Wondering what to eat in Vietnam during your first visit? For first-timers, deciphering a list of Vietnamese foods can be overwhelming. Read on khổng lồ find our ten Vietnam giới food favorites that you need lớn try during your trip.

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Vietnamese food has achieved cult status around the world due lớn the global popularity of Pho, the ubiquitous noodle soup found in cities as varied as Budapest và Cape Town. However, the 90+ million people who live sầu in the Southeast Asia country eat a lot more Vietnamese foods than just Pho.

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We rarely leave a bowl empty in Vietphái nam.

Ankle-high rain greeted us on our first visit khổng lồ Vietnam’s capital thành phố of Hanoi. It was hot & the constant chaos of traffic drove sầu us crazy. However, what also struông chồng our eyes was the huge variety of Vietnamese restaurants, food stalls and street food stands with signs that, outside of the word Pho, were difficult for us to interpret.

Since that initial trip in năm 2016, we’ve devoted much of three years deciphering the culinary puzzle of Vietphái mạnh and the result has been amazing. We always feel a combination of awe và wonder at the food in Vietphái mạnh, not just in the big cities but all around the country.

We returned a year later khổng lồ eat more Vietnamese food và later returned yet again for a third culinary tour of duty. Never bored, we loved the food in Vietphái nam more with each day that we were there.

What Makes Vietnamese Food Culture So Great?

Move sầu over Pho. You’re not the only food khổng lồ eat in Vietnam.

Vietphái mạnh is a hàng hóa of history and influence that shines through the rich flavorful broths the Vietnamese make, the creative sầu dishes they produce & the incredibly fresh fruits và vegetables they grow. This is a country where food options run the gamut from inexpensive sầu Vietnamese street food khổng lồ fancy fine-dining.

In fact, Vietnamese cuisine features a plethora of exotic options, both sweet và savory, that will both confound và tempt first-time visitors. Despite, or perhaps due to, the many food options, the variety of traditional Vietnamese food can be confusing since Vietnam giới food menus are typically and unsurprisingly in Vietnamese.

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We ate this Banh Mi Op La in Saigon. This popular breakfast consists of Op La, which means sunny side up eggs served with and a baguette (Banh Mi) on the side.

Food is a big khuyến mãi in Vietnam, with most people dining out daily if not multiple times in a day. And who can blame them when flavors are so big và Vietphái mạnh food prices are so low? Though many start their day with Pho, even more choose other Vietnamese food favorites.

Savvy visitors will opt to lớn eat with Vietnamese locals in open-air cafés, often sitting on tiny plastic chairs and sharing tables with strangers. Food travelers will adore these meals both for the food và experience, not khổng lồ mention the cheap prices.

Top 10 List of Vietnamese Food

Many of the best Vietnamese dishes come with a variety of green herbs, chili peppers, lime and other accouterments. Pictured here is a Banh Cuon “dish” that we ate in Hanoi.

Eating in Vietnam has its challenges, and we’re not just talking about getting in và out of the tiny plastic chairs. The main challenge is narrowing down the many Vietphái nam food options available throughout the country. The choices for the best food khổng lồ try in Vietnam giới can be downright overwhelming!

Whether you begin your Vietphái mạnh culinary adventure in Hoi An, Hanoi, Saigon or Da Nang, we recommover starting with these ten Vietnam food classics. Some items on our danh mục of Vietnamese foods will be familiar & others may be new to lớn you.

There are so many foods you must eat in Vietnam giới. We have sầu our favorites và, by the kết thúc of your trip, you will too!

Add red chili peppers lớn Pho at your own risk. Though small in kích thước, firey peppers add quite a kiông xã of heat.

Easily the most popular Vietnamese food in the world, Pho lives up to lớn its vaunted reputation when eaten in its homel&. Named after the flat, fettuccine-like Pho noodles that fill the bowl, Pho in Vietphái nam is pure magic. Ironically, though, Vietnamese noodle soup is different depending on where you slurp it.

In Hanoi, where Pho was invented back in the early 20th century, the French-influenced broth has clear flavors developed during a simmering process that marries the protein to the liquid. Despite its apparent simplicity, Hanoi Pho is a complex, satisfying meal in a bowl.

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Surprisingly different, Pho in Saigon typically has a richer taste và often comes with a range of hot & sweet condiments along as well as a variety of leafy green herbs. Pho in Saigon và the rest of the South most resembles the Pho served in North American restaurants.

The two main Vietnamese Pho varieties are chicken (Pho Ga) và beef (Pho Bo). The best Pho vendors typically serve sầu one or the other, ladling the soup from large vats lớn queues of hungry Pho fans.

Pro TipJoin the line on your first morning in Vietphái mạnh. You’ll always remember your first bowl of Pho in Vietnam, though it surely won’t be your last.

Similar to lớn a submarine or hoagie but made with local ingredients, the Banh Mi sandwich is a Vietnamese classic.

Unlượt thích Pho which hails from northern Vietphái mạnh, the Banh Mi sandwich originates from the southern part of the country, allegedly in Saigon. Though they’re available all over the country, you will find the best Banh Mi sandwiches in Vietnam’s southern & central cities.

Most Banh Mi vendors sell the popular snaông chồng from Mobile metal food carts, though more established vendors have sầu permanent stores. Regardless of the cart or store, all Banh Mi vendors sell baguettes filled with a range of meats, pangã, cucumbers và other savory ingredients.

Read about our favorite Banh Mi sandwiches in Hoi An.

Prepare for a bit of a feast when you order Bun Cha in Vietnam.

Always a local favorite, Bun Cha hit the international radar when President Baraông chồng Obama và Anthony Bourdain rolled up their sleeves to lớn dip rice vermicelli noodles (bún) into lớn little bowls filled with a grilled combination of ground và whole pork drenched in Nuoc Csay mê (Nước Chấm), a sweet yet savory sauce made with ingredients lượt thích fish sauce, sugar and vinegar. They both loved the experience and who can blame them – eating Bun Cha is fun.

When you eat Bun Cha, be sure lớn add greens like lettuce, purple và green Vietnamese shiso, cilantro, bean sprouts & banamãng cầu blossoms lớn your dipping bowl. If you’re extra hungry, you can get a side of Nem to lớn add khổng lồ the set. These fried spring rolls are the perfect Bun Cha accompaniment và are generally value priced.

Pro TipPlan lớn eat Bun Cha for lunch. Unlike Pho, Bun Cha is not a breakfast dish.

Our hearts are full any time we drink an Egg Coffee in Vietnam. We drank this liquid dessert in Da Nang.

Yet another Hanoi invention, Egg Coffee is more of a dessert (think Creme Brulee) than a beverage. Made with egg yolks, sugar và condensed milk, Egg Coffee is the best drink you will eat in Vietphái nam.

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We discovered Egg Coffee in Hanoi at Cafe Giang, the bustling, back alley, two-story cafe where the dessert drink was invented. When you visit the cafe, you can order your egg coffee hot or iced. You can even order variations with chocolate, green beans, rum and beer.

We later drank the decadent drink in other Vietnamese cities like Da Nang và Saigon. We also tried Salternative text Coffee, a twist on Egg Coffee that tastes surprisingly good, in Hue.

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Pro TipYou can drink Egg Coffee directly from the cup but you’ll want lớn use a spoon instead. It’s that rich and decadent.

Some people prefer Bun Bo Hue over Pho due lớn the Central Vietphái mạnh soup’s complex flavor protệp tin.

Ironically, Bun Bo Hue translates to lớn Beef Noodle Soup from Hue even though Bun Bo broths are often made with some pork. Other ingredients like lemongrass, shrimp paste, and lime juice ramp up the flavor. Adventurous eaters can also add cubed pig’s blood for even more flavor.

Although Bun Bo Hue is easily available throughout Vietnam, the best place to lớn slurp the spicy Vietnamese soup is in Hue where it was invented. Hue offers visitors many reasons to lớn visit from its imperial fortress to lớn gorgeous pagodas on the Perfume River, but we’d argue that eating Bun Bo Hue should be top on the các mục for food travelers.

You can find great bowls at the Hue’s Dong Ba Market or at local stands around Hue. The soup is simply called Bun Bo in nearby Central Vietnamese cities like Da Nang.

Pro TipPlan to eat Bun Bo Hue for breakfast in Hue. The best soup vendors sell out well before lunchtime and sometimes as early as 9 am.

We ate these Vietnamese Sea Crabs in Da Nang. The beach town has numerous Hai San restaurants catering to both locals and tourists.

Vietphái mạnh, with its huge coast along the South Trung Quốc Sea, is one of the great seafood centers of the world. Hai San is a comtháng choice when groups of Vietnamese want to go out with friends for a fun dinner.

As you travel around Vietnam, you will surely see large groups of locals at Hai San restaurants eating copious amounts of seafood và toasting một nhì ba, vȏ (pronounced yo) while drinking many bottles of local beer.

When you get up the nerve sầu lớn join the seafood tiệc nhỏ, you will find holding tanks displaying a dizzying array of live sầu fruit de mer including many sizes of crab, squid, monstrous shrimp, oysters, sea snails & even geoducks. Once you make your selections, you will likely choose a preparation style such as hot pot (lẩu) or grilled (nướng).

After the tough ordering decisions, all that’s left lớn vị is sit baông chồng & enjoy a seafood feast preferably with a beer. In case we weren’t clear, beer is the drink of choice at Hai San restaurants in Vietnam giới.

Pro TipSince seafood is typically sold by weight in Vietphái mạnh, be judicious when you order lớn avoid an unpleasant surprise with the bill.

Have you heard of Mi Quang? This rice noodle dish is a Central Vietphái nam staple.

Flying under the radar by international standards, Mi Quang is wildly popular in Vietnam’s central hub of Da Nang. In Da Nang, the local favorite is cheap and available everywhere.

For those unfamiliar, Mi Quang is a rice noodle dish featuring thiông chồng wide rice noodles served with a choice of proteins like pork, chicken, shrimp, quail eggs, mussels và eel served in a soupy, beefy broth. Mi Quang typically comes with a big pile of greens on the side along with a range of condiments like chilis and fish sauce.

You’ll want khổng lồ start eating your bowl of Mi Quang with chopsticks. Once the noodles are gone, you can switch to lớn a spoon so that you get every drop of the tasty broth at the bottom of the bowl.

Pro TipIf your plans don’t include Da Nang, you can also find Mi Quang in Hoi An.

What’s better than regular pancakes? In Vietphái mạnh, the answer is Banh Xeo or sizzling pancakes.

Inspired by French crepes and invented in Central Vietnam, Banh Xeo are yellow pancakes filled with a phối of ingredients including pork, shrimp and vegetables. Far from fine dining, diners often sit on little chairs in casual settings where they wrap Banh Xeo in rice paper and dip them in a special pork liver và peanut sauce before crunching inkhổng lồ the crispy treats.

Like most of the best Vietnamese food, you should be able to lớn find Banh Xeo in any large thành phố. Just come lớn dinner hungry when you try them in the center of the country where they were invented.

Pro TipDon’t be alarmed by Banh Xeo’s bright yellow color. Turmeric adds both flavor & color to lớn the sizzling pancake shells.

Banh Cuon is not readily available outside of Vietphái nam. Be sure to lớn try the stuffed steamed rice rolls when you visit Vietnam.

Invented in Northern Vietnam but available throughout the country, Banh Cuon is a cheap, fun breakfast option for those days you’re not in the mood for soup. These steamed rice rolls come filled with a savory pork & mushroom filling as well as a bowl of sweet dipping sauce.

Don’t look for a fancy Vietnamese restaurant lớn eat Banh Cuon. Instead, look for a crowded Banh Cuon stvà where the staff, usually women, make the rice flour rolls khổng lồ order by pouring the rice flour pancake mixture on special round griddles. Banh Cuon is really cheap, making it a great “off the map” meal choice.

Pro TipThough it hails from North Vietphái nam, you can find Banh Cuon all over the country.

Cau Lau is a must eat in Hoi An. Crispy croutons add a crunchy element khổng lồ this unique Vietnamese rice noodle dish.

Famous for its charming waterfront & yellow buildings, Hoi An’s greatest attraction may be the tastiest street food available at its Central Market và all over town. Popular options include White rose dumplings and banh mi sandwiches, but the best thing to eat in Hoi An is Cau Lau.

With its thichồng, firm, tonnarelli-lượt thích, rice noodles & crunchy, square, flat rice noodle croutons, Cau Lau is different from other Vietnamese noodle dishes. Though unique, the dish still has typical ingredients lượt thích protein (often barbecued pork) & green herbs.

What really makes Cau Lau unique is a mystery. Some say the secret ingredient is water from the city’s ancient Ba Le well but nobody toàn thân is really sure except for Hoi An locals.

Pro TipTry Cau Lau in Hoi An, the đô thị where it was invented and reigns supreme.

Vietphái nam is in Asia.Vietnam’s currency is the Dong.Vietnamese is Vietnam’s official language but many people also speak some English.Service is neither included nor expected at Vietnamese restaurants.

Get a Vietphái nam Visa

Don’t get stuông xã at the border when you travel lớn Vietnam!We’ve personally used Vietnam-Visa three times khổng lồ secure Vietphái mạnh visas and have sầu been happy with their convenience & service.

Hungry for More Food Around the World?

Cheông xã out our food guides for Belarus, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ecuador, Japan, Lithuania, New Zeal&, Norway, Portugal & Vương Quốc của nụ cười.

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl và Mindi Hirsch giới thiệu their culinary travel experiences và recipes on the vietnamyounglions.vn website và YouTube. The married Food và Travel nội dung creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.


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