Country Of Deliciousness; The Best Vietnamese Dishes
When we first arrived in Vietnam we were overwhelmed by all the food options the country can offer. It can be hard to find the best Vietnamese dishes if you don’t know where to start and it definitely is if you’re short on time.
We were based in Vietnam and we enjoyed getting to know the country’s beautiful culture and enjoy maybe, even more, the culinary adventures we had there. Walking the streets and small alleys we discovered a new delicacy each time. Couldn’t pass by anyone sitting on the curb or on the stairs of their houses in the alleys without our mouth watering. The unknown were calling and we quickly befriended any delicious dishes and bites that got in our way. Because food and eating aren’t just crucial to sustaining life but they bring endless joy, create lifelong memories and help us get to know a culture better.
Here are a couple of our favorite eats and drinks we found while discovering Vietnam from North to South. We loved the food in all parts of the country but it is important to mention that if you like more spicy, or rich flavors you should try the dishes in the south.
Street food plays an important role in locals’ life and from our first day in ours as well. Most of the Vietnamese don’t cook at home, it is far more affordable to buy food from the neighbor’s “restaurant” than buying small portions of ingredients at the market.This is the reason why we have found countless food vendors at every corner or rather at every second meter.
That is the reason why you are going to find countless food vendors on the street in every city of the country.
You will find all sorts of food from noodle soups (even including instant soups) to rice dishes for a much lower price than in restaurants. Ranging from 5000 VND (15-20 cents) to 40000 VND ($1.60-2) there are plenty to choose from.
Bánh Tráng Nướng (to make it easier, Vietnamese pizza)
It is a mixture of spring onion, herbs, if you ask sausage and cheese, various sauces (mayo and CHILI) and quail eggs. Naturally, the recipe will differ at each vendor and part of the country. We liked the ones in DA LAT (20000 VND, $0.80-1) and Can THO (10000 VND, 40-50 cents) cities.
It is a mixture of spring onion, herbs, if you ask sausage and cheese, various sauces (mayo and CHILI) and quail eggs. Naturally, the recipe will differ at each vendor and part of the country. We liked the ones in DALAT (20000 VND, $0.80-1) and Can THO (10000 VND, 40-50 cents) cities.
Goi Cuon (fresh spring rolls)
One of the most common foods, you will find at almost every corner. But there is spring roll and hmmm! Yummy spring roll. Vermicelli noodles, prawn(s), lettuce and mint leaves (too much can ruin it…) are wrapped in soft rice paper, which won’t make a great dish without the dipping sauce. The real magic is in the dark brown, a bit salty, a bit sweet, chunky sauce. If it’s prepared well, definitely will blow your mind!
If in NHA TRANG, make sure you circulate the streets with open eyes, there is a lady, who usually sits down by the road to roll these magnificent bites in front of you for 5000 VND (15-20 cents) a piece to make you forget all your troubles!
Bánh MI (sandwich)
Don’t let the simple sounding make you underestimate the greatness of this dish! Probably not the best choice for vegetarians, as unfortunately the best ones are made with pork or chicken. Although, there are ones made with eggs and tofu or with veggies only.
A pate-like paste, sauces are made with fat and herbs. Depending on the vendor, different veggies (cucumber, carrot, lettuce) come in as well. You could ask for extra cheese and meat. Hungry yet? The best one we got try was in Hoi An, near Botanic Garden Villas, on CUA DAI street.
Banh Gio – Hot rice paste with minced pork or mushroom wrapped in Banana leaves
You can come across this at almost every corner. Quite a natural blend of spices and you will see locals eating this every day. The rice paste is surprisingly tasty despite its simplicity.
The Vietnamese Goulash
It was surprisingly similar to the Hungarian Goulash. This rich and colorful dish will fill you up without question. If you’re looking for something spicy and filling this is your soup! In An Cafe in Da Lat, we found the tastiest of them all! An Cafe is a quaint little place with homey interior and exterior to welcome everyone for the important meals of the day or just a snack. Besides that lovely soup, try the special juices and teas! Will love them for sure.
Hoi An White Rose
Traditional Hoi An dish, semi-transparent white dough filled with spiced, minced pork or shrimp. Bunched up to look like roses. This dish you can find in every restaurant that serves Vietnamese food.
Fast food restaurant soups – Pho, Vietnamese noodle soup
These soups taste almost like the authentic ones on the street! The prices vary but a Pho usually cost $3. Although, on the street, you will get it for about $1. However, here you get some fresh salad comfy seats, aircon, and a little quiet from the busy streets. Oh! And of course a toilet.
Fresh Sea Food
Finding fresh sea food is never been easier. You can choose the one you like and under 10 mins you can eat the freshly grilled delicious pieces. In case you fancy some meat or if you’re a vegan there is no need to worry! You can find many fresh options you can choose from if you want to enjoy some gilled bites.
Floating market Foods
We went on a wonderful Mekong Delta tour which included a visit to the biggest floating market in Vietnam. These shots were taken at Cai Rang floating market. As you float by the huge sellers’ boats you’ll be surprised by smaller boats sneaking to you offering all kinds of delights. Don’t be afraid and give it a try! They taste absolutely fantastic. Also, these are the foods what locals really eat since they have to start their shift early in the morning and have their breakfast here. If you don’t want to go for the hot stuff, you can still buy some fresh fruits or just a cup of fresh coffee or tea.
Yummy! The Vietnamese pancakes will entertain your eyes, nose, and taste buds. They’re more similar to the French crepes than the US pancakes. Usually made with bananas, chocolate syrup or honey, and whipped cream.
Banh Ran or Banh Cam
These delicious balls are made and called differently depending on if you’re in Northern or Southern Vietnam. On the north, they call it Banh Ran and made of jasmine essence, and made with sweet rice flour, filled with monk bean paste, and then deep-fried. They cover it with sugar and then pour some sugary syrup over it as well. On the South, they make it without jasmine essence and use normal rice flour. Also, they don’t use sugar to cover it but instead they use sesame seeds.
If you visit Vietnam then you will most certainly try fresh coconut. It is refreshing, nutritious and super easy on your wallet. You can buy a cold one on the streets for $0.80 or sit in a beach club and pay about $2.50.
Another of our favorite things about Vietnam is the fresh juice vendors all over the country. It costs around $1. You can choose the liking of your fruit and then they freshly blend it in front of you. Don’t forget to ask: No sugar, please! Otherwise, they will shower it with sugar or condensed milk.
This strong beverage will wake you up even after the toughest nights! You can ask for very strong, four shots. Which only recommended if you’re a regular coffee drinker. Usually served with condensed milk and at some places, they even add egg.
This delicious drink popped up in the mind of the same gentleman who invented egg coffee. If you want to know where is the best place to try or how to make one for yourself check out our post.
Năn nào! Bon appetite!
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