Vietnamese street food is a culinary delight, offering a wide variety of delicious and affordable dishes. It is an integral part of the culture and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Street food vendors can be found all over Vietnam, from bustling Ho Chi Minh City to quiet rural villages. The street food stall sells a variety of dishes, from egg coffee with condensed milk to Vietnamese pizza to a savory sticky rice dish with mung bean paste. Vietnamese street food is known for its fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and affordable prices.
In this Vietnamese street food guide, we will explore the top 10 Vietnamese street foods that you should definitely try. These dishes are all delicious, affordable, and representative of the best Vietnamese street food culture!
- 1 The Significance Of Street Food In Vietnamese Culture
- 2 Top 10 Must-Try Vietnamese Street Food Experiences!
- 3 Ready For Your Best Vietnamese Street Food?
The Significance Of Street Food In Vietnamese Culture
Vietnamese street food, from the heavenly Vietnamese sticky rice to the rich flavors of egg coffee with condensed milk and the crispy delight of Vietnamese grilled rice paper, holds a special place in Vietnamese culture. But what makes it truly significant?
For starters, it’s more than just food; it’s a way of life. Vietnamese street food embodies convenience and affordability, making it the daily sustenance for many. Beyond that, the array of options offered by street food vendors is a symphony of flavors waiting to be explored, ensuring there’s something to tantalize every palate. Most importantly, indulging in street food isn’t just about satiating your hunger; it’s a cultural journey, a passport to the heart and soul of Vietnamese cuisine.
Top 10 Must-Try Vietnamese Street Food Experiences!
Vietnamese street food isn’t just about the dishes; it’s a full sensory journey. As you wander through Vietnam’s lively streets, the captivating scents and the sounds of sizzling woks draw you into a world of culinary wonders. So, during your visit to Vietnam, make sure you explore these top 10 street food experiences.
In addition to these top 10 Vietnamese street foods, Hanoi offers its own culinary wonders. Discover the 12 Best Foods in Hanoi for a deeper dive into the capital’s delicious offerings.
1. Pho – Iconic Vietnamese Street Food!
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles called banh pho, a few herbs, and meat. It is the best street food in Vietnam and is considered the national dish of Vietnam.
The broth is the heart and soul of pho and is made by simmering beef or chicken bones for hours with spices and herbs. The broth is typically clear and flavorful, with a slightly sweet and savory taste.
Pho noodles are made from rice flour and water and are slightly thicker and chewier than other types of noodles. The noodles are cooked in the broth until they are soft and tender. The most common type of meat used in pho is beef, but chicken can also be used. The meat is thinly sliced and cooked in the broth until it is cooked through.
There are differences in the traditional Vietnamese street food of the three regions in Vietnam.
- Pho Bac (Northern pho) is made with a clear broth and is typically served with beef and shrimp paste.
- Pho Nam (Ho Chi Minh City pho) is made with a sweeter broth and is typically served with chicken.
- Pho Hai Phong is made with a tomato-based broth and is typically served with seafood.
2. Banh Mi – Unique Vietnamese Street Food
Banh mi, a beloved Vietnamese street food, is a delightful sandwich that traces its roots back to the French colonial era. The French introduced the baguette to Vietnam, which the Vietnamese embraced and adapted to create their unique banh mi.
The essence of banh mi lies in its fusion of French and Vietnamese flavors. While the baguette hails from France, the delicious fillings, fresh vegetables, and flavorful sauces are distinctly Vietnamese. Popular choices for stuffing these sandwiches include grilled pork, Vietnamese sausage, and head cheese. As for condiments, mayonnaise, pâté, sriracha, and soy sauce are common companions to the banh mi.
To make a banh mi, start with a fresh baguette. Slice it in half, then generously fill it with your chosen combination of meats, veggies, and sauces. Finally, wrap it in paper, and your perfect banh mi is ready to enjoy. These sandwiches offer an affordable, convenient, and portable way to savor the flavors of Vietnamese street food, making them a top choice for a quick and tasty lunch or dinner.
3. Bun Cha
Bun cha is a famous and delicious street food of grilled pork and noodles, which is thought to have originated in Hanoi. It is served with grilled fatty minced pork over a plate of white rice noodles and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce.
- Grilled meat: The pork is typically marinated in a mixture of garlic, fish sauce, and sugar before being grilled over charcoal. This gives the meat a smoky and charred flavor.
- Noodles: The noodles are typically made from rice flour and are served at room temperature. They are soft and chewy and provide a good contrast to the grilled meat.
- Herbs: The herbs that are typically served with this dish include basil, mint, cilantro, and lettuce. The herbs add freshness and flavor to the dish.
- Dipping sauce: It is typically made from fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili peppers. It is sweet, sour, and spicy, and adds a delicious depth of flavor to the dish.
Having a long and rich history, this street food in Vietnam is thought to have originated in Hanoi in the early 20th century. This Vietnamese street food was originally popular with the working class, but it eventually became popular with all social classes.
It gained international fame in 2016 when former US President Barack Obama dined at a bun cha restaurant in Hanoi with chef Anthony Bourdain. Today, bun cha is one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes in the world. It is a delicious and affordable way to experience Vietnamese street food.
Looking for the perfect beverage to accompany your Vietnamese street food adventure? Check out our Bia Hoi Guide, where we explore the refreshing world of this local beer culture, and discover the best spots to enjoy it in Vietnam.
4. Goi Cuon
Goi cuon, also known as Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, is a light and refreshing dish. It’s made with rice paper, herbs, shrimp, and pork. These spring rolls are easy to spot because they have thin, see-through rice paper wrappers. Inside, you’ll find fresh and flavorful ingredients that create a light and refreshing taste. For this street food, you’ll need rice paper wrappers, shrimp, boiled pork, and herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro. Don’t forget the veggies, such as carrots, lettuce, and cucumber.
Here’s how it’s made: First, you soften the rice paper wrappers in water. Then, you place shrimp, pork belly, herbs, rice vermicelli noodles, and veggies on the rice paper. Roll it all up, and you’re good to go. And don’t forget the dipping sauce! It’s a mix of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chili pepper. It adds a delicious kick to these delightful rolls.
5. Com Tam
Com Tam, a beloved Vietnamese street food, is crafted from broken rice grains and is a specialty in Ho Chi Minh City. This dish, known for its affordability and scrumptiousness, is a convenient and portable option for a quick lunch or dinner.
The broken rice grains are often the overlooked remnants from rice milling, but they are entirely edible and delicious. Com Tam serves as a delightful example of reducing food waste while relishing exquisite flavors. What makes Com Tam even more appealing is its versatility. This street food can be paired with various toppings and accompaniments, ensuring there’s something to suit every taste. Popular options include grilled pork, chops, shredded pork skin, fried egg, tomatoes, and pickled vegetables.
When enjoying Com Tam, locals typically use a spoon to savor the rice and broth and chopsticks to relish the meat and vegetables. If you’re in Ho Chi Minh City and on the hunt for delicious and budget-friendly Vietnamese street food, don’t miss out on Com Tam. Your taste buds will thank you!
6. Bun Bo Hue
Bun bo Hue, a renowned Vietnamese dish hailing from Hue, is beloved around the world for its rich and flavorful broth. This spicy beef noodle soup boasts a complex and deep taste, making it a favorite among food enthusiasts.
The broth is crafted using a medley of ingredients, including beef bones, lemongrass, ginger, chili pepper, and fermented shrimp paste. It’s simmered for hours, resulting in its intricate flavor profile. Thinly sliced beef, often from cuts like brisket, oxtail, and shank, is cooked directly in the broth.
Served as street food, Bun bo Hue is accompanied by a delightful array of herbs and garnishes like basil, mint, cilantro, and bean sprouts, which add a refreshing touch to the soup. Interestingly, regional variations exist, with the Hue version featuring a thicker and more robust broth, while the rendition in Ho Chi Minh City tends to have a thinner broth with a touch less flavor.
Enjoyed with a spoon and chopsticks, the spoon helps savor the noodles and broth, while the chopsticks are perfect for relishing the beef and herbs.
7. Mi Quang
Mi Quang is a specialty of Central Vietnam and is an iconic Vietnamese food. It is known for its unique turmeric-infused broth, wide rice noodles, and variety of toppings. The broth for Mi Quang is made with turmeric, which gives it a distinctive yellow color and earthy flavor. The noodles are made from rice flour and are thick rice noodles.
It is typically topped with a variety of ingredients, such as pork, chicken, quail eggs, and vegetables. The most common vegetables are roasted peanuts, and herbs such as basil, mint, and cilantro. Mi Quang is often served on special occasions, such as Tet (Vietnamese New Year) and family gatherings. It is also a popular dish for everyday meals.
This delicious Vietnamese street food is sure to tantalize your taste buds. It is a must-try for anyone visiting Central Vietnam!
8. Hu Tieu
Hu Tieu is a clear and tasty noodle soup that is popular in Vietnam and Cambodia. It is made with a variety of ingredients. Hu Tieu is a popular food and is also served in restaurants. There are many different variations of Hu Tieu, but the most common is Hu Tieu Nam Vang (Phnom Penh Hu Tieu), which is made with pork broth that is flavored with star anise, cinnamon, and cloves.
This street food is typically topped with shrimp, squid, and quail eggs. The most common vegetables used in Hu Tieu are carrots and white radishes. Hu Tieu is a delicious and affordable meal that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. It is a must-try for anyone visiting Vietnam or Cambodia.
If you are looking for a delicious and authentic Vietnamese street food experience, be sure to try Hu Tieu. It is a dish that is sure to leave you wanting more. Some of the other ingredients that can be added to Hu Tieu are ground pork, fish balls, and crispy fried tofu.
9. Banh Xeo
Banh Xeo is a crispy and savory Vietnamese pancake with a variety of fillings. It is a popular street food and is also served in restaurants. The ingredients for it are typically: rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric powder, water, and fillings, such as shrimp, bean sprouts, and chopped green onions.
To make this street food, the ingredients are mixed together to form a batter. The batter is then spread out on a hot pan and cooked until golden brown. The fillings are then added to the pancake and cooked through. It is typically served with a variety of fresh herbs, such as lettuce, mint, and cilantro. The herbs are wrapped in the pancake and eaten with a dipping sauce.
Here is a simple technique for eating this Vietnamese food with fresh herbs:
First, you need to take a piece of lettuce and place it on your plate. Then, please add a few fresh herbs to the lettuce leaf. After that, just tear off a piece of Banh Xeo and place it on the lettuce leaf. Next, slowly roll up the lettuce leaf and herbs, and dip it in the sauce. And a tasty Banh Xeo has been done and is ready for you to enjoy.
Please take note that this street food is a delicious and satisfying dish that is sure to please your taste buds. It is a must-try for anyone visiting Vietnam.
Che is a Vietnamese dessert that is made with a variety of ingredients, including beans, fruits, sweet potatoes, and tapioca pearls. It is typically served in a bowl with shaved ice and coconut milk.
There are many different types of this street food, but some of the most popular include:
- Che Ba Mau: This sweet soup is made with three different colored beans: red beans, green beans, and black beans.
- Che Chuoi: It is made with bananas, sweet potatoes, and tapioca pearls. It is typically served with shaved ice and coconut milk.
- Che Dau Xanh: This type of che is made with mung beans, sugar, and coconut milk. It is typically served warm.
- Che Thap Cam: It is made with a variety of fruits, such as coconut, jackfruit, durian, and longan.
Che is a sweet and colorful dessert that is sure to please your taste buds. It is a must-try for anyone visiting Vietnam.
Ready For Your Best Vietnamese Street Food?
Our journey through the top 10 Vietnamese street food picks has been a heartwarming and flavorful experience. These dishes are more than just meals; they’re a peek into the soul of Vietnam. The charm lies in the simplicity and authenticity of each dish, reflecting the ingenuity and spirit of the Vietnamese people.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, these street foods offer a delicious window into the country’s culture. It’s not just about eating; it’s about connecting with the locals, hearing their stories, and becoming part of their traditions. So, when you roam the lively streets of Vietnam, let your senses lead the way, and savor every bite as you immerse yourself in this extraordinary culinary journey.