People from all over the world have come to appreciate Vietnamese food today, because it’s not only simple and tasty fare but also very healthy. They hardly use oil or meat and rely more on fresh vegetables which is one of the reasons why Vietnamese restaurants are so popular today no matter which part of the world you travel to. Nevertheless, where else can you expect to eat the best Vietnamese food if not in Vietnam?
Gear up for an exciting culinary journey as you explore some of this delicious food which could well become the highlight of your holiday. Vietnamese food is inspired by different cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, French and even American. So don’t be surprised to find familiar, yet unusual tastes when you dig into a meal at one of the many restaurants here. Also, it’s not just about savoury experiences, Vietnamese desserts are excellent and will serve you well if you have a sweet tooth. Visit the SOTC website to plan your trip to Vietnam. SOTC has several interesting deals and offers on Vietnam holiday packages waiting for you. Get yours today!
Read on about some of the delicious food you can expect to find here as well as the best places to eat in Vietnam.
The ubiquitous dish which can essentially be considered to be Vietnam’s signature dish is flavourful and satisfying. A bowl of pho contains a warm broth with slices of meat, meatballs or flank and is topped with bean sprouts, lime wedges and plenty of fresh herbs.
The best thing about pho is that you can get spices and herbs on your table so you can season it exactly the way you want. This popular Vietnamese food is available not only in restaurants but also in street stalls and although it is considered breakfast food, it is available throughout the day too. Try the open-air restaurant Gia Truyen in Hanoi for some of the best pho you will ever eat!
Banh Mi owes its origin to French influences, so don’t be surprised to find a toasted baguette filled with pate, butter, soy sauce, picked vegetables, chillies and of course a meat filling that elevates this snack into a proper meal. Choose from roasted pork belly, fried egg, grilled pork loin, fried fish, boiled sausages, barbecued pork and poached chicken and you’ll know you’ve hit food heaven already. One of the best Vietnamese restaurants that serves Banh Mi is Banh Mi Huynh Hoa in Ho Chi Minh City.
The freshness of this Vietnamese food is evident right from the presentation. These fresh spring rolls have thin vermicelli noodles, shrimp, pork slices, basil and lettuce and are wrapped tightly in translucent rice papers. Since the flavour is quite subtle, the Goi Cuon is usually dipped into a hoisin sauce with chilli and crushed peanuts. This delicious and healthy dish can be tried at Pho Ong Hung in Ho Chi Minh City.
If you love savoury crepes or pancakes, this is right up your alley. Banh Xeo is made with rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric and the filling can be anything – vermicelli noodles, chicken, pork or beef slices, beansprouts, mushrooms etc. These usually are accompanied with fresh lettuce or rice paper and the fresh, tasty dish is often eaten with lemongrass pork skewers, dipped into fermented peanut sauce. For the best Banh Xeo, head to Banh Xeo Ngoc Son in Ho Chi Minh City. You won’t regret it!
If you love fish, then you will simply love Ca Kho To. It is a catfish fillet that is braised and served in a clay pot. The fish is caramelised by braising it in a thick gravy made with soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce, shallots, garlic and various other seasonings. This dish has intense flavours that that are a beautiful marriage of sweet and salty. It is always served with white rice and some greens. One of the best restaurants in Vietnam to eat Ca Kho To is Dong Hoa Xuan restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.
Bun Cha shot into fame ever since Obama visited Hanoi and ate it with Anthony Bourdain in a street-side restaurant in Hanoi. Fresh noodles, barbecued pork, fish sauce, sliced papaya, herbs all go into making Bun Cha. Often, customers are encouraged to dip the fresh noodles into the bowl of steaming broth before eating it. If you want to eat where Obama ate, then head over to Bun Cha Huong Liên in Hanoi and enjoy the dish that the President of America enjoyed too!
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, then you should try the Banh Cam, which is available in almost all street markets or restaurants and roadside stalls. This delicious bite is a ball of glutinous rice flour wrapped around sweet mung bean paste and shredded coconut. It is then covered with sesame seeds and deep fried till golden brown.
This unique dessert is a specialty of Vietnam and you can find it in any local restaurant. This dessert soup or pudding comes in a number of flavours and is something you should certainly try. The base is made of coconut milk. You can choose from a wide selection of toppings like sago pearls, kidney beans, tapioca or fresh fruits like bananas, durian or mango to add more texture to the dish.