One of the greatest things about indulging in Vietnamese food is that you don’t need a particularly sophisticated palette to enjoy it—just a fully functioning one. This vibrant South Asian cuisine is imbued with a rainbow of tastes and textures; oodles of noodles (clear, vermicelli, pho); piles of rice (fried, sticky); meats in abundance (beef, chicken, pork, fish); herbs (cilantro, lemongrass) and flavors from an era of French imperialism as well neighboring countries like Thailand, Lao, Cambodia and China.
So when it comes to indulging, the only real question you need to ask is, where to start? I’ve been to Vietnam twice now and the last trip I took involved an impressively tasty street food tour, arranged by Topdeck Travel, which made me fall in love with the country even more. Here’s what foods you should seek out (and indulge in) if you make it to Vietnam:
Bánh Bao Nhân Thịt (Pork Dumplings, seen above)
These flour dumplings of Chinese origin can often be found, steaming hot and fresh, on the side of the street in both Vietnam’s large cities and country towns. A popular dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Bánh Bao is often filled with pork, vegetables and a whole egg.
Bánh Xèo (Savory Pancake)
So-called because of the sound of the batter sizzling on a hot griddle (Bánh xèo translates as “sizzling cake”), this delicious, crispy, savory pancake is made of rice flour, water and turmeric and is often stuffed with shrimp or pork and spring onion. An absolute must-try.
Gỏi cuốn (spring rolls)
The favorite Vietnamese spring roll is a light, translucent cake made from rice paper and filled with pork or shrimp. It will be served alongside a little pot of nước chấm, an omnipresent sweet, spicy, fishy sauce.
Bánh Phu Thê / Bánh Xu Xê
OK, so this fluorescent green creation might be one of the weirdest things you could eat, but it’s definitely a conversation starter, right? Bánh Phu Thê is traditionally served at Vietnamese weddings, but can also be bought from street vendors and is made from tapioca starch and is sometimes filled with sweetened mung bean and coconut flakes, before being steamed. Don’t be put off by the alien-like appearance, with a Haribo-like texture and sweet and mild taste, it’s actually quite pleasant.
Phở is Vietnam’s staple soup, served with various meat parts (usually beef or chicken), bean sprouts, lime wedges, and a light selection of greens like basil, mint, cilantro, and onions. Often guzzled for breakfast in Hanoi, the soup varies in style depending on where you are, northern phở is often a clear, saltier broth but southern-style phở is often sweeter in taste.
Last 5 posts by Georgina Lawton
- How Traveling To Black Spaces Helped Shape My Identity - April 23rd, 2017