Vietnamese Food

Food is what connects people and no where is that statement reflected more vividly than in Vietnam. From bustling street vendors to high-end fine dining restaurant, food can be found on almost every corner of city and country area, cherished by groups of family and friends and eating alone is a rare scene. And once you are in the country, you will soon realize authentic food is much broader than pho - the omnipresent noodle with beef and cha gio - deep fried spring rolls. Food in Vietnam is as diverse as its dialects and one can only uncover it while you stay long enough. Discover a gastronomic world in the S-shaped country with our food guide.

Bananas
Fruits

Bananas

A familiar specialty of the countryside.

Avocado
Fruits

Avocado

There are various types of avocado in Vietnam.

Canh - Vietnamese Broth and Soup
Soups

Canh - Vietnamese Broth and Soup

Vietnamese cuisine has many kinds of “canh”.

Coconut
Fruits

Coconut

Among all the fruits, coconut is probably the most popular and has the most uses.

Jackfruit
Fruits

Jackfruit

Jackfruit is considered the biggest fruit in Vietnam.

Sapodilla
Fruits

Sapodilla

Being imported to Vietnam from Central America a long time ago, sapodilla has become quite popular nowadays in the recent 20 years.

Papaya
Fruits

Papaya

Papaya plays a vital role in Southern Vietnam's life.

Star Apple
Fruits

Star Apple

Star apple is one of the fruits that have the most marvelous taste.

Dragon Fruits
Fruits

Dragon Fruits

About dragon fruits in Vietnam.

Pineapples
Fruits

Pineapples

Pineapple is a tropical fruit that has a rather bizarre look.

Durians
Fruits

Durians

Yet if you can eat it, you will love it.

Rambutans
Fruits

Rambutans

Rambutan fruit has long been recognized as the "golden" fruit of Vietnamese agriculture.

Mangosteens
Fruits

Mangosteens

Delicious taste and packed vitamins.

Mango
Fruits

Mango

Mango is grown mostly in southern Vietnam's provinces.

Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls
Wraps and Rolls

Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls

Most Vietnamese restaurants offer spring rolls in their menu.

Braised and Caramelized Fish in Coconut Milk
Seafood

Braised and Caramelized Fish in Coconut Milk

People living a long the Vietnamese 3,260 km sea lines use fish as the main dish in their meals. Fish and its processing has been being an indispensable part of these locals’ cuisine as they usually say “rice and fish like mom and her child”.

Xoi Xeo
Rice and Noodles

Xoi Xeo

There is nowhere in Vietnam that so many types of sticky rice- or “xoi” present like they do in Hanoi. But standing out among the various kinds, “xoi xeo” is not only creative art with a sophisticated combination of ingredients and color but the sophistication even leaks out to its odd name.

Kaffir Lime Leaf
Herbs and Spices

Kaffir Lime Leaf

In Vietnamese cuisines, kaffir lime leaves with its subtly bitter spicy taste and wonderful aromatic scent act as a magic herb, adding fresh flavor to many recipes.

Thorny Coriander
Herbs and Spices

Thorny Coriander

Mùi tàu or ngò gai is among the most popular herbs in Vietnam, often seen along side with green onions in stew and stir-fried dishes. Native to Central America, this coriander is now grown in all over southeast asia, including Vietnam.

Vietnamese Cilantro
Herbs and Spices

Vietnamese Cilantro

Popular in both Centre America and Southeast Asian cuisines, this type of cilantro is often thinner in stem and fader in green leaves. Rau mùi is often grown in winter in northern parts of Vietnam or in temperate zone like Dalat.

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Frequently asked questions

Is Vietnamese food good for weight loss?

Vietnamese food is fairly healthy and often considered as one of the healthiest foods on earth. In fact, many people tend to lose between 5% and 7% of their body weight in 2-3 months if they switch from western cuisines to Vietnamese diet.

What does "Phở" mean?

Pho is a popular staple in Vietnamese diet. The dish is noodle soup with clear broth and can include either beef or chicken. A variety of herbs such as cilantro, green onions, basil and bean sprout are also added to give the dish a distinguished flavor.

Pho can be enjoyed any time of the day, either as a main meal or as afternoon snack.

Is Vietnamese food spicy?

Yes and no.

Vietnamese's cuisines vary starkly between region and the further you move to the South, the more spice is added to the dish. You will find dishes that are basically made from chili and spice (such as southern curry) or dishes that do not included any spice at all (boiled vegetable or tofu braised with tomato sauce).

Most often you will see that chilies are left on the side and diners can add to taste.

What do Vietnamese say before they eat?

Vietnamese normally do not say graces before meals (unless because of religious reasons). The culture places a lot of respect for the elderly and it is a custom for the younger to say "Moi Ong/ Ba Xoi Com" which literally means "Dear Grandpa/Grandma, Please enjoy your meal".

This applies to whoever is older than you - so in an extended family setting the saying will go to Grandparents, then to Parents, Aunts and Uncles and Older brothers and sisters.

What do Vietnamese people eat for breakfast?

Most Vietnamese would go out for a hearty breakfast. Some prefer broth-based dishes such as pho and bun while others normally go for to-go dishes such as Banh My and Xoi (sticky rice). Refer to our article: 9 Most Popular Items on Vietnamese breakfast menu for further information.

What are some traditional food in Vietnam?

It's hard to count all the traditional food of Vietnam but there are a few that have made their name to world prestige:

  • Pho: Noodle soup with beef or chicken
  • Bun Cha: The famous BBQ pork served with round noodle and dipping sauce
  • Banh My: Vietnamese baguette with a variety of stuffings
  • Bun Bo Hue: Hue thick noodle with beef 
  • Hu Tieu: Southern rice noodle with cha-siu and quail eggs
  • Che: Vietnamese desert made from variety of beans and thickened with corn flour
  • Bun Oc: Noodle With Snails
  • Hoi An Chicken Rice: Turmeric-flavored rice served with shredded chicken