hoping to be mesmerized, you’re in luck. Xôi ngũ sắc, the five-colored xôi, is a psychedelic swirl of purple, green, red, yellow, and white, pigmented using natural plant extracts.
12. Bun Rieu Southern Vietnam
The interplay between crab and tomato makes bún riêu a truly standout dish. A hearty soup bursting with acidity, the components of this meal include slippery bún, fresh crab meat, blocks of tofu, and stewed tomatoes. Cooking an authentic bowl of bún riêu is a labor-intensive process.
After the crab meat is separated from the body, the shell is then pulverized using a mortar and pestle and then strained through to form the base of the broth. Floating around the bowl are pillowy clusters of minced crab combined with ground pork and egg that melt in your mouth.
13. Banh Can Da Lat
Bite-sized savory pancakes banh can are a beloved south-central specialty. Made from a combination of rice batter, a cracked quail egg, and green onions cooked over a flame in an earthenware grill, each bite is more satisfying than the last. Traditionally served plain, bánh căn is now topped with either shrimp or pork and dipped in a bowl of broth loaded with green onions and a few floating meatballs.
14. Hu Tieu Nam Vang Southern Vietnam
This is the standard street food item in the South. The Vietnamese version of the kuy teav in Cambodia and guay tiew in Thailand, hu tieu is a bowl of noodles served either wet (nước) or dry (khô). Typically, an opaque broth made from pork bones is eaten with hủ tiếu noodles. The definitive rendition of hu tieu is Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang. The recipe calls for pork on the bone, boiled liver, a quail egg, and some shrimp. If you’re squeamish, ask them to hold off on the congealed pork blood chunks, which make their way into a bowl every now and then. The peppery broth speckled with chopped green onions also has a noticeable sweetness to it, coming from the addition of rock sugar.
15. Banh Cuon Northern Vietnam
Made from large round sheets of steamed rice flour, gathered around minced pork and wood-ear mushroom and gently folded and chopped, bánh cuốn is a delight. This savory treat is always made fresh to order, topped with dried shallots, and served with a side bowl of fish sauce with pork sausage. Enjoy it for breakfast, like a local, and feel free to add fresh herbs to the mix and brighten up your bite.