15 Vietnamese Food Dishes That You Just Cannot Miss Out
Welcome to the vibrant world of Vietnamese food, an essential highlight of any Vietnam tour package. Whether you’re wandering through bustling markets or sitting in cosy restaurants in Vietnam, the flavours here tell a tale of tradition and freshness.
From street-side stalls to elegant dining spots, Vietnamese food offers an adventure for your taste buds. Get ready to dive into bowls of steaming pho, fresh spring rolls, and more as we explore the delightful variety of Vietnamese food.
Best Vietnamese Food You Need To Try
Pho is not just a dish; it’s a culinary experience making it one of the best Vietnamese foods. As one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes, Pho is a comforting bowl of noodle soup, often enjoyed as a hearty breakfast or a fulfilling meal any time of the day.
When you’re exploring places to visit in Vietnam, make sure to stop by Ban Xeo 46A, renowned for its authentic flavors. This simple yet flavourful dish, with its rich broth, tender meat, and fresh herbs, truly represents the heart of Vietnamese cuisine.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Hong Hoai’s Restaurant, Tung’s Kitchen, ESSENCE Restaurant
2. Cha Ca
Sampling Cha Ca should be on your list of things to do in Vietnam. This dish is a standout often mentioned alongside the best Vietnamese food. It’s one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes for a reason.
Imagine tender fish grilled to perfection, seasoned with turmeric and dill, then served over noodles. It’s a flavour experience you won’t forget. For a taste of tradition, head to Bun Cha Huong Lien, where this dish is a menu star. It’s a simple yet unforgettable meal that defines the essence of Vietnamese cuisine.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Bun Cha Huong Lien, Ca Cha La Vong, Ca Cha Thang Long
3. Cao Lau
Cao Lau is a must-try Vietnamese food that stands out, especially in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a bowl full of unique flavours and textures, combining thick rice noodles, juicy pork, and crisp greens topped with crunchy croutons.
While exploring popular Vietnamese food, Cao Lau is a culinary treasure not to be missed. As you list things to do in Ninh Binh, make sure to add tasting this local delight to your itinerary. It’s as satisfying as the famed Bun Cha Huong Lien and truly a highlight of Vietnamese cuisine.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Quan Cao Lau Thanh
4. Banh Xeo
Banh Xeo is a must-try Vietnamese food, perfect for anyone exploring the country’s culinary delights. This popular Vietnamese food is a crispy, savoury pancake, filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and herbs. The name Banh Xeo literally means “sizzling pancake” named after the sound it makes when poured into the hot skillet.
Often enjoyed in the charming streets of Hoi An it’s a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re experiencing Vietnam’s nightlife or a quiet evening, Banh Xeo adds a delicious touch to your Vietnamese journey.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Banh Xeo 46A, Banh Xeo Ba Duong
5. Goi Cuon
Goi Cuon, also known as Vietnamese spring rolls is a must-try Vietnamese food that perfectly captures the essence of the country’s cuisine. These rolls are a popular Vietnamese food, loved for their fresh ingredients like shrimp, herbs, and vermicelli, all wrapped in rice paper.
They’re light yet flavourful and often served with a zesty dipping sauce. Goi Cuon is especially enjoyed during festivals in Vietnam, bringing a sense of celebration to the table with every bite. Simple, healthy, and delicious they are a true taste of Vietnam.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Mau Pork Roll, Bep Cuon Da Nang
6. Nem Ran
Nem Ran often called spring rolls stands out as a must-try Vietnamese food. It’s a popular Vietnamese food that you’ll find on every street corner, especially if you visit Vietnam in October when the weather is just right for enjoying street food.
These crispy rolls are packed with a mix of meats and vegetables, all wrapped in a thin, crunchy layer that’s golden after frying. Dipped in a tangy sauce, they’re the perfect snack to munch on while exploring the local cuisine.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Banh Cuon Gia Truyen
7. Ga Tan
Ga Tan, a comforting and nourishing soup, stands out as one of the best Vietnamese food experiences. This dish, featuring tender, slow-cooked chicken in a rich, aromatic broth, is a staple in the array of most popular Vietnamese dishes.
Renowned for its simplicity yet profound flavours, Ga Tan warms the soul and delights the palate. Its gentle blend of herbs and spices showcases the culinary artistry of Vietnam, making it a must-try for anyone exploring the country’s diverse and vibrant food scene.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Mandarine Restaurant, Hoang Yen Vietnamese Chinese
8. Bun Bo Nam Bo
Bun Bo Nam Bo is among the most popular Vietnamese dishes and truly one of the best Vietnamese foods you can enjoy. Imagine tender beef slices, soft noodles, fresh herbs, crunchy peanuts, and a splash of tangy sauce in one bowl.
It’s a perfect meal for anyone visiting Vietnam in September as it’s hearty yet refreshing. This dish is a simple pleasure echoing the rich culture of Vietnam with every bite. It’s a must-try for food lovers looking to experience authentic local flavours.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Bach Phuong
9. Hoa Qua Dam
Hoa Qua Dam, a delightful mix of fresh fruits soaked in sweetened coconut milk, stands out as one of the best Vietnamese food options, especially for vegetarians. This simple yet delicious dessert captures the essence of Vietnamese food vegetarian style, blending the country’s bountiful produce with a hint of sweetness.
It’s a common find in Indian restaurants in Vietnam, where it’s loved for its refreshing taste. Hoa Qua Dam is a testament to the variety and adaptability of Vietnamese food vegetarian choices offering a sweet end to any meal.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Thuy Ta Dam Sen Restaurant
10. Ca Phe Trung
Ca Phe Trung, or Vietnamese egg coffee is a unique and delightful experience, often hailed as some of the best Vietnamese food for its distinctive taste. Imagine a cup of strong, aromatic coffee topped with a creamy, frothy layer made from whipped egg yolks and condensed milk.
This creates a rich, smooth texture that perfectly balances the bitterness of the coffee. It’s like a dessert and a coffee rolled into one, offering a sweet, indulgent moment that’s both surprising and deeply satisfying a true testament to Vietnam’s innovative culinary spirit.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Giang Cafe
11. Ga Nuong
Ga Nuong, a simple yet delicious grilled chicken dish, stands out as one of the best Vietnamese foods. It’s all about the perfect blend of spices and the smoky flavor from the grill that makes every bite memorable.
The chicken is marinated in a mix of local herbs and spices and then grilled to juicy perfection. Served with rice or noodles and a side of fresh vegetables Ga Nuong offers a comforting and satisfying meal.
Its delightful taste and aroma make it a favorite among both locals and visitors, embodying the essence of Vietnamese cuisine.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Chan Ga Nuong Hai Coi
12. Ca Tim Kho To
It’s a savoury dish featuring eggplant cooked in a clay pot which infuses it with incredible depth of flavor. This vegetarian masterpiece combines soft, melt-in-your-mouth eggplant with a rich, sweet, and salty sauce, often topped with spring onions for a fresh touch.
As a vegetarian option in Vietnamese cuisine, it showcases how Vietnamese food vegetarian dishes can be just as satisfying and flavourful as their meat-based counterparts making it a must-try for food lovers.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Dong Hoa Xuan Restaurant
13. Banh Ghoi
Imagine a crispy pastry outside, similar to a mini pie, filled with a mix of ground meat, mushrooms, and glass noodles- That’s Banh Ghoi for you. When you bite into Banh Ghoi, you get a crunch that leads to a burst of warm savoury flavours.
It’s usually served with a side of fresh lettuce and herbs, adding a refreshing crunch. Simple, yet full of taste Banh Ghoi is a perfect example of the simple pleasures of Vietnamese cuisine that anyone, no matter where they’re from, can enjoy.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Firefly Hoi An
Chao is a comforting rice porridge that’s a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, loved for its simplicity and heartiness. It’s a gentle dish, perfect for when you need something soothing, made with rice simmered until it’s soft and creamy.
Often it’s served with chicken, fish, or just plain with a sprinkle of savory seasonings. This humble bowl is a warm hug for your stomach, making it one of the best Vietnamese foods for both breakfast and a light meal. It’s the kind of food that feels like home, filling and satisfying in its plainness.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Chao Ga Ba My
15. Bun Cha
It’s a simple yet delicious meal consisting of grilled pork served over a bed of fresh rice noodles. The pork is marinated in a blend of garlic, sugar, and fish sauce, then grilled to perfection creating a smoky and sweet flavour.
Alongside you’ll find a plate of fresh herbs and a bowl of tangy dipping sauce. This combination of soft noodles, flavourful meat, and fresh greens create a delightful harmony of tastes and textures, making Bun Cha a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Best Restaurants Serving This: Bun Cha Dac Kim, Bun Cha Hanoi
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some traditional Vietnamese desserts I should try?
In Vietnamese cuisine, traditional desserts worth trying include Che (sweet soups), Banh Flan (Vietnamese crème caramel), Banh Bao Chi (sweet rice dumplings), Banh Chuoi Nuong (banana cake), and Banh Cam (sesame balls). These desserts offer a delightful mix of textures and flavours often featuring coconut, rice, and tropical fruits.
What are the staple ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine?
Staple ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine include rice, noodles, fresh herbs like cilantro and mint, fish sauce, soy sauce along with fresh vegetables and various meats, particularly pork and chicken. Lemongrass, ginger, and chilies are also commonly used for flavour.
Can I find vegetarian or vegan options in Vietnamese cuisine?
Yes, Vietnamese cuisine offers many vegetarian and vegan options featuring tofu, mushrooms, and a wide array of vegetables, flavoured with herbs and spices, making it friendly for plant-based diets.