If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, get ready to embark on a culinary adventure like no other. From vibrant markets to bustling street corners, Vietnam offers a tantalizing array of street food that will leave your taste buds craving for more. From the iconic Banh Mi sandwiches and Pho noodles to the delectable Bun Cha and crispy Bánh Xèo, there’s something to satisfy every palate. So, grab a plastic stool, sit back, and let Vietnam’s signature street foods take you on a gastronomic journey you won’t soon forget.
Beef Pho (Pho Bo)
Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)
Vegetarian Pho (Pho Chay)
Pho, undoubtedly one of Vietnam’s most iconic dishes, is a must-try street food that you simply cannot miss. This aromatic and flavorsome noodle soup is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. There are various types of Pho to choose from, such as beef, chicken, and vegetarian options, ensuring there is something to suit every palate.
If you’re a meat lover, then the Beef Pho, also known as Pho Bo, is the perfect choice for you. It features tender strips of beef, which are simmered for hours, allowing the flavors to infuse into the broth. Accompanied by rice noodles and garnished with a variety of herbs and fresh bean sprouts, this dish is a true delight.
For those who prefer poultry, the Chicken Pho, or Pho Ga, is an excellent alternative. The rich and savory chicken broth is combined with tender slices of chicken, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. The addition of fresh lime, chili, and herbs enhances the taste and adds a refreshing twist.
If you follow a vegetarian diet, don’t worry, as there’s a delicious option for you as well. The Vegetarian Pho, or Pho Chay, features a flavorful vegetarian broth, loaded with an assortment of vegetables and tofu. This lighter yet satisfying version of Pho is perfect for those looking for a meat-free option without compromising on taste.
Traditional Banh Mi
Roast Pork Banh Mi (Banh Mi Thit Nuong)
Egg Banh Mi (Banh Mi Trung)
Another Vietnamese street food gem is Banh Mi, a deliciously indulgent sandwich that will tantalize your taste buds. Banh Mi is a delightful fusion of Vietnamese and French influences, resulting in a unique culinary experience.
The Traditional Banh Mi is a classic choice that typically includes a medley of ingredients such as pate, ham, cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro, and a mayonnaise-based sauce. The combination of flavors and textures creates a symphony in every bite, making it a must-try street food delicacy.
For those who enjoy a rich and smoky flavor, the Roast Pork Banh Mi, or Banh Mi Thit Nuong, is an excellent option. Marinated and grilled pork is thinly sliced and generously piled into the baguette, along with pickled vegetables, cilantro, and chili sauce. The result is a mouthwatering explosion of flavors that will leave you craving for more.
If you’re looking for a breakfast or vegetarian option, the Egg Banh Mi, or Banh Mi Trung, is a great choice. A fluffy omelette is cooked to perfection and placed inside the crusty baguette, accompanied by a range of fresh vegetables and sauces. This combination creates a satisfying and nutritious meal that will energize you for the day ahead.
Grilled Pork Bun Cha (Bun Cha Hanoi)
Fish Sauce Marinated Grilled Pork Bun Cha (Bun Cha Sen)
Bun Cha is a vibrant street food dish that originated in Hanoi and has since become a beloved delicacy throughout Vietnam. This dish consists of tender grilled pork, chewy rice vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a sweet and tangy dipping sauce.
The Grilled Pork Bun Cha, or Bun Cha Hanoi, is the classic version of this dish. Succulent pork patties and grilled pork belly are served in a flavorsome broth, accompanied by noodles and a side of fresh herbs and vegetables. The contrast of flavors and textures creates a delightful symphony of taste.
For those who enjoy a slightly different twist on the traditional Bun Cha, the Fish Sauce Marinated Grilled Pork Bun Cha, or Bun Cha Sen, is an excellent option. The pork is marinated in a fish sauce, which adds an umami depth of flavor. This variation elevates the dish to new heights, enticing your taste buds with its unique combination of tastes.
Broken Rice with Grilled Pork Chop (Com Tam Suon)
Broken Rice with Pork Skin and Egg (Com Tam Bi Suon Trung)
Com Tam, or Broken Rice, is a beloved Vietnamese street food dish that is both filling and delicious. It is made using broken grains of rice, resulting in a unique texture that sets it apart from regular steamed rice.
The Broken Rice with Grilled Pork Chop, or Com Tam Suon, is a popular variation of this dish. It features a juicy and flavorful grilled pork chop, which is marinated in a blend of spices, served on a bed of broken rice. Accompanied by pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, and a fried egg, this dish offers a medley of flavors and textures that will leave you satisfied.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something different, the Broken Rice with Pork Skin and Egg, or Com Tam Bi Suon Trung, is a great choice. This version includes crispy pork skin, which adds a delightful crunch to every bite. The dish is completed with a perfectly cooked fried egg and a side of pickled vegetables, creating a memorable culinary experience.
Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp and Pork (Goi Cuon Tom Thit)
Vegetarian Fresh Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon Chay)
Goi Cuon, also known as Fresh Spring Rolls, is a refreshing and healthy Vietnamese street food option. These rice paper rolls are packed with fresh vegetables, herbs, and a variety of fillings, making them a perfect choice for those seeking a lighter meal.
The Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp and Pork, or Goi Cuon Tom Thit, are a classic option that showcases the versatility of Vietnamese cuisine. The rolls are filled with succulent shrimp, tender slices of pork, vermicelli noodles, and an assortment of herbs and vegetables. The rolls are then dipped in a flavorful sauce, elevating the flavors and providing a tangy kick.
For those who prefer a vegetarian option, the Vegetarian Fresh Spring Rolls, or Goi Cuon Chay, are an excellent alternative. These rolls are filled with an array of fresh vegetables such as lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and herbs, ensuring a satisfying crunch in every bite. The rolls are served with a delectable peanut dipping sauce, adding a nutty and savory flavor to the mix.
Bun Bo Hue
Spicy Beef Noodle Soup (Bun Bo Hue)
Bun Bo Hue is a spicy and aromatic beef noodle soup that hails from the city of Hue in Central Vietnam. This dish is known for its bold and vibrant flavors, making it a popular street food choice among locals and visitors.
The Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, or Bun Bo Hue, includes beef shank, pig knuckles, and pork blood jelly. The broth is simmered for hours with a blend of lemongrass, shrimp paste, chili, and other aromatic spices, resulting in a flavorful and fragrant base. Accompanied by rice vermicelli noodles and garnished with fresh herbs, banana blossoms, and lime wedges, this dish is a true representation of the rich and diverse flavors of Vietnam.
Sticky Rice with Mung Bean (Xoi Xeo)
Sticky Rice with Chicken (Xoi Ga)
Xoi, or Sticky Rice, is a popular street food dish in Vietnam that is enjoyed at any time of the day. This comforting and filling dish is made from glutinous rice, which is steamed until sticky and tender.
One of the most beloved variations of Xoi is the Sticky Rice with Mung Bean, or Xoi Xeo. This dish combines the fragrant sticky rice with savory mung beans, which are cooked until soft and creamy. Topped with crispy fried shallots and served with a side of pickles, this dish offers a delightful blend of textures and flavors.
If you prefer a meatier option, the Sticky Rice with Chicken, or Xoi Ga, is a perfect choice. Tender pieces of chicken are marinated and stir-fried with a savory sauce, served on a bed of sticky rice. The combination of the moist and flavorful chicken with the sticky rice creates a satisfying and wholesome meal that will keep you coming back for more.
Ca Phe Trung
Egg Coffee (Ca Phe Trung)
Ca Phe Trung, or Egg Coffee, is a unique and indulgent beverage that is a must-try for coffee enthusiasts visiting Vietnam. This rich and creamy concoction is made by whisking egg yolks with condensed milk and Vietnamese coffee, resulting in a velvety-smooth texture.
The Egg Coffee is traditionally served in a small cup, nestled in a bowl of hot water to keep it warm. The first sip reveals a rich and robust coffee flavor, followed by the creamy sweetness of the egg infusion. The combination of textures and flavors creates a delightful and unforgettable coffee experience that is truly unique to Vietnam.
Bo La Lot
Grilled Beef in Wild Betel Leaf (Bo La Lot)
Bo La Lot is a savory street food dish that features succulent beef wrapped in wild betel leaves. This unique combination of flavors creates a mouthwatering delight that is hard to resist.
The Grilled Beef in Wild Betel Leaf, or Bo La Lot, is made by marinating tender beef in a blend of spices, including garlic, lemongrass, and chili. The marinated beef is then wrapped in wild betel leaves, which impart a distinct herbal note to the dish. The parcels are then grilled to perfection, resulting in a smoky and flavorsome treat that will leave you craving for more.
Vietnamese Pancakes (Banh Xeo)
Banh Xeo, also known as Vietnamese Pancakes, is a popular street food dish that resembles a crispy rice flour pancake filled with a variety of ingredients. This dish is loved for its crispy exterior and the diverse flavors that come from the filling.
The Banh Xeo starts with a batter of rice flour and turmeric, which is cooked on a hot griddle until crispy. It is then filled with a mixture of proteins such as pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, along with fresh herbs and vegetables. The pancake is folded in half and served with a side of lettuce, herbs, and a dipping sauce. The combination of textures and flavors creates a satisfying and delicious meal that will keep you coming back for more.
In conclusion, Vietnam’s street food scene offers a diverse range of flavors and dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. From the fragrant and comforting Pho to the crispy and indulgent Banh Mi, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a meat lover or a vegetarian, a spicy food enthusiast or someone who prefers milder flavors, Vietnam has a street food delicacy that will satisfy your cravings. So, grab a bowl of Pho, a Banh Mi sandwich, or a plate of Bun Cha, and embark on a culinary adventure through the vibrant streets of Vietnam.