Local Delicacies · Last updated:
Our nine favorite Vietnamese dishes that you can’t miss out.Some cuisines have certain magical properties to them. You can’t quite put a name to it, but after just a tiny taste, you’re coming back, begging for more. The best cuisines use fresh, simple ingredients in a variety of ways. Vietnamese food is a perfect example of that. When the food is as good in a five star restaurant as it is at the food stall on the corner, you know you’re talking about world class food. And out of a whole culture of food, there are some real stand outs.
1. PhoDon’t be so quick to roll your eyes at this one. Yes, it may the most westernized of all Vietnamese food (with maybe the exception of spring rolls). But if you’ve had it in some fast food style chain place, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. Mostly eaten for breakfast, the clean, simple broth is topped off with fresh noodles, thinly sliced chicken or beef, or can easily be made vegetarian with bean sprouts and tofu. Make sure it’s got a sprinkling of fresh herbs; then you know it’s the real deal. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
2. Spring RollsSpeaking of the devil, this classic isn’t so run of the mill here. Every area alters the recipe just a bit to suit what’s common around them. What you get in Hue can be completely different in taste than what you try in Saigon, even if they look like they could be twins. Spring rolls also come cooked two ways, fresh or fried. Take advantage of all the variety and try them all! → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
3. Ban MiWesterners may have invented the sandwich, but without a doubt, the Vietnamese perfected it. Stealing ideas from French colonists, a baguette has never looked so darn tasty. Crunchy, delicious bread, stuffed to the brim with pate, pork of every imaginable kind, pickled carrots and radish, cucumbers, and a dash of chilies and cilantro for that extra something. Rubens and PB&J’s are a thing of the past, and Ban Mi your one and only future. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
4. White Rose DumplingsA speciality only found in the city of Hoi An, the Chinese influence of the region is clearly found in this scrumptious dish. Translucent white dough is folded and steamed in such a way, that it clearly resembles its namesake. The center is filled with shrimp and pork, and garnished with crunchy toasted garlic. If it wasn’t already good enough, it’s meant to be dipped in a tasty sweet sauce, that really brings all of its flavour together. Tran Tuan Ngai is the secret keeper behind the original recipe, and sadly, he won’t be letting the delicious cat out of the bag any time soon. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
5. Cha CaFor such a long country, with an incredibly diverse landscape, it shouldn’t be surprising that the food variety is just as much of a mixed bag. In Hanoi, they’re particularly proud of this fish dish. So fond of it in fact, that there is an entire street, Cha Ca La Vong, dedicated to serving just this. Grilled or fried, and cooked with turmeric, curry and dill (an herb really only used in this region!), cha ca is served over a bed of the ever popular vermicelli noodles. This is the epitome of simple yet delectable Vietnamese style cooking. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
6. Banh XeoWho doesn’t love delicious French crepes? They’re thin, crispy, and filled with tasty goodness. These pancakes are Vietnam’s twist on the crepe. Banh xeo literally means ‘sizzling cake,’ a named garnered from the sound of the rice batter hitting the frying pan. Unlike its french cousin though, don’t expect cheese or lemon and sugar in these though. Instead, they’re brimming with pork, bean sprouts, shrimp and herbs. In Hue, the former Imperial capital, they have their own variation called banh khoai, meaning ‘delicious cake.’ Open faced rather than folded in half, it’s the perfect name for this meal. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
7. Bun RieuSoup is a popular go to, as in ‘bun,’ or the vermicelli noodles. Both together, no wonder this dish is a hit! A light but tasty tomato broth, mixed with noodles and a type of meat. The best variation is most likely bun rieu cua. Freshwater crabs found in the rice paddies are steamed up and mixed in with the broth for an indescribably distinctive and delightful feast. Feel free to add banana flowers, mint, water spinach, bean sprouts, or whatever else makes it perfect to your tastes. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
8. Bo Luc LaThis is the perfect marriage of French and Vietnamese cuisine. Cubes of savory beef sauteed together in soy sauce, with crisp cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers. The name is clever; it means ‘diced meat,’ due to the size of the chunks being about the same as playing dice. Fresh ground pepper sprinkled over the top makes this fare a taste bud sensation. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
9. Hoa qua damDon’t be so quick to roll your eyes at this one. Yes, it may the most westernized of all Vietnamese food (with maybe the exception of spring rolls). But if you’ve had it in some fast food style chain place, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. Mostly eaten for breakfast, the clean, simple broth is topped off with fresh noodles, thinly sliced chicken or beef, or can easily be made vegetarian with bean sprouts and tofu. Make sure it’s got a sprinkling of fresh herbs; then you know it’s the real deal. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam!
10. LauThis soup is not for the germaphobes out there. This is a communal dish with everyone digging their spoons and chopsticks in simultaneously. Steaming hot broth is used to cook vegetables and whatever meat you’d like, from vegetarian friendly tofu, to slivers of beef or shellfish, you can even find frogs being tossed in there. For the best experience, try not to mix too much: it’s best to pick one meat rather than a variety. After the fixings are gone, shamelessly slurp down the broth that has been flavoured with all the good stuff that’s already been devoured. → Click here to book your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam! It’s okay to feel overwhelmed with options. Hundreds of years of history has culminated into some of the most exquisite, tantalizing food on the planet. Dive in head first into this foodie wonderland, and start planning your trip to Vietnam today with Trekeffect!
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks
Shop for Travel EssentialsGet all of your essential travel gear right from our store. We hand pick the best travel products. Get everything from luggage to camping gear and other travel accessories for your trip.
Book your flightFind cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world. They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.
Book your accommodationsIf you're looking for a hostel, you should book it with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere else, book with Trekeffect. Our hotel booking system is powered by the Priceline Partner Network and we donate 10% of the hotel booking value to UNICEF to help starving children around the world.
Don't forget travel insuranceProtects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them. - World Nomads (for everyone below 70) - Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)
Looking for the best companies to save money with?Check out our resource page for the absolute best companies to use when you travel! We list our favorite companies that save people the most money when they travel and we think it will help you too! Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported.
Share Your Travel Experiences With Us
We want to hear from you! What are your thoughts on the article? What did you find most interesting and do you have any of your own experiences you can you share with us to make this article even better? Let us know in the comments!