Vietnamese food is having something of a moment in the West – and for good reason. This unique cuisine crosses salty, sweet, and sour flavors for dishes that are distinct and unforgettable.
Vietnamese dishes are more than just pho though, with some of the best seafood in the world, along with rice noodles of every variety, we’re sure there’s something for everyone.
We’ve compiled a list of dishes that show off everything this country has to offer. Grab your chopsticks and dig in.
1. Banh Xeo
Banh xeo is the pride of every major fishing port, including Danang and Hoi An. A mix of fresh greens, vermicelli noodles, and meats like chicken, pork, beef or, best of all, shrimp come together in a pancake made of rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric.
Head over to Ngon Villa Danang or Hoi An for a traditional, indulgent take on this Vietnamese staple.
2. Cao Lau My
This traditional dish shows off everything that Hoi An has to offer. In fact, it’s so distinct to Hoi An that, unless it is made with water from the local well, it isn’t really cao lau my.
The noodles that make up the base are one of the defining distinctions of this dish – yellow rice noodles that are unlike those you’ll find in the north. The well-seasoned bone broth is the perfect match of a variety of meats, herbs and local greens. Try a bowl of at Ngon Villa Hoi An.
3. Com Ga Hoi An
Hoi An is known throughout the country for having the finest farm raised chicken and the tastiest yellow rice. That’s why we’ve named our com ga after Hoi An – just so everyone knows. The mix of pandan leaves, chicken stock and turmeric, along with the wood-fired clay ovens that it’s cooked in give it an unforgettable pale yellow hue. Come along to Ngon Villa Hoi An for a taste.
4. Bun Cha
This dish may be one of the most famous Vietnamese meals besides pho and banh mi and not just because Barak Obama and Anthony Bourdain sat down for a bowl.
A hearty meal good for summer and winter and a Hanoi specialty, made of rice noodles, grilled pork patties, pork belly, fresh herbs and a rich sweet and sour broth. Try yours with an absolutely essential side of nem cua be at Ngon Villa Hanoi.
5. Pho Bo
It would be surprising if you’ve come this far without hearing about pho – it’s probably the most famous Vietnamese dish out there. This hearty bowl starts with rice noodles, before thinly sliced beef and beef broth is added, followed by a mix of garlic, chilli or lime, flavored by you, to your taste buds. Visit Home Restaurant in Hanoi and try it for yourself.
6. Cha Ca
While mam tom, the signature sauce that is served with cha ca, is a point of division between locals and visitors to Hanoi, it’s worth noting that other sauces are available.
This fishy dish, that’s served in a pot in the centre of your table, can be eaten with fish sauce or soy sauce instead. Try the grilled ‘catch-of-the-day’ at Home restaurant in Hanoi.
Dessert lovers can find a different sort of sweet tooth quencher in Vietnam. Che, which is the Vietnamese word for dessert, comes with some surprising ingredients.
Served with a range or beans, jelly, dumplings, sweet potato or fruit, which will surprise and delight even the most discerning of taste buds. Try a bowl of che with coffee jelly and almonds at Home Moc in Hanoi.
8. Ca Kho To Mien Tay
In the south, there’s nothing better than stewed fish, caramelized and cooked in earthenware pots. While it may never get cold enough in Ho Chi Minh City to truly enjoy comfort food in a conventional way, there’s always a good opportunity to indulge in ca kho to Mien Tay – best served in Saigon’s own Home Finest.
9. Vit Nuong Lu
Though it may seem like the farthest place in Vietnam to be influenced by Chinese cuisine, the traditional Chinese roast duck is one of the most popular foods in Saigon. A big dish when it comes to takeout and special occasions, roast duck can be found in Ho Chi Minh City’s Home Finest.
10. Banh My
While banh my may just mean ‘bread’ in Vietnamese, this popular lunch on the go is so much more than that. Stuffed full of fresh herbs and a range of meats or egg pate, the banh my is the pinnacle of Fresh inspired Vietnamese food. We believe the finest banh mys resonate in central Vietnam, so head to Ngon Villa Danang to try one for yourself.