Overview of Vietnam's food

Vietnamese cuisine is characterized by its fresh ingredients, delicate flavors, and a balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy tastes. Rice, noodles, seafood, and vegetables comprise the base of many dishes, while herbs and spices such as lemongrass, ginger, and chili add depth and complexity to the flavor profile.

vietnamese food

Vietnamese cuisine attracts people because of its variety and delicious flavor

Vietnamese food perfectly combines rich and diverse ingredients, creating savory and delicious dishes that are not too heavy yet refreshing, and extremely tasty. Each dish carries a unique and distinctive characteristic of the region, promising to leave a lasting impression on anyone who has tasted them.

Pho, Bun Cha, and much more 

Vietnamese food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world because of its complex mixture of flavors, textures, and fragrances. It offers something for every palate, from tantalizing bowls of Pho to mouthwatering grilled meat dishes like bun cha. We will examine some of the most well-known meals and their distinctive flavors in this food lover's introduction to Vietnamese cuisine.

If you're unsure of what to eat in Vietnam, have a look at the list of meals that, in my view, you just must try below.


If you ask me: “What is the famous food in Vietnam?”, I can reply to you immediately: “It's Pho". Regarding Vietnamese cuisine, pho is undoubtedly the most famous dish. Pho is a hearty noodle soup that consists of a flavorful broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. Although I have enjoyed this dish many times, always, Pho attracts me by the sweet broth that is simmered from the bones, and the perfect combination of ingredients such as onions, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon. 

No matter what season of the year, pho can always appeal to you. Just stop by a Pho shop, pay a price of between $1.5 and $5, and you can enjoy this famous dish with great flavor.

what to eat in vietnam

Pho attracts visitors by its unforgettable taste

Bun Cha

The next dish, Bun Cha, is also highly famous and is one of the typical food in Vietnam. In the Hanoi-based meal Bun Cha, thinly sliced pig belly and grilled pork buns are combined with vermicelli and a dipping sauce. The fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and black pepper are combined with sugar to give the beef a sweet, aromatic flavor. In addition, customers can also add fresh herbs and lettuce to make the dish more frugal. Bun Cha will usually cost between $1.5 and $3.

what to eat in vietnam

The rich and delicious taste is the characteristic feature of Bun Cha

Banh my

Another extremely famous and attractive Vietnamese dish is Banh mi. The appeal of the dish has been confirmed through its own reputation: Ranked 6th by TasteAtlas in the list of 50 world street foods. That is why if you ask me a question: "What is a famous food in Vietnam?", Banh My certainly can not be off the list.

As a person who loves Banh My, I love the feeling that every time I take a bite of it, I enjoy the combination of crispy crust, rich fillings such as meat, pate, sausage, and the right sauces, with herbs, and cucumbers. Especially, with only $1 to $3, you can experience this great taste already!

banh mi - what to eat in vietnam

Banh My - the dish ranked 6th in the top 50 world street foods announced by the TasteAtlas

Hope that after reviewing the list above, you can have a great answer to the question: “What to eat in Vietnam?” And what if you want to further discover the wonderful cuisine in this country? Let’s come to the next part.

Regional dishes you haven’t tried 

Vietnam has a long culinary tradition, and each region has its own distinctive foods and flavors. There are innumerable regional specialties to sample, from the northern city of Hanoi to the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City. Try Cha Ca La Vong if you're in the north, and Bun Bo Hue if you're in Hue's central region. A must-try in the south is Banh Xeo, a Vietnamese crepe. 

Cha Ca La Vong

The national capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, is where the dish Cha Ca La Vong first appeared. A firm white fish, typically catfish or basa, is used in its preparation. The fish is sliced into bite-sized pieces and marinated in a mixture of turmeric, garlic, fish sauce, and chili peppers. The fish is then deep-fried to a crisp golden brown, garnished with fresh herbs, and served with rice vermicelli.

The method used to prepare and serve cha ca la vong is what makes it so distinctive. Usually, the dish is prepared at the table so that the guests can engage with the cuisine and enjoy the preparation. The fish is cooked in a sizzling hot pan with dill and spring onions using a portable stove that is delivered to the table. An inviting and alluring atmosphere is created by the aroma of the herbs and spices filling the air. A serving of Cha Ca La Vong costs about $8.

vietnamese food - what to eat in vietnam

Cha Ca La Vong - a unique dish of northern Vietnam

Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue is a soup made with beef, pork and a variety of aromatic herbs. Bun Bo Hue has the style of a typical food in Vietnam, with rich flavors and well-matched ingredients. The soup has a slightly sour flavor, which is achieved by using lemongrass, chili, and shrimp paste. The noodles used in this dish are thicker than those used in pho, which gives it a heartier texture.

The meat used in the soup is typically beef and pork, although some recipes call for just beef or pork. The meat is often slow-cooked to ensure that it is tender and flavorful. The soup is then served with various fresh herbs, such as cilantro, mint, and basil, and topped with sliced onions. If you want to find out what to eat in Vietnam, Bun Bo Hue definitely is a great choice. To enjoy this dish, you only need $2 - $3.

bun bo hue - vietnamese cruisine

Bun Bo Hue has a rich flavor of the Central region

Banh Xeo - Vietnamese crepe

The Vietnamese crepe (Banh Xeo), sometimes referred to as the Vietnamese crepe, is a savory pancake that is filled with a variety of ingredients. Rice flour, turmeric, and coconut milk are combined to make a batter that gives the crepe itself its bright yellow color and slightly sweet flavor. After that, the batter is added to a heated skillet and cooked till crisp and golden brown.

Slices of pork belly, shrimp, bean sprouts, and green onions are a few typical ingredients. The crepe is often served with fresh herbs like mint and cilantro, as well as a dipping sauce prepared from fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and chili peppers. The crepe is folded in half to envelop the contents.  The cost of Vietnamese crepe can vary depending on where you are located and the restaurant or vendor you are purchasing it from. However, the average cost can range from $3.5 to $8 per dish. 

banh xeo - vietnamese pizza - what to eat in vietnam

Famous delicious Vietnamese crepe in the South

From the North to the South, there are so many delicious foods that have their own unique flavors. Hope that through the list of food above, travelers can easily choose what to eat in Vietnam to enjoy the wonderful cuisine of this country.

Explore more about our complete guide to Vietnam.

How to find restaurants around the city

Besides the question: “What to eat in Vietnam", “How to find a suitable restaurant?” is also an important query that needs to be answered if you want to enjoy a great experience in Vietnam.

Look for street food 

Street food is an important aspect of Vietnamese culture and you can find some of the best meals there. Without luxury, these shops have a rustic and simple Vietnamese character and excellent dishes that can easily make you miss. To find some of the best and most authentic food in the neighborhood, look for places with lots of food vendors and customers.

Read online reviews

Before visiting a restaurant, you can use internet reviews to determine its level of quality. You may read in-depth evaluations from customers on websites like Google Evaluations, TripAdvisor, and blogs to find out what other people think of a certain restaurant. If you want to obtain a feel of the restaurant's general quality, make sure to read a variety of reviews.

Ask the locals

The best way to find a good restaurant is to ask the locals. They know the best places to eat and can recommend restaurants that cater to your specific tastes. The locals are always happy to share their favorite places to eat and will usually give you an honest opinion.

Tips for ordering at restaurants and navigating street food

We will look at some advice for ordering at restaurants and navigating street food in Vietnam in this guide for foodies.

Ordering at restaurants

It's crucial to comprehend the various dishes and flavors that make up Vietnamese cuisine before placing an order at a restaurant. Observe the following advice:

  • Recognize the menu: Vietnamese menus can be confusing, so take your time to familiarize yourself with the dishes and their components. Look for well-known meals like spring rolls, banh mi, or pho. They will be safe choices if you can not choose what to eat in Vietnam.

  • Consider the season: Vietnamese cuisine is heavily influenced by the seasons. In the summer, you'll find lighter dishes with fresh herbs, while in the winter, heartier dishes are served with warming spices.

  • Get advice from locals: If you're unsure about what to order, ask the restaurant staff or locals for recommendations. They may have some hidden gems for you to try.

Navigating street food

Vietnamese cuisine is a foodie's dream come true. The idea of navigating Vietnam's hectic street food scene, though, scares off many tourists. We'll give you some advice on how to get the most out of your street food experience in Vietnam.

  • Follow the masses: Following the locals is one of the simplest methods to find the best street cuisine in Vietnam. It's likely that the food is good and fresh if you encounter a street seller with a big queue of residents patiently waiting for their food. When making food decisions, accept the locals' expertise because they know best.

  • Look for cleanliness: When it comes to street food, cleanliness is key. Look for street vendors who maintain a clean and hygienic cooking environment. This can include clean utensils, gloves, and a clean food preparation area. 

  • Be bold: Don't be hesitant to try new foods. There is a lot to choose from in Vietnamese cuisine, and some of the best dishes may surprise you.

obama eats bun cha - what to eat in vietnam

President Obama eats Bun Cha with famous chef Anthony Bourdain

Vietnamese food and drinks are incredibly rich and diversified, with enticing and appealing characteristics. The best dishes are made up of each dish's special and delicate combination. With any luck, this blog will have helped you find additional responses to the "What to eat in Vietnam?". And if you have a chance, let's come to Vietnam, and enjoy the fascinating cuisine here. If you are looking for Vietnam tour package, please contact us for detailed informations!