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7 Delicious Foods To Enjoy In Vietnam

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 mì
No trip to Vietnam would be complete without treating your tastebuds to the culinary which is a Bánh mì sandwich. Arguably the country’s most famous food export, the Bánh mì is remarkably simple; a crusty French baguette filled with, yep you guessed it, pork or fish, then pickled, sweet carrot, daikon radish and super-hot chili paste.

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.

Kem (ice cream)
Vietnam has something of an ice-cream obsession, people think nothing of indulging in the cold treat first thing in the morning and in Hanoi has enjoyed a surge of ice cream shops opening in recent years. However, Tràng Tiền a gelato shop which opened in 1958, churns out the most famous, French-style variety; plain vanilla served in a sesame-seed cone.

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.

All Images author’s own; Wikipedia Creative Commons 1, 2;

Last 5 posts by Georgina Lawton