Traditional Vietnamese food is a culinary delight that showcases the country’s rich cultural heritage. From the iconic flavors of pho and banh mi to the delicate freshness of spring rolls and vibrant herbs, traditional Vietnamese food offers a diverse range of flavors and textures. It is a gastronomic experience that tantalizes the taste buds and leaves a lasting impression on food lovers.
1. Vietnamese sticky rice: Top 3 traditional Vietnamese dishes to satisfy your cravings
Vietnamese sticky rice, a beloved traditional Vietnamese food, is a versatile and delicious dish. Made from glutinous rice, it can be enjoyed as a quick breakfast or a satisfying snack throughout the day. With its variety of flavors and toppings such as mung beans, peanuts, or grilled pork, Vietnamese sticky rice offers a delightful combination of sweet and savory flavors. It is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike, showcasing the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam.
- Vietnamese sticky rice in bamboo (Com lam): Com lam, one of the Vietnamese classic dishes, is a special and fragrant delicacy that involves cooking sticky rice in bamboo tubes. It originated among the ethnic minority communities residing in the mountainous areas of Vietnam. This traditional cooking technique imparts a gentle aroma and a slightly smoky flavor to the rice. The bamboo tubes not only act as a natural cooking container but also contribute to the dish’s rustic appeal. Com lam is commonly savored with grilled meats or vegetables, providing a delightful and genuine gastronomic adventure.
- Vietnamese sticky rice with ant eggs (Xoi trung kien): “Xoi trung kien,” a Vietnamese dish of sticky rice with ant eggs, stands out as a one-of-a-kind delicacy in the realm of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. This particular specialty entails the harmonious blend of steamed sticky rice and ant eggs, resulting in a unique combination of textures and flavors. Appreciated for its nutritional benefits and intriguing culinary adventure, xoi trung kien holds a special place among adventurous food enthusiasts. The inclusion of ant eggs introduces a delicate crispness and a subtle tang, enhancing the overall taste of this remarkable dish.
- Vietnamese 5-color sticky rice (Xoi ngu sac): Vietnamese 5-color sticky rice, also known as “xoi ngu sac,” is a vibrant and visually appealing traditional food in Vietnam. The 5 colors of this beautiful dish are made using natural coloring from ingredients like pandan leaf extract, magenta plant, turmeric, butterfly pea flower, and plain sticky rice. The outcome is a captivating fusion of flavors and vibrant colors, symbolizing the harmonious amalgamation of diverse culinary components. Xoi ngu sac not only pleases the taste buds but also serves as a testament to the ingenuity and cultural richness of Vietnamese gastronomy.
2. Vietnamese noodles
Vietnamese noodles, a cornerstone of traditional Vietnamese food, offer a wide array of delicious dishes that are sure to satisfy during your trip. From the iconic pho to other popular variations like hu tieu and cao lau, Vietnamese noodles showcase the rich flavors and culinary diversity of the country. Whether you prefer a hearty bowl of beef noodle soup or a refreshing plate of rice vermicelli noodles with grilled meat and fresh herbs, Vietnamese noodles are a must-try when exploring the vibrant world of Vietnamese cuisine.
- Pho: Pho, a beloved dish in Vietnam, stands out as the preferred choice among noodle variations. Made from rice, like other traditional Vietnamese foods, it distinguishes itself with its flat strands. Pho bo (beef noodle) and pho ga (chicken noodle) are the two popular renditions of this culinary delight. Pho has diverse origins, with theories suggesting French and Chinese influences. It gained popularity in Hanoi between 1910 and 1954. Following the division of Vietnam, pho recipes spread as Northerners migrated south. In the South, pho is served with herbs and lime, offering a spicier and tangier broth compared to the North.
- Cao lau: Cao Lau noodles, a renowned dish in the historic town of Hoi An, hold a fascinating origin. During the 15th to 17th centuries, Chinese and Japanese traders frequented this area, leading to the belief that they introduced these Udon-like noodles. Locals prepare the noodles in mineral-rich well water, giving them a distinctive texture and flavor. Served in bowls with beansprouts, the noodles are accompanied by a lemongrass sauce, grilled pork slices, and vegetables. Cao Lau noodles are a must-try among Vietnamese main dishes.
- Rice vermicelli: Bun, or fresh rice vermicelli, is a beloved and versatile Vietnamese noodle. Chefs utilize its thin and soft strands to create a range of dishes, including noodle soups, spring rolls, and noodle salads. With its low starch content, bun is known for aiding digestion. Popular bun dishes include bun rieu cua (vermicelli with sour crab broth), bun cha, bun thit nuong (vermicelli with grilled pork), and bun bo Hue (vermicelli with sliced beef). It is undeniable that bun is a staple in traditional Vietnamese cuisine.
- Hu tieu: Another top-rated recommendation among traditional Vietnamese foods is hu tieu, a popular noodle dish enjoyed during breakfast in Southern Vietnam that originated in Cambodia in the 1960s. A typical bowl of hu tieu features rice noodles, offal, a quail egg, and shrimp. Additional ingredients can include pork, pork ribs, squid, wonton dumplings, fried garlic, scallions, herbs, and chili sauce. This dish can be served with or without broth.
3. Vietnamese cake – 10 of the must-try traditional Vietnamese foods
- Vietnamese square sticky rice cake (Banh chung): Banh chung, a traditional Vietnamese New Year food, is a square sticky rice cake filled with mung bean and pork. Wrapped in banana leaves, it symbolizes luck and abundance for the coming year.
- Vietnamese sticky rice sandwich (Banh day): Banh day, a traditional Vietnamese food, is a sticky rice sandwich that is enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. It consists of a piece of pork sausage (cha lua) pressed between two thick rice cakes, offering a delightful combination of textures and flavors.
- Vietnamese cylindrical sticky rice cake (Banh tet): Banh Tet, a traditional Vietnamese New Year food, features a soft and sticky rice shell filled with flavorful mung bean paste and pork. It is a must-have during Tet Nguyen Dan, with variations in fillings across regions.
- Vietnamese rice pyramidal rice dumpling (Banh gio): Banh gio, a well-liked traditional Vietnamese food, is savored in both the northern and southern parts of the country. This rice dumpling is filled with seasoned ground pork and quail eggs. It is commonly served alongside nem, cha (Vietnamese sausages), pickles, and a hint of chili sauce to enhance its taste.
- Vietnamese plain rice flan (Banh duc): Banh duc, a traditional Vietnamese food, is typically enjoyed hot during chilly weather. It is served with flavorful fried toppings and a touch of sweet and tangy fish sauce. Another variation is banh duc lac, which has crunchy peanuts inside the soft rice cake and comes with a savory soybean dipping sauce.
- Vietnamese steamed tapioca dumpling (Banh bot loc): Banh bot loc is a traditional Vietnamese food from Hue. It is made with refined cassava flour and filled with seasoned shrimp or pork. The cakes are wrapped and cooked before being enjoyed with a dipping sauce.
- Vietnamese steamed rice cake (Banh te): Banh te, a traditional Vietnamese food from the Red River Delta and Thanh Hoa, features glutinous rice flour wrapped in dong leaves and steamed. With a flavorful meat and mung bean filling, it serves as a light and easy-to-eat snack.
- Vietnamese husband and wife cake (Banh xu xe): Banh xu xe (or banh phu the) is a traditional Vietnamese wedding food, symbolizing the harmony between the bride and groom. The cake is typically made from glutinous rice, which gives it a chewy texture. What makes banh xu xe even more enjoyable is the sweet and fragrant filling made from mung beans and coconut. By utilizing natural food coloring derived from ingredients such as ripe sweet gourd, turmeric powder, butterfly pea flowers, etc., Vietnamese people have created this type of cake with a wide array of vibrant colors.
- Vietnamese water fern cake (Banh beo): Banh beo, a traditional Vietnamese food, showcases regional diversity in its preparation. In Quang Nam, it is thick in texture and is served with a combination of meat, shrimp, aromatic herbs, and a touch of chili. Meanwhile, the version found in Hue features a thinner texture and is served with crispy fried pork skin and some fish sauce.
- Vietnamese green sticky rice cake (Banh com): Banh com is a famous specialty of Hanoi and an essential cake in Vietnamese wedding ceremonies. The vibrant green color of com rice blends with the soft sticky rice and the rich filling of mung beans. You can also enjoy it with a sip of tea to enhance the flavor.
4. Vietnamese bread (Banh mi)
Vietnamese bread, known as “banh mi,” is a quintessential example of traditional Vietnamese food that excites the taste buds. With a French influence, this culinary delight offers a unique fusion of flavors. The crusty baguette, a legacy from French culinary traditions, is filled with an array of ingredients, including savory meats, aromatic herbs, tangy pickled vegetables, and a medley of sauces. This harmonious combination creates a symphony of tastes that is both satisfying and addictive. Whether enjoyed as a quick street snack or a hearty meal, Vietnamese bread embodies the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam and continues to be a beloved street food across the country.
5. Vietnamese rice
- Vietnamese broken rice (Com tam): Com tam, or Vietnamese broken rice, is a popular traditional Vietnamese food. It is made from fractured rice grains, which give it a unique texture. Served with various accompaniments like grilled pork, pickled vegetables, and fish sauce, com tam offers a delightful combination of flavors that tantalize the taste buds.
- Com am phu: Com am phu, a delicious and unique dish from Hue, Vietnam, is one of the traditional foods of the Central region. With its rich and delicate flavor, com am phu combines rice, pork, eggs, and fish sauce to create a distinctive culinary experience.
6. Vietnamese pancake
- Vietnamese pancake (Banh xeo): Banh xeo, another recommended Vietnamese traditional food, stands as a must-try traditional delicacy. The enticingly crisp exterior is achieved through deep-frying a delicate blend of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric batter. Inside, you’ll discover a delightful medley of succulent shrimp, savory pork, and fresh bean sprouts as the delectable fillings. With its tantalizing crunch and flavorful ingredients, this dish guarantees to gratify your taste buds.
- Vietnamese mini pancake (Banh khot): For tourists visiting Vung Tau, banh khot is a must-try street food. These bite-sized delights are made using a mixture of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric for the outside and loaded up with shrimp or squid, making a scrumptious and tasty treat.
- Hue crispy pancake (Banh khoai): Hailing from Hue, banh khoai is a delectable crispy pancake prepared with rice flour, water, and turmeric powder. It features a mouthwatering filling of shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. Served with crisp vegetables like lettuce and Vietnamese balm, this remarkable dish strikes a perfect flavor balance while reducing oiliness. It guarantees an exceptional culinary experience, combining remarkable flavors without excess grease.
7. Vietnamese rolls – Top 4 traditional Vietnamese foods famous to foreigners
- Vietnamese spring rolls (Cha gio): Cha gio, also known as Vietnamese spring rolls, holds a cherished place among traditional Vietnamese food as a beloved delicacy. This delectable dish features a crispy fried wrapper generously filled with a delightful mixture of ground pork, vegetables, and vermicelli noodles. The result is a tantalizing fusion of textures and flavors that tantalizes the taste buds and leaves a lasting impression.
- Vietnamese summer rolls (Goi cuon): Goi cuon, commonly referred to as Vietnamese summer rolls, represent a revitalizing and nourishing staple of traditional Vietnamese food. These rolls are carefully crafted by enveloping a medley of fresh herbs, rice vermicelli, shrimp or pork, and vegetables in delicate rice paper. The result is a gratifying and flavorful appetizer or light meal that refreshes the palate and satisfies the craving for wholesome goodness.
- Vietnamese steamed rice rolls (Banh cuon): Banh cuon is a delicate and savory dish consisting of thin steamed rice rolls filled with minced pork, mushrooms, and aromatic herbs. Served with dipping sauce, it’s a favorite among gastronomes seeking authentic Vietnamese flavors.
- Pho rolls (Pho cuon): Pho cuon, another traditional Vietnamese food, is a unique twist on the beloved pho noodle soup. It features thinly sliced beef, fresh herbs, and rice noodles wrapped in a delicate rice paper roll, creating a refreshing and flavorful culinary experience.
After experiencing the mouthwatering variety of traditional Vietnamese food and satisfying your taste buds, why not consider a journey to other renowned tourist destinations in Vietnam? You can explore the pristine beaches of Phu Quoc, immerse yourself in the coastal beauty of Nha Trang, or wander through the enchanting ancient streets of Hoi An and Da Nang during your Vietnam travel.
For an unforgettable stay, enhance your experience by choosing to stay at Vinpearl hotels and resorts. Renowned for their luxury and excellence, Vinpearl is a prestigious hospitality brand in Vietnam, offering world-class accommodations in picturesque locations, ensuring comfort, elegance, and exceptional service for discerning travelers.
Also, make sure not to pass up the opportunity to explore VinWonders, a remarkable amusement destination that guarantees excitement and delight for individuals of all ages. With exhilarating rides, captivating shows, and immersive experiences, VinWonders presents a realm of adventure and enchantment that will create indelible memories.
Traditional Vietnamese food encompasses a rich culinary heritage that reflects the country’s diverse culture and regional flavors. From the aromatic pho noodles to the savory banh mi sandwiches and delicate spring rolls, Vietnam traditional dishes offer a harmonious blend of fresh ingredients, vibrant herbs, and exquisite flavors. Whether you indulge in the flavorful broth of a bowl of bun bo Hue or savor the crispy texture of banh xeo pancakes, exploring traditional Vietnamese food is a delightful journey for the senses.