VIETNAM

12 Best Vietnamese Foods to Try: Why Vietnamese Food is The Best?

Jul 09, 2024

Vietnam, a country rich in culture and history, is also a paradise for food lovers. From aromatic pho to crispy banh mi, Vietnamese cuisine offers a diverse array of flavors that tantalize taste buds and leave visitors craving for more. In this article, we’ll explore why Vietnamese food is considered among the best in the world and introduce you to 12 of the best Vietnamese foods to try on your culinary journey through this Southeast Asian gem.

best vietnamese foods to try popular foods to eat in vietnam

Why Vietnamese food is the best?

Vietnamese cuisine stands out as one of the world’s most beloved culinary traditions for several compelling reasons. At its core, the best Vietnamese foods to try are characterized by their use of fresh, vibrant ingredients that bring both flavor and nutrition to every dish. This emphasis on freshness is coupled with a masterful balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy elements, creating a harmonious taste experience that’s hard to match.

The rich cultural tapestry of Vietnam is reflected in its cuisine, which has been shaped by various historical influences. Chinese, French and other Southeast Asian culinary traditions have all left their mark, resulting in a unique fusion that sets Vietnamese food apart. This cultural blend is evident in popular food to eat in Vietnam like banh mi, which combines French baguettes with distinctly Vietnamese fillings.

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Lastly, the adaptability of Vietnamese cuisine contributes to its widespread appeal. Whether you’re a meat lover, vegetarian, or vegan, you’ll find plenty of options among the top Vietnamese foods to try. This flexibility, combined with the cuisine’s emphasis on fresh ingredients and balanced flavors, makes Vietnamese food accessible and enjoyable for diners with various dietary preferences and restrictions.

12 best Vietnamese foods to try

Pho

The best Vietnamese foods to try wouldn’t be a list if it didn’t include pho. This iconic noodle soup is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine and a popular food to eat in Vietnam for both locals and tourists. The dish consists of a flavorful broth, rice noodles, herbs, and your choice of meat (typically beef or chicken). What makes pho one of the top Vietnamese foods to try is its complex yet comforting flavors, combining aromatic spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cloves with fresh herbs and tender meat.

best vietnamese foods to try pho

Banh Mi

Banh mi is a perfect example of why Vietnamese food is the best when it comes to fusion cuisine. This French-inspired sandwich features a crusty baguette filled with a variety of ingredients such as pate, grilled meats, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and chili sauce. As one of the top foods to eat in Vietnam, banh mi offers a delightful mix of textures and flavors that showcase the country’s culinary creativity.

Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Rolls)

Goi cuon, or fresh spring rolls, are a healthy and refreshing option among the best Vietnamese foods to try. These translucent rice paper rolls are filled with shrimp, pork, vegetables, and herbs, served with a peanut dipping sauce. Light yet satisfying, goi cuon exemplifies the fresh and vibrant nature of Vietnamese cuisine.

best vietnamese foods to try spring rolls

Bun Cha

Bun cha is a Hanoi specialty that has gained popularity throughout Vietnam and beyond. This dish features grilled pork patties and pork belly served with rice noodles, fresh herbs, and a tangy dipping sauce. As one of the top Vietnamese foods to try, bun cha offers a perfect balance of smoky, savory, and refreshing flavors.

Cao Lau

Originating from Hoi An, cao lau is a unique noodle dish that showcases why Vietnamese food is the best when it comes to regional specialties. The dish consists of thick rice noodles, sliced pork, crispy croutons, and fresh herbs, all served in a small amount of savory broth. What makes cao lau special is that authentic versions use water from a specific local well, adding to its distinct flavor.

best vietnamese foods to try cao lau

Banh Xeo

Banh xeo, often referred to as Vietnamese crepes or pancakes, is a crispy and savory delight that food enthusiasts should eat in Vietnam. These golden-yellow crepes are made from rice flour and turmeric, filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, and served with fresh herbs and nuoc cham (dipping sauce). The combination of textures and flavors makes banh xeo a must-try dish for anyone exploring Vietnamese cuisine.

Com Tam (Broken Rice)

Com tam, or broken rice, is a popular street food dish that originated in southern Vietnam. This humble yet delicious meal consists of fractured rice grains served with grilled pork, a fried egg, pickled vegetables, and fish sauce. As one of the best Vietnamese foods to try, com tam offers a satisfying and affordable option for those looking to experience authentic local flavors.

best vietnamese foods to try com tam

Bun Bo Hue

While pho may be the most famous Vietnamese noodle soup, bun bo Hue is a spicy and flavorful contender that deserves a spot on any list of top Vietnamese foods to try. Originating from the central city of Hue, this soup features thick rice noodles in a lemongrass and shrimp paste broth, topped with beef and pork. The complex flavors and hearty nature of bun bo Hue make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

best vietnamese foods to try bun bo hue

Cha Ca

Cha ca is a Hanoi specialty that has become one of the best Vietnamese foods to try for seafood lovers. This interactive dish involves grilling marinated fish tableside with dill and spring onions, then serving it with rice noodles, peanuts, and herbs. The unique combination of flavors and the fun dining experience make cha ca a must-try when visiting Vietnam’s capital.

Banh Cuon

Banh cuon is a delicate and delicious dish that showcases the subtle flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. These steamed rice rolls are filled with ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, and shallots, then served with fried shallots, fresh herbs, and nuoc cham. Light yet satisfying, banh cuon is a popular breakfast food and a great option for those looking to try something different among the best Vietnamese foods.

best vietnamese foods to try banh cuon

Mi Quang

Mi Quang is a central Vietnamese noodle dish that deserves recognition among the top foods to eat in Vietnam. This colorful and flavorful dish features wide rice noodles tinted with turmeric served with a small amount of broth, shrimp, pork, quail eggs, and a variety of herbs and vegetables. The unique texture of the noodles and the rich flavors make mi Quang a standout in Vietnamese cuisine.

Che

To round out our list of the best Vietnamese foods to try, we have che – a sweet dessert soup that comes in many varieties. From traditional sweet soup dishes made from green beans, corn, tapioca starch, and fruits to newly created sweet soup flavors, these refreshing treats offer a perfect end to any meal. Che showcases the Vietnamese talent for combining various ingredients like beans, fruits, and jellies with coconut milk to create delightful desserts.

best vietnamese foods to try Vietnamese sweet soup

FAQs

What are some foods not to eat in Vietnam to avoid getting sick?

While most Vietnamese cuisine is safe and delicious, tourists should be cautious with raw or undercooked meats and seafood from street vendors, unpasteurized dairy products, unwashed fruits and vegetables, tap water, and ice in drinks from questionable sources. It’s best to stick to well-cooked foods and bottled water to ensure a safe culinary experience.

What are the traditional foods to eat on Vietnamese New Years?

There are several special foods to eat on Vietnamese New Years, known as Tet. These include banh chung (sticky rice cake), thit kho (caramelized pork), gio lua (Vietnamese pork sausage), xoi gac (red sticky rice), and mut tet (candied fruits). Each of these dishes holds cultural significance and is believed to bring good luck for the coming year.

Ready to taste the best of Vietnam? Check out Asia Encounter’s mouthwatering itineraries!

Vietnamese cuisine is a feast for the senses, offering an amazing mix of flavors, textures, and experiences that make it a favorite around the world. Whether you’re savoring the comforting warmth of pho or crunching into a crispy banh xeo, the variety of dishes will leave you satisfied and craving more. Exploring bustling street markets or dining in stylish restaurants, the food scene in Vietnam is unforgettable.

If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam or just curious about Southeast Asian cuisine, check out Asia Encounter. We have detailed guides, tips, and recommendations to help you experience the best of Asian culture and food. From street food tours to the best restaurants, Asia Encounter can make your culinary adventures in Vietnam truly special.

So, get ready to pack your bags and bring your appetite because Vietnamese food is an exciting and delicious journey you won’t want to miss!

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