During my travels in Vietnam, I got to see that Vietnamese cuisine is more than just Phở and Bánh mì. I had the chance of trying so many kinds of dishes, as the foods were generally cheap and delicious! What helps is that Vietnamese cuisine is considered one to be one of the healthiest cuisines in the world due to its reliance on fresh herbs, vegetable and meats. You can see below how each dish is not too heavy and utilizes lots of fresh ingredients. Here is my list of my top 5 eats in Vietnam!
1. Bún mắm
I was able to find this delicious noodle salad dish in Bún Mắm Bà Đông in the city of Da Nang, so make sure to head here if you are in the area! This pungent dish is made with rice noodles topped with roast pork, Vietnamese herbs, cucumbers, peanuts, and topped with a flavourful anchovy sauce. There’s so many flavours and textures going at once, from the fishy anchovy sauce, crunch of the herbs, and the soft tender roast pork. For only 25,000 VND ($1.43 CAD), you can definitely get another bowl!
2. Bánh mì̀
Vietnam’s favourite street food, you can find vendors all over Vietnam selling these. I have tried a lot of bánh mì in Vietnam and trust me that the quality in these sandwiches really vary in the place that you go to. The best one I’ve had is at Bánh Mì̀ Bà Lan in Da Nang. They serve pork sausage, cold cuts, pâté, Vietnamese herbs, cucumber in a French baguette. They also add salt and pepper and warm in an oven before they serve it to you! Sandwich heaven can be had for only 20,000 VND ($1.14 CAD). If you can’t make it here, I also recommend these places
- Bánh Mì Phượng in Hoi An
- Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen in Hoi An
- Bánh Mì 25 in Hanoi
3. Morning Glory Restaurant
Hoi An’s Morning Glory Restaurant serves an array of Vietnamese food in a more upscale setting (compared to plastic stools). This restaurant was recommended by many of my friends and fellow travellers. I got the stuffed squid with pork (Muc Nhoi Tom Thit), which is squid is stuffed with a mixture of shrimp, pork mince, wood ear mushrooms, mung bean vermicelli, and chili sauce. This restaurant is more of a splurge as this dish came to 175,000 VND ($10.02 CAD).
4. Bún thịt nướng
This is my favourite Vietnamese dish back in Canada, so it had to be in my top 5 list. This cold rice-vermicelli noodle dish is topped with grilled pork, fresh herbs like basil and mint, fresh salad, bean sprouts, and might come with spring rolls. Then its dressed with fish sauce, which gives the dish its flavour. When you are tired of soups and looking for something or refreshing, definitely get this! They can be found all over Vietnam and is pretty cheap starting at 20,000 VND ($1.14 CAD).
Arguably the national dish of Vietnam. If you only knew one Vietnamese dish, it is probably this one! Vietnamese refugees brought this dish to all over the world.
My favourite bowl was from Hanoi’s Pho Thin. This place is a game changer because they use stir-fried beef instead of raw beef. This makes the meat so flavorful and adds more flavour to the already delicious broth. While a little more expensive at 60,000 VND ($3.43 CAD), it is worth it!
Now when you are in Vietnam, you have to try phở in the north and the south. They differ by noodle width, sweetness of broth, and choice of herbs. Northern phở uses wider rice noodles compared to the south and the broth is usually less sweet than the ones in the south. The one we commonly eat in the West is the southern version, where we add bean sprouts, fresh herbs, and hoisin sauce. The northern version lacks these garnishes as most of it (lots of green onions) is already added to the soup and is served with quẩy (fried bread).
Other Vietnamese eats I tried
- Bún chả
- Bún bò Huế
- Bánh canh
- Bún Ốc
- Bánh cuốn
- Cơm tấm
- Cơm dia
- Cao lầu
- Mì Quảng
- Bánh xèo
- Bánh căn
- Bò né
- Fresh rolls (Gỏi cuốn)
- Fried pork spring rolls (Nem ran)
- Vietnamese Pizza (Bánh tráng Dalat)
- Bánh tôm
- Grilled banana in sticky rice (Xoi chuoi nuong)
- Vietnamese curry
- Vietnamese fried rice
- Avocado coconut ice cream(Kem bo)
- Banana pancakes
- Vietnamese coffee (Cà phê sữa đá)
- Egg coffee (Cà phê trứng)
- Coconut coffee