Vietnam is well-known for its rich culture, history, and, of course, delectable cuisine. The diversity of street food accessible across the country is one of the finest ways to explore the local culture and cuisine. Vietnamese street foods are inexpensive, tasty, and eclectic, with a large variety of meals to suit any taste preference.
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In the following sections, we will introduce you to some of the most popular and iconic experiences with street food in Vietnam, along with where to find them and what makes them special. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a first-time visitor to this country, these Vietnamese street foods are sure to delight your taste buds and give you a deeper appreciation for the country’s rich culinary culture.
What Makes Street Food In Vietnam Special?
Vietnamese street food is also an important aspect of the culture and way of life in the nation. Eating street food is a communal event that draws people together in Vietnam. Locals and visitors alike congregate on the sidewalks around little plastic tables, savoring their favorite foods while conversing with friends and strangers.
What distinguishes Vietnamese street foods is not just its flavor, but also how it is made and served. Street food sellers in Vietnam sometimes specialize on one or two dishes that they have honed through time. They use fresh, locally obtained products and frequently employ traditional culinary skills passed down through generations.
The enormous range of foods available is another distinguishing feature of Vietnamese food. There is no shortage of delectable items to sample, from savory rice noodle soup to crunchy spring rolls. Each Vietnamese street food has its own unique flavor and history, representing the country’s rich culinary past.
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How To Choose The Best Street Food In Vietnam?
There are various factors to take into account while choosing the best Vietnamese local delicacies. There are certain criteria that might help you assess if a certain dish is worth eating or not, ranging from the quality of the ingredients to the taste profile and cooking techniques utilized. Here are a few reminders to keep in mind!
Ingredient Freshness And Quality
The quality of the ingredients used in cuisine may make or break the taste and overall experience. Avoid dishes that have been laying out for too long and look for street vendors who use fresh, locally sourced ingredients. This is especially vital for food including raw ingredients like fresh herbs and vegetables.
Complexity Of Flavor
The rich interplay of tastes, from salty and sour to sweet and spicy, is one of the characteristics of Vietnamese cuisine. A good street food meal should have a solid mix of these flavors, with each component bringing something distinctive to the table. Look for foods with a range of textures and flavors, and don’t be hesitant to ask for advice from the vendor.
Tradition And Authenticity
Because Vietnamese street food has a long history and a rich culinary heritage, it is critical to seek out meals that are steeped in tradition and cooked utilizing traditional cooking techniques. Dishes changed or modified for the tourist market should be avoided since they may be less genuine or tasty.
Hygiene And Safety
While street food is a cherished part of Vietnamese culture, it’s crucial to take sanitation and safety into mind when picking a seller. Look for vendors that follow proper food safety measures, such as wearing gloves and using clean utensils. Avoid vendors who handle money and food at the same time, and be wary of dishes that are served at room temperature.
Finally, one of the best ways to choose the best Vietnamese street food is to ask locals for recommendations. They will frequently have insider information about the greatest vendors and meals in the neighborhood, and may lead you towards hidden treasures that you would not uncover on your own.
Top 10 Street Foods In Vietnam
Vietnam is a foodie’s paradise, with a broad and delectable variety of street food to discover and enjoy. Vietnamese food culture also reflects the country’s rich culinary history and cultural influences, from steamy bowls of noodle soup to crispy banh mi sandwiches.
We will present you to the top ten must-try Vietnamese street food experiences in this section. So join us on this gastronomic adventure and prepare to be wowed by the vivid and mouth-watering world of Vietnamese street cuisine!
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1. Ca Phe Sua Da
Ca Phe Sua Da is a must-try drink for coffee enthusiasts visiting Vietnam, along with egg coffee. This traditional Vietnamese iced coffee is a delectable combination of strong coffee and sweetened condensed milk that is ideal for a hot day.
The way Ca Phe Sua Da is prepared is what distinguishes it. Vietnamese coffee is brewed using a small metal filter called a phin, which slowly drips hot water through finely ground coffee beans. The coffee is then combined with sweetened condensed milk to create a creamy and sweet flavor that is unique to Vietnam.
One of the finest aspects of Ca Phe Sua Da is that it is available practically everywhere in Vietnam. You can find it at cafes, street food stalls, and even on the streets sold by vendors. A cup of Ca Phe Sua Da is usually very inexpensive, making it a popular choice among both locals and tourists. You could also taste it in some famous coffee shops such as Cafe Giang (Hanoi), Trung Nguyen Coffee (Ho Chi Minh City), or Long Coffee & Tea (Ho Chi Minh City).
Tips: To enjoy Ca Phe Sua Da like a native, sit at a little plastic table and chair put up on the pavement and sip your coffee while observing the busy street. It goes well with traditional Vietnamese snacks like Banh Mi or Banh Bao.
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Ca Phe Sua Da – Vietnamese Iced Milk Coffee
Ca Phe Sua Da, often known as Vietnamese Iced Milk Coffee, is a popular beverage in Vietnam that has earned a global following. Learn more!
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2. Banh Mi
This is one of the best street food in Vietnam that has grown in popularity in recent years all over the world. This tasty and satisfying sandwich combines French and Vietnamese ingredients and is a must-try for any foodie visiting Vietnam.
It’s created with a crispy and fluffy baguette stuffed with flavorful grilled meat or shredded chicken, fresh herbs, and pickled veggies. After that, this Vietnamese sandwich is covered with a variety of sauces and seasonings that give depth and complexity to the flavor.
One of the finest aspects of Banh Mi is that it is available practically everywhere in Vietnam. It’s available from street food vendors, modest bakeries, and even high-end restaurants. This famous dish is generally fairly inexpensive, making it a popular choice for both residents and visitors.
Here are some of the most well-known and highly-regarded Banh Mi brands in the country: Banh Mi Phuong (Hoi An), Banh Mi Huynh Hoa (Ho Chi Minh City), Banh Mi Madam Khanh (Hoi An), or Banh Mi Pho Co – Banh Mi 38 (Hanoi).
Tips: Be adventurous and try different types of Banh Mi to find your favorite flavor combination.
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Banh Mi /ˌbɑːn ˈmiː/
Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that has acquired popularity both in Vietnam and beyond. Learn more!
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3. Pho – Iconic Street Food In Vietnam
Pho is a well-known Vietnamese street food that is a must-try for any foodie visiting Vietnam. It’s a delicious noodle soup with a tasty broth, rice noodles, and various toppings.
Beef or chicken bones are simmered with spices including star anise, cinnamon, and coriander to make the broth. This creates a thick and delicious broth, which serves as the soup’s foundation. Rice flour is used to make the noodles, which gives them a chewy and pleasant texture. Toppings can vary, but they usually consist of small slices of meat or chicken, bean sprouts, fresh herbs, and lime wedges. You could also learn how to cook this distinctive dish through this Hanoi cooking class!
This flavor Vietnamese food may be found all around Vietnam, from street food booths to high-end restaurants. To get the finest Pho, however, it is often advised to hunt for nearby restaurants that specialize in this meal. These eateries typically have a loyal following of consumers who know they serve the greatest Pho in town.
Here are some of the most well-known and highly-regarded Pho brands in the country: Pho Bat Dan (Hanoi), Pho Quynh (Ho Chi Minh City), Pho Thin (Hanoi), or Pho 24 (throughout the country).
Tips: First, add the toppings (usually are many kinds of vegetable) that come with the meal, since they add both flavor and texture to the soup. Second, don’t be hesitant to add condiments like chili sauce, hoisin sauce, and fish sauce to the soup to improve the flavor.
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Pho / “fuh.”
Pho is a popular Vietnamese dish that has captured the appetites and tastebuds of people all over the world. Learn more!
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4. Banh Xeo
This savory pancake is created with rice flour, water, turmeric powder, and coconut milk, and it’s packed with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. The pancake is flipped over to create a crispy shell and is traditionally served with fresh herbs and a dipping sauce.
The blend of tastes and textures is what distinguishes this Vietnamese street food. The pancake is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a blast of savory flavor with each bite. The fresh herbs and dipping sauce freshen the dish, making it a well-balanced and delicious dish.
Local street vendors and markets are the greatest places to find Banh Xeo. The Ba Hoa Market in Ho Chi Minh City, as well as the Binh Tay Market, are famous places to get Banh Xeo. Banh Xeo Gieng Ba Le, a well-known street seller in Hoi An, has been providing the meal for almost 20 years. Other popular places are Banh Xeo Da Nang Co Muoi (Da Nang) and Banh Xeo An La Ghien (Ho Chi Minh City).
Tips: First, it is critical to eat Banh Xeo while it is hot and crispy in order to completely savor the texture. Second, dipped pancakes in the accompanying fish sauce improve the taste profile. Banh Xeo in the Mekong Delta is typically larger compared to other regions, while in other areas it is served in smaller portions, often on a small plate.
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Banh Xeo – Vietnamese Rice Pancake
Banh Xeo or Vietnamese Rice Pancake is a traditional Vietnamese dish. It is distinguished by its crunchy texture and unique tastes. Learn more!
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5. Com Tam
It’s a simple yet filling dish made out of broken rice, grilled pork chops, a fried egg, and pickled veggies. What distinguishes this street food in Vietnam is its humble origins: it was initially a meal prepared from leftover broken rice grains that were too tiny to sell, but it has now become a Vietnamese culinary staple.
Com Tam’s broken rice grains are shorter and stubbier than conventional rice, giving the meal a distinct texture and flavor. The rice is normally served hot and steaming, with grilled pork chops topped with a sweet and flavorful sauce. The fried egg is frequently prepared sunny-side up, adding a rich, creamy aspect to the meal.
This savory Vietnamese street food may be found all around Vietnam, although the tastiest versions are generally found in the Southern Vietnam, notably in Ho Chi Minh City. Com Tam Ba Ghien, and Com Tam Phuc Loc Tho are some of the most popular spots to sample Com Tam in Ho Chi Minh City. These establishments are well-known for their succulent pork chops, savory sauces, and ample servings of broken rice.
Tips: Don’t be afraid to request more fish sauce! The sauce is an important component of Com Tam and adds a lot of flavor to the meal. If your meal doesn’t have enough sauce, don’t be afraid to ask your server for more.
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Com Tam is a famous Vietnamese dish that originated in the country's south. Learn more!
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6. Bun Bo Hue
Bun Bo Hue is a classic Vietnamese street food from the country’s central Vietnam area, notably the city of Hue. It is a popular street food in Vietnam that has spread throughout the country and the rest of the world. Bun Bo Hue is distinguished from other Vietnamese soups by its distinct combination of spicy, savory, and sour ingredients.
Bun Bo Hue is often cooked with beef shank, hog hock, and pig’s blood, which impart a deep and meaty flavor to the soup. It also include lemongrass, chili peppers, and shrimp paste, all of which add to the soup’s unique spicy and sour flavor. The soup is served on rice vermicelli noodles and topped with sliced meat, herbs, fresh vegetables and lime wedges.
Several Vietnamese restaurants serve Bun Bo Hue, although the tastiest versions are often found in the central area, notably in Hue. Bun Bo Hue O Cuong, Bun Bo Hue Ba Tuyet, and Bun Bo Hue O Phung are some of the most popular sites to taste it in Hue. These establishments are well-known for serving genuine and tasty renditions of the meal.
Tips: Be aware that the soup is normally rather hot, so if you’re not used to spicy cuisine, it’s advisable to request that the soup be made less spicy.
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Bun Bo Hue
Bun Bo Hue is a typical Vietnamese noodle soup from the central Vietnamese city of Hue. Learn more!
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Che is a famous Vietnamese sweet dessert appreciated by both locals and foreigners. It is a street food in Vietnam, which is sweet, refreshing delicacy available in a variety of flavors and styles. Che is often made with sweetened coconut milk or mung bean paste as a foundation, and it can be eaten hot or cold.
The diversity of things that may be added to Che are what make it unique. Fruit, beans, tapioca pearls, and jelly are some of the most popular ingredients. These components give Che its distinct texture and flavor, creating in a fulfilling and delectable dessert.
Che is available at a variety of restaurants and cafes around Vietnam, as well as from street food sellers. Che is quite famous in Ho Chi Minh City, thus some of the greatest venues to sample it are there. The Ben Thanh Market, where sellers sell a broad range of Che tastes and styles, is a favorite destination for Che. If you are in Hanoi, then Xoi Che Ba Thin is also a good choice!
Tips: Be sure to ask the sellers for suggestions on the finest tastes and styles to sample.
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Che – Vietnamese Sweet Soup
Che or Vietnamese sweet soup is a famous Vietnamese dessert appreciated by both locals and visitors. Learn more!
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8. Banh Trang Nuong
Banh Trang Nuong, also known as Vietnamese grilled rice paper, is a famous Vietnamese street food that has grown in popularity in recent years. This delectable delicacy is produced by grilling rice paper over hot coals and then topping it with green onions, quail eggs, dried shrimp, and chili sauce.
The grilling technique causes the rice paper to become crispy and slightly burnt, delivering a delightful crunch with each mouthful. The toppings provide a variety of flavors and textures, making it a popular and delicious street food among residents and visitors alike.
Banh Trang Nuong may be found at street food sellers and marketplaces across Vietnam, particularly in the south. One famous location is Ho Chi Minh City’s Ben Thanh Market, where sellers sell a variety of Banh Trang Nuong with various toppings.
Tips: It is vital to eat Banh Trang Nuong while it is hot and crispy for the greatest texture. It is also a good idea to watch the street food vendor grilling the rice paper to verify that it is properly cooked.
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Banh Trang Nuong – Vietnamese Grilled Rice Paper
Banh Trang Nuong is a famous street food snack in Vietnam, often known as Vietnamese grilled rice paper or rice paper pizza. Learn more!
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9. Bun Dau Mam Tom
Bun Dau Mam Tom is a street food in Vietnam that provides a one-of-a-kind culinary experience for anyone wishing to discover Vietnam’s eclectic street food scene. This food is not for the faint of heart, as the shrimp paste sauce gives it a powerful and pungent aroma (mam tom).
The rice vermicelli noodles (bun) are soft and delicate, with a pleasant crunch from the crispy fried tofu (dau). While it has a strong aroma, the shrimp paste sauce is savory and tasty, giving depth and complexity to the meal. When combined with vinegar, sugar, and chili, it produces a powerful and distinct flavor that is very distinctive.
It is particularly popular in Hanoi, where it is recognized as a local delicacy. Bun Dau Hang Khay, Bun Dau Trung Huong are two more notable sites.
Tips: It is recommend to eat Bun Dau Mam Tom with fresh herbs like as mint, coriander, and perilla leaves, which serve to balance out the strong tastes of the shrimp paste sauce.
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Bun Dau Mam Tom
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10. Hu Tieu
Hu Tieu is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is frequently overshadowed by the more well-known Pho, but this delicious food is as wonderful and should be tried by any foodie visiting Vietnam. This Vietnamese street food originated in southern Vietnam but has spread throughout the country owing to its unique blend of Chinese and Vietnamese culinary influences.
Noodles are primarily prepared from rice flour and available in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from thin and vermicelli-like to thick and flat. The soup broth is clear and light, and is often produced from pig bones and dried shrimp. It is served with a variety of toppings such as pork, shrimp, squid, quail eggs, and herbs.
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Hu Tieu is available from street sellers, food courts, and restaurants across Vietnam, but it is particularly popular in the south, notably in Ho Chi Minh City. Hu Tieu Nam Vang (Ho Chi Minh City), Hu Tieu My Tho, Hu Tieu Ba Nam Sa Dec in the Mekong Delta area are popular destinations.
Tips: While tasting Hu Tieu, it is recommended that you add chili, lime, and soy sauce to your taste.
Hu Tieu is a Vietnamese noodle soup that originated in the country's south. Learn more!
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To sum up, street food in Vietnam is full of unique and wonderful dishes that any eater visiting Vietnam should taste. There’s enough for everyone here, from the well-known Pho and Banh Mi to lesser-known specialties like Hu Tieu and Bun Dau Mam Tom. Whether you want to taste street food from a street food vendors or dine at a fine dining establishment, the flavors and fragrances of Vietnamese cuisine will leave an indelible impression.
Vietnamese food, with its blend of Chinese, French, and indigenous influences, fully reflects the country’s rich history and cultural heritage. Therefore, don’t be scared to move beyond your comfort zone and try something new; you never know what delectable surprises you’ll find!
Excited To Taste Vietnamese Food?
If you’re ready to explore the delicious world of Vietnamese dishes for yourself, book one of our food tours today! Our knowledgeable guides will take you to the best street food vendors and restaurants to sample the most authentic and delicious dishes Vietnam has to offer.
Don’t miss out on this amazing culinary adventure! Book your food tour now and experience the flavors of Vietnam like never before!