A Foodie’s Guide To Vietnam

(Last Updated On: September 19, 2018)

Food plays an important role in Vietnamese culture. The country offers one of the best cuisines in the world, a perfect blend of flavours and tastes. It’s known for its easy recipes without compromising on the taste due to the myriad of influences from the French as well as the nearby countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and China. You may be overwhelmed at the amount of food to try, so here is a foodie’s guide to Vietnam. Stick to this checklist of dishes and you won’t be disappointed.

Pho - A Foodie’s Guide To Vietnam
Pho is a classic Vietnamese dish, regularly eaten for breakfast


The signature dish of Vietnam. Pho consists of a salty broth, fresh rice noodles, chicken or beef and is topped with a sprinkling of herbs. It’s cheap, tasty and widely available, featuring predominately in the local diet as a breakfast food.

Goi Coun - foodie's guide to Vietnam
Goi Coun is the healthy spring roll option

Goi Coun

If you’re looking for something healthy, yet more exciting than a bowl of vegetable, goi coun is your best bet. The spring roll parcels are packed with green vegetables, slices of meat or prawns and coriander before being neatly rolled. These parcels are traditionally dunked in Vietnam’s favourite condiment – fish sauce.

Banh Xeo - foodie's guide to Vietnam
Banh Xeo is a great fast food dish to eat in Vietnam while travelling between places

Banh Xeo

The English translation of Banh Xeo is ‘sizzling pancakes.’ These enormous, cheap and filling pancakes are filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and egg before being fried. They are then wrapped in rice paper with greens and dunked in a spicy sauce before being devoured. An authentic Vietnamese fast food snack.

Dau Rong

Ask for ‘dragon beans’ or ‘wing beans’ in a local food joint in Vietnam and you’ll be served a plate of odd-looking green legumes with wings of frilly edges. Most places saute them with fish sauce, garlic, spring onion and a little lemon juice.

Bún chả - foodie's guide to Vietnam
A collection of delicious ingredients, bún chả is a traditional Hanoi dish

Bún Chả

No visit to Hanoi would be complete without trying bún chả. Bún chả includes a plate of grilled pork sausage with baskets of herbs, bean sprouts, pickled veggies and a bowl of the ever important dipping sauce. A Hanoi speciality, you’ll find bún chả at food stalls and street kitchens across the city.

Bò lá lốt - foodie's guide to Vietnam
Bò lá lốt is grilled on an open flame to get it’s distinctive flavour

Bò Lá Lốt

Vietnamese are masters of wrapping their food with bò lá lốt being no exception. This dish of fragrantly seasoned beef wrapped in betel leaf is flame grilled. This softens the exterior and infuses the betel leaf’s peppery aroma into the beef.

Cao Lau - foodie's guide to Vietnam
Hoi An is the best place to eat Cao Lau

Cao Lau

A Hoi An speciality, Cao Lau is a mouthwatering bowlful. It’s made up of rice noodles, bean sprouts and croutons of pork-rind served in a light soup flavoured with mint and stair anise. This warming bowl is topped with slices of pork and served with rice flour crackers or sprinkled with crispy rice paper.

Cha Ca

Seafood dishes are among some of the standouts of Vietnamese food. Cha ca, thought to have been conceived in Hanoi, is perhaps the best known. A dish of white fish sauteed in butter with dill and spring onions, it’s served with rice noodles and a scattering of peanuts.

Cha Gio - foodie's guide to Vietnam
Cha Gio is traditionally served before the main course

Cha Gio

Fried spring rolls may not be as popular as their healthy equivalent but they are just as delicious and still deserve a special mention. Typically served with a tangy sauce and before the main course, these cripsy rolls are filled with veggies and meat. In north Vietnam these crunchy parcels go by the name nem ran while in the south they are called cha gio.


Vietnam’s rice porridge is the best pick for a queasy stomach that can’t handle too much spicy. This verstalie dish is easy to jazz up with slices of chicken, fish, beef, duck and a classic sprinkling of herbs and shallots.

Riyanka Roy is a travel enthusiast who has travelled extensively, especially through India, and has a passion for sustainable tourism. She runs Words Weave Stories and contributes to many other blogs.

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