One of the best ways to explore a new culture is to try their local cuisine. This is one of the things that distinguishes tourists from travellers and highlights a willingness to really connect with the community.
Not to mention that it’s enjoyable to try new things – Especially when sourced from their country of origin. Vietnamese food in Vietnam is sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever had in Australia or wherever you’re from.
It’s fresh and vibrant. It’s often cheap and vegan-friendly. And it’s sure to make a lasting impression even long after you leave the country. For a true taste of Vietnam, be sure to try these 8 traditional dishes while you’re there.
You’ve probably heard of phở. You might have even tried it. But you haven’t really experienced this dish until you’ve tasted it in its country of origin. This warm pork broth, brimming with noodles and herbs, is a Vietnamese staple no matter how hot the weather.
- Bánh mì
This French-Vietnamese fusion is a great meal on the go. Banh mis are crusty bread rolls stuffed with meat (or tofu) and vegetables and heaps of chilli, if you’re brave enough to handle it. Pate and mayo are also common additions to these sandwiches.
- Gỏi Cuốn
Gỏi cuốn are the Vietnamese name for rice paper rolls. They are typically filled with lean protein, veg and vermicelli noodles and served alongside a light dipping sauce, making them a super fresh meal or snack.
- Bún Chả
There are all sorts of cold noodle salads in Vietnam, but is probably the most popular. This dish consists of vermicelli noodles topped with grilled pork and herbs, plus a sauce to pour over top. If you don’t eat meat, look out for veggie spring roll variations.
- Bánh Xèo
Turmeric may have only been popularised as a superfood since recently, but it’s been consumed in Vietnam for years and years. One common use is in the batter of banh xèo, a crispy rice flour pancake filled with vegetables, meat, seafood or all three.
- Cơm Tấm
Cơm tấm translates to “broken rice”, which is quite literally what this dish is. While broken rice grains make up the basis of the dish, it’s bolstered by grilled pork or other meat and salad to make it a complete meal.
- Gỏi Đu Đủ
Green papaya salad is popular throughout Southeast Asia, including in Vietnam. Gỏi đu đủ is a shredded papaya salad typically topped with prawns and a healthy dose of chilli.
- Cà Phê Đá
The heat in Vietnam can kill one’s appetite pretty easily. At times it may be necessary to drink one’s calories, and cà pho đá is a great way to do so. This strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk will help supercharge you through the day.
Which of these 8 items have you had before? Which new dish are you eager to try first?