A great way to experience a destination when travelling is by food. Eating and dining out says so much about a country’s history and culture, and Vietnam is no exception. You’ll discover delicious dishes and a range of eating experiences, from street vendors through to fine dining restaurants.
If you’re planning a trip, be sure to add these five dishes to your gastronomic checklist:
1. Cà phê
While not a food, Australians are known for their love of coffee and the Vietnamese version is a must try. Drip-filtered, this strong coffee is sweetened with condensed milk and can be enjoyed either hot or cold. Indulging in a coffee from one of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh’s many cafes is a great way to soak up the bustling city atmosphere.
2. Bánh mì
There is a reason why Anthony Bourdain called it “the perfect sandwich”. Made with a warm, crusty baguette, bánh mì is typically filled with pickled vegetables, cucumber, coriander and either meat, egg or tofu. Finished with a spicy sauce and mayonnaise or pâté, this cheap and tasty dish can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Perhaps the most celebrated Vietnamese dish – and rightly so – slurping down phở is a real treat. This wonderfully light and fragrant noodle soup is built around a flavoursome beef broth. Fresh herbs, lime, chillies, onions, sauces and bean sprouts are usually served on the side, allowing you to customise to your own liking.
4. Bánh xèo
Translating to “sizzling pancake” you cannot go wrong with an order of bánh xèo. This thin and crispy pancake is made from a rice flour batter, flavoured with turmeric and stuffed with bean sprouts, pork, prawns and fresh herbs. Be sure to dip in the sauce provided for a flavour explosion!
5. Spring rolls
The fan favourite; you cannot leave Vietnam without tasting spring rolls. Multiple times. Order these fresh (Gỏi cuốn) or fried (Chả giò) and filled with either meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu or a combination of various ingredients. These make a great light meal or are the perfect appetizer.
If you’d like to experience the flavours of Vietnam, join us on our 11 Day Classic Vietnam and sample all these specialties for yourself. Be sure to ask your local guide for some tips!