Vietnam is a foodie’s paradise. Seafood, pork, chicken, chilli, shallots, basil, mint, lemongrass, chives, coriander, dill, garlic, lemon, cucumber, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, beansprouts, sesame seeds a plenty. Simple flavours combined beautifully. Wrapped in banana leaves, or rolled in rice paper, or thrown into a lovely broth with every kind of noodle, or stuffed in a pancake or bread or dumpling. Fried, steamed, grilled, or simmered. Served up fresh and inviting and bursting with flavour. To be drizzled with or dunked in fish sauce, chilli sauce, or soy sauce. My mouth’s watering just remembering all those many many superb meals. Some at a busy street crossing, some by the river on little stools and tables that reminded me of childrens’ tea parties, some in cafes adorned with traditional colourful lanterns.
Here’s my list of Vietnamese food you must try if you visit :)
Hoi An street speciality, there are stalls everywhere! Wide rice noodles with a slightly rough chewy texture in a broth containing pork, beansprouts, lettuce, herbs, and flat fried croutons. Another regional speciality is Mi Quang - similar to Cao Lau but with shrimps, peanuts and toasted black sesame rice crackers
A crispy crepe stuffed with shrimp, pork, and beansprouts, to be rolled in rice paper with mint and basil and dipped in a sauce of your choice
Cha Ca Thang Long
White fish cooked with turmeric, dill and green onions, eaten with sticky rice, fish sauce, and chopped peanuts
Rice noodle soup with chicken, herbs, beansprouts, chillies, lemon
Fried spring rolls with a minced pork and vegetable filling
Hoanh Thanh Chien
Fried flat wontons topped with onions, tomatoes, and vegetables/pork/crabmeat
Fesh spring rolls/summer rolls/salad rolls, filled with shrimp, pork, cucumber, carrots, mint, vermicelli noodle and chives
chicken, cabbage, carrots, peppers, onions and herbs tossed in a dressing of vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, chillies, sugar and garlic, garnished with crushed peanuts
Ca Nuong La Chuoi
Fish marinated in chilli, lemongrass and turmeric, wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled
What I also loved was the extraordinary variety of street food - steamed buns (banh bao) filled with pork and mushroom, fried sweet buns filled with mung beans/coconut and topped with sesame seeds, sweet fried banana fritters topped with sesame seeds, sweet potato cakes, roasted corn on the cob, pork/chicken/beef skewers, baguettes with all kinds of fillings (banh mi) - and that's just the beginning.
Wash it all down with a glass of chilled nuac mia, Vietnamese sugarcane juice. Ahhh!