If there is one thing the Vietnamese are incredibly passionate about… without a doubt, it’s the FOOD!
To the locals food is much more than just a source of energy. Food is a way of life, literally. Wander the streets of any local village or major city, early morning or super late at night, up in the North or right down south it’s down right obvious that food is the life and soul of this incredible country’s already fascinating culture!
It starts with the hard work that’s needed to grow or source the freshest of ingredients. Followed by the buzz of the buying and selling of produce in some of the most colourful markets. Right through to the infectious energy you feel when you’re sat on the corner of a street, with friends enjoying some of the most delicious flavours on Earth!
And the best thing about it, IT TASTES BLOODY AMAZING!
Vietnamese food is characterised by its signature herbs, balance of flavours; salty & sweet or spicy & sour and incredibly fresh ingredients. Typically speaking Vietnamese dishes are less spicy when compared to its neighbouring South East Asian countries with chilli being added as a preference rather than a main ingredient which is perfect for those who are a little sensitive to the spice.
With flavours so big and prices so low, be sure to indulge in as many delicious dishes as you can get your hands on.
To get you started, these trusty 5 are tasty, easy to find and the best way to introduce you to the flavours of Vietnam!
We couldn’t start with anything but the dishes of all dishes when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine. Recognised around the world and pronounced as “Fuh” this warm bowl of fresh goodness is an absolute must when travelling Vietnam. Made with rice noodles, herbs and usually “Ga” (chicken) or “Bo” (beef), the secret to the best Pho is 100% in it’s broth… the longer the simmer, the tastier the slurp!
Although this delicious dish originates from Hanoi, as the nation’s favourite you’ll find it all over the country but just expect the flavours to differ slightly depending on the area!
#2 BANH MI
Another absolute crowd pleaser; Banh Mi is the ultimate “backpacker go to” when travelling Vietnam. Found in every place you’ll visit, this is the perfect street food snack for any time of day. Although the baguette may be a symbol of French colonialism, this iconic dish is as Vietnamese as it gets. Stuffed with pickled veggies, cold meats and a lathering of pate, be sure to grab a Banh Mi or 10 throughout your travels in Vietnam – I have no doubt you’ll love them just as much as I do!
#3 BUN CHA
“Pho-get about Pho” is what I’ve heard 👀 ..but i’ll just have both please! This capital city speciality is a solid favourite amongst locals and travellers being served most commonly at lunch time. Pork patties charcoaled over a firing BBQ, floating in a sweet and sour sauce, sprinkled with grated garlic, fresh herbs and eaten with rice noodles and green salad- basically heaven in a bowl and a very big bowl at that!
#4 GOI CUON
Goi Cuon is the fresher, tastier version of the deep fried spring roll you get from your local takeaway. The most common filling is the Vietnamese spin on tuhe iconic “Surf & Turf”; pork and prawns with the freshest of vegetables all wrapped together with love in “bahn trang” – vietnamese rice paper. Dunk them in a tasty homemade peanut sauce or opt for the more local fish-based sauce “nuroc cham” …they are damn right delicious either way!
#5 EGG COFFEE
Yes I know it’s not “food” and I know it sounds pretty damn weird but please, hear me out for a second… I could not write this blog without recommending this quirky yet staple tradition. A shortage of milk during the French War forced one man to think outside the box and with a little bit of experimenting, the now famous Egg Coffee was born. I wish I could share with you exactly what is in this little cup of magic but that is something Mr Giang has kept very much to himself since the 1940’s.
Just do yourself a favour when you’re in Hanoi, head to a local coffee shop, hidden down a very narrow alley and try this Vietnamese delight for yourself!
Well there we have it… are you hungry yet?
5 epic recommendations that will no doubt have got your taste buds tingling at the very thought of travelling Vietnam. Delicious food is only one of many wonderful things this beautiful country has to offer, it is just an absolute bonus if you’re a foodie like me and enjoy indulging in the flavours of a foreign country.