Vietnamese food is known to be both healthy and robust in flavour, thanks its generous combination of fresh herbs and greens, paired with rice, noodles, seafood, pork and beef. While many cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer plenty of fine-dining venues and five-star hotel restaurants decked out in extravagant settings, some of the best (and most authentic) Vietnamese delicacies are actually found at roadside eateries, vibrant street markets, and humble-looking restaurants.
A typical meal includes rice or noodles, a meat or seafood dish, a vegetable dish, soup and nuoc cham (fermented fish sauce) for dipping, each of which can easily customised according to your preference. Here’s a helpful guide on what to eat in Vietnam, most of which can be enjoyed just about any time of the day. While most are familiar with pho or spring rolls, there’s a wide range of Vietnamese dishes only available in certain regions so be sure to try them out during your visit.
Pho is essentially Vietnam’s signature dish, comprising rice noodles in a flavourful soup with meat and various greens, plus a side of nuoc cham (fermented fish) or chilli sauce. A basic bowl contains tai (beef slices), bo vien (beef meatballs) or nam (beef flank), topped with bean sprouts, lime wedges, and fresh herbs such as basil, mint, cilantro, and onions. Depending on the restaurant or roadside stall, you can also opt for more exotic ingredients such as gan (beef tendon), sach (thinly-sliced pig stomach), and ve don (flank with cartilage). Typically eaten for breakfast, pho is priced between VND 20,000 and VND 30,000 at a local restaurant or street market in Vietnam.