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.

Vietnamese Herbs
Herbs and Spices

Vietnamese Herbs

It could be the biggest mistake if we speak highly of Vietnamese cuisine, describing it with our most rhetorical words without mentioning herbs.

Xôi vò (Mung Bean Coated Sticky Rice)
Rice and Noodles

Xôi vò (Mung Bean Coated Sticky Rice)

Along with “Xoi Gac”- Red sticky rice, “Xoi Vo” is considered an important cuisine of Vietnamese tradition (read more about Vietnamese Sticky Rice or Xoi).

Vietnamese Baguette (Banh My)
Cakes (Banh)

Vietnamese Baguette (Banh My)

Vietnam has a long history as an agriculture country with rice being the main staple. Banh my is a rare exception.

Grapefruit pudding
Desserts

Grapefruit pudding

Grapefruit Puddingis a popular dessert in Can Tho city

Five-color Sticky Rice
Rice and Noodles

Five-color Sticky Rice

Five-color Sticky Rice is an important dish of almost all ethnic minorities in the mountainous regions of Northern Vietnam.

Xoi Ngu Sac (Five-colored steamed glutinous rice)
Rice and Noodles

Xoi Ngu Sac (Five-colored steamed glutinous rice)

Almost all tourists are drawn by its irresistible attraction, an eye-catching appearance with five vibrant colors.

Mien Luon (Eel vermicelli noodle)
Rice and Noodles

Mien Luon (Eel vermicelli noodle)

Another specialty visitors should try when they come to Ninh Binh is eel vermicelli noodle.

Goi Xoai (Green mango salad)
Salad

Goi Xoai (Green mango salad)

Still the similar recipe is applied, but just a little change in ingredients is enough to give birth to a new flavoring dish; what is mentioned here is a Vietnamese popular favorite named “gỏi xoài”.

Nom Bo Kho (Jerky beef salad)
Salad

Nom Bo Kho (Jerky beef salad)

“Nộm bò khô” is so popular in Vietnam that it has gradually become a familiar snack of street foods family and showed up frequently in Vietnamese weeding parties and death anniversaries.

Goi Buoi Tom ( Pomelo salad with shrimp)
Salad

Goi Buoi Tom ( Pomelo salad with shrimp)

If you are passionate about the pure sour and sweet of pomelo, “gỏi bưởi tôm” is definitely what you are seeking for as a good appetizer in summer days

Nom Hoa Chuoi (Banana blossom salad)
Salad

Nom Hoa Chuoi (Banana blossom salad)

It is used to a rustic dish that now turns to be a specialty in Vietnam cuisine.

Goi ngo sen (Lotus stem salad)
Salad

Goi ngo sen (Lotus stem salad)

A refreshing dish for hot days, “gỏi ngó sen” is healthy, vibrant, delicious on its own and certainly crunchy.

Banh Hoi (Rice noodle sheet)
Rice and Noodles

Banh Hoi (Rice noodle sheet)

Its name is a little bit confusing, it actually is not a cake at all, but a dish of thin rice noodles woven into intricate bundles

Banh Duc (Plain rice flan)
Rice and Noodles

Banh Duc (Plain rice flan)

It is considered one of the most rustic and simple cakes in Hanoi cuisine, but the way to serve it varies thanks to Hanoian gastronomists

Banh Ran (Vietnamese donut)
Fry

Banh Ran (Vietnamese donut)

“Bánh rán” is a delicious finger food for snacks in Vietnam.

Banh Goi (Pillow shaped cake)
Fry

Banh Goi (Pillow shaped cake)

A good dish for cold days in Vietnam, “bánh gối” intrigues guests at first sight for its pretty baby pillow shape and its colorful sauce

Banh It (Little cake)
Cakes (Banh)

Banh It (Little cake)

Bánh ít is one of specialties of the central in Vietnam, commonly used in regional death anniversaries and marriage rituals as well, but now it has become a snack that you can enjoy anytime

Sa Sung
Seafood

Sa Sung

Everyone knows that QuangNinh is famous for its scenery, its people, its culture, etc. but not many people know about a unique food that can only be found in there.

Cha Muc - Squid Patties
Seafood

Cha Muc - Squid Patties

Throughout the long coastline of Vietnam, cuttlefishes are everywhere.

Bun Tom (shrimp vermicelli noodle )
Rice and Noodles

Bun Tom (shrimp vermicelli noodle )

No one can tell for how long such a simple food has grown to be an essential part of Hai Phong gastronomy.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5

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