The S-shaped country of Vietnam is divided into three regions: North, Central, and South – all distinct from each other not only in their landscape, but also in their culinary culture. Tourists visiting the different regions of Vietnam are blessed with the local specialties and their diverse flavors. No matter where you set foot in the country, you are guaranteed to enjoy the unique and delectable Vietnamese cuisine.
The increasing number of tourists going to Vietnam has helped spread the culinary and food culture of Vietnam to the world. Foreign journals also conduct surveys to find the most popular food in the country. Regardless of the selection criteria and ratings of different magazines, the following Vietnamese dishes always make it to the top five in the hearts of international travelers.
Let’s find out what they are!
Noodle soup or Phở
If you ask any foreigner about Vietnamese food, you will most likely get Pho as a top recommendation. For most locals, nothing is better than having breakfast with a delicious bowl of pho! The secret ingredient that truly makes this popular street food a winner lies in its tasty broth.
In an updated article from CNN Travel, Pho ranked 28 in “The world’s 50 best foods.” Not only that, an article by Suzy Strutner that was published in HuffPost called it a “bowl of heaven.”
Sandwiches or Bánh mì kẹp
Vietnamese sandwiches are enjoyed by many visitors, especially American tourists. Why is this seemingly ordinary dish so popular?
Vietnamese bread is popular with many international tourists. There is even a book about Vietnamese bread: The Banh mi Handbook, widely read by international folks.
Condé Nast Traveler, a US travel magazine, rated Banh Mi as one of the 12 most attractive street foods in the world. They ordered their grilled bread and meat at District 1 – Ho Chi Minh City, on the sidewalk of Nguyen Trai Street. The National Geographic magazine also selected Nha Trang sidewalk Banh mi in a similar list.
Bun cha is another popular street food in Vietnam. Even former US President Barack Obama on a trip to Vietnam also enjoyed this special dish!
Bun cha is a cold noodle soup that locals love to eat during the summer. It is served with grilled pork, vermicelli pasta, fresh vegetables, and a broth that is based on sugar, vinegar and fish sauce. The Vietnamese dish is thought to have originated from Hanoi so it may be difficult to find the unique taste of Bun cha in other parts of the country.
Chả cá Lã Vọng
This is another famous dish that should not be missed when going to Hanoi. It was brought to international attention when Patricia Schultz listed No. 14 Cha Ca street in her book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.
Cha ca La Vong is a dish made from sliced fish cooked together with yellow onions and dill. Peanuts, fragrant herbs, and a sprinkle of shrimp sauce is added to complete the taste of this Hanoi specialty.
Bún riêu cua
Bun riue cua is a variety of the traditional Vietnamese meat rice vermicelli soup. It is served with a tangy tomato broth coupled with pounded crab meat, noodles, deep fried tofu, and congealed blood. Shrimp paste and fresh vegetables are offered on the side.
The dish is very simple and easy to serve making it popular in sidewalk food stalls. The combination of rice vermicelli, light brown crab meat, golden fried green herbs, and red tomato soup in a bowl looks so attractive. The taste doesn’t disappoint either! It is really an all around delectable dish.
Of course, the list only covered the top 5 most popular Vietnamese dishes but the country obviously has more hidden gems than the aforementioned. Vietnamese food culture is becoming more popular especially in the social age. It is one of the most sought after cuisines in the world. Truly, Vietnamese food has become a tourist attraction on its own.