Vietnamese Foods You Must Eat! (And how to find them) + Photos

One of the best cuisines in the world!
I don’t know anyone who does not love Vietnamese food. It is, after all, one of the most delicious and well-balanced cuisines in the world!

Click here to see my photos of Vietnamese food, some of which are sublime and some of which are, ahem, an acquired taste…fancy a duck embryo, Vietnamese goat ‘curry’ or BBQ frogs?!

Why Vietnamese food is fantastic:
1. Balance is key. The focus is on the balance of flavours of five elements: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty. Unlike, say Indian food which some people find too spicy, Vietnamese food is a harmony of these five elements so that one flavour is not overpowering. The food is also about a balance of yin and yang. Hot foods, such as spicy foods or heavy meat dishes, must be balanced with cool foods such as cucumber or tomatoes.

2. Fresh herbs. There is a huge emphasis on using fresh ingredients, especially herbs, which not only adds fantastic flavours to a dish but helps in digestion.

3. The French influence. French food techniques are among the best in the world, if not the best. Because of this colonial influence, Vietnamese food has undergone further refinement that truly elevates home-cooked meals into world-class meals.

So many wonderful, interesting, things to eat!
1. Bánh mì – Vietnamese sandwich
2. Pho (pronounced “fuh”) – utterly delicious soup
3. Cù Lao – fish or meat, caramelized in clay pots
4.Gỏi Cuốn – spring rolls
5. Condensed milk coffee (I liked mine half-sweet)
6. Bánh Xèo – sizzling rice pancake
7. Hot Vit Lon – duck embryo, incubated for 19 to 21 days…the list goes and on and on…!

BBQ okra. Difficult to be vegetarian in Vietnam but not impossible. Click on image to enlarge.
BBQ goat. Yum! Click on image to enlarge.

What if you are a vegetarian?
To be honest, it is going to be difficult. Especially since fish sauce is used in a lot of Vietnamese cuisine and traditional dishes such as pho use broth made from animal bones.

But fret not. While difficult, it is not impossible. Especially now since the tourism industry is booming and locals are becoming more aware of different dietary needs and ready to oblige. I had BBQ okra (pictured above), different tofu dishes and they were delicious. Ask your hotel to direct you to restaurants that cater to vegetarians. When I did a food tour in Ho Chi Minh City (click here to read about it) I met a vegan traveller and they did a good job of catering to his dietary restrictions.

Travel Tip: The best foods in Vietnam, like many Asian countries, are not found in high-end restaurants. They are found on the streets or small, family-run restaurants. The problem, however, is how do you know if the food is safe to eat? Is it something that you can eat, which will not give you an upset stomach and ruin your holiday? Do a food tour! Or a Vietnamese cooking class! Or do both of them, which is what I did!

Why I love food tours: One of the first things that I do when I land in a country that is renowned for its cuisine, like Vietnam, is a food tour. Food tours are a great way to see a fair bit of a city and eat some delicious local food at the same time. Food tour companies source the hygienic food stalls and restaurants and remove the risks typically associated with street foods and small local restaurants in developing countries.

My food adventures in Vietnam: My first night in Ho Chi Minh City, I did a fantastic food tour. Riding on the back of a motorbike, I went to different neighbourhoods and tried all sorts of Vietnamese food, from the usual stuff like pho and spring rolls to BBQ frog, duck embryo. One of my most memorable travelling experiences! I also really enjoyed a cooking class that I did, just outside of Saigon. Part of an organized tour, we went to an organic farm where we met the Chef, who told us about different herbs and mushrooms that they grow on the farm. We then picked the fresh herbs and mushrooms and made a fantastic 3-course meal. Lots of fun! If you want information on this, send me an email and I can tell which company I did the tours with.

My Vietnam Food Photos
Related Travel Guide
  • Central Vietnam contains many of the country’s cultural and historical sites which beautifully showcases its ancient, and often complex, history. Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue (pronounced ‘hway’) are Vietnam’s most popular cities in Central Vietnam. Read on to find out where to go, what to do and travel tips for Central Vietnam....

  • Ho Chi Minh City is a big, busy, business-oriented city. However it does make a good base for day trips. I did 3 different day trips from HCMC: City + Food tour, Cooking class + Cu Chi Tunnels, Mekong Delta cruise + Village visit. Continue reading for more details on Southern Vietnam. ...

  • Best foods in Vietnam are street foods or in restaurants run by family members. The problem is how do you know if the food is safe to eat? Read on to find out. ...

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