10 Vietnamese Dishes You Simply Must Taste
If you’re planning a trip to beautiful Vietnam any time soon, be sure to take note of these 10 delicious dishes you simply must taste. While many people are aware of the culinary delights to be found in countries like France, Italy and even Thailand, Vietnamese food remains under the radar and is essentially one the travel world’s best kept secrets. The use of fresh vegetables and herbs in almost all dishes creates incredible flavours and the vast selection of dishes to be found around the country is enough to make the mouth water.
Below are 10 Vietnamese dishes you must be sure to taste throughout your trip to Vietnam. Nothing will make you fall more in love with this country than the food!
1. Traditional Pho
Pho is the national dish of Vietnam and is one of the only Vietnamese dishes that is well known around the world. Essentially a noodle soup with sliced beef, fresh vegetables and some local herbs, Pho is a firm favourite in Vietnam with both locals and tourists. You can decide for yourself how salty or how spicy you want your Pho by adding some homemade chilli sauce, something that can be found on every table in every Vietnamese restaurant.
2. Nem Lui
While the name offers a taste of France, this dish is Vietnamese through and through. Beef or pork is minced and then rolled around sticks of lemongrass and then cooked through. This is then served on a bed of rice noodles along with rice paper, lettuce, sliced vegetables and peanut sauce. You then must roll up the beef, vegetables and rice noodles carefully into the rice paper and eat like a fresh spring roll. YUM!
3. Hue Pancakes
Not only are these delicious to eat, they are also fun to make. These pancakes are actually steamed over a sheet of silk as opposed to fried like Western pancakes. They are served savoury rather than sweet, rolled up with a salty fish sauce, mushrooms and sliced beef. A great midday snack.
4. Dried Beef Salad
Dried beef salad is a great sharing dish and is also one of the best choices to leave you feeling refreshed and not overly full on a hot and humid day. The salad is covered in a tangy vinaigrette style sauce and then crushed up peanuts are then sprinkled on top.
5. Fresh Spring Rolls
Another Vietnamese dish that is known around the world, there is no better place to taste freshly made spring rolls than in Hanoi. These can be bought as a vegetarian side dish or with meat and consist of carrots, rice noodles, cucumber and sometimes a sneaky prawn or two! Dip into some sweet chilli sauce and you’re good to go.
6. Sugar Cane Rolls
A favourite with Vietnamese kids, these tasty treats are gold for anyone with a sweet tooth. They are usually sold on the side of the street from a street stall on the back of a bicycle. Ingredients include shredded coconut and sugar cane wrapped inside some rice paper. Simple but satisfying!
7. Papaya Salad
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a starter just because it’s a salad. Salads in Vietnam are designed to fill you up and the Papaya salad does exactly that. A great sharing dish, it’s also a favourite on hot and sticky days when all you want is to be left feeling refreshed.
8. Bun Cha
Bun Cha is a speciality in Northern Vietnam with some restaurants in Hanoi only selling this single dish. A popular lunchtime delight, Bun Cha is the most mouth-watering dish of bbq beef balls served with rice noodles and a splash of spicy sauce. Once you taste this wonderfully prepared meal, you won’t want to eat anything else.
9. Fried Spring Rolls
Just like fish spring rolls, but deep fried and crunchy. Served with sweet chilli sauce, these are always the perfect sharing platter before meals. Can be served with or without meat, and sometimes with seafood.
10. Tropical Fruits Dessert
The Vietnamese people must endure the most dizzying levels of heat and humidity in the summer months. As a lot of houses and stores do not have zircon and simply rely own small electric fans, indulging in some tropical fruit desserts can often be their only reprieve. A simply but clever idea, pieces of tropical fruit and ice-cream are served with crushed ice which you can scoop into your bowl as often as you like to keep your fruit ice cold and to keep your body cool. By far the best Vietnamese dessert out there!