Ah, Vietnam… a country known for its delicious, fresh food. From steaming bowls of pho to crispy spring rolls, there's no shortage of mouth-watering dishes to try in Vietnam. But with so much deliciousness on offer, it can be tough to know where to start. That's why I've put together this guide to the best food in Vietnam. So grab a seat and your chopsticks, and let's dig in!
There's no dish more iconic in Vietnam than pho. This steaming bowl of rice noodles, herbs, and meat is traditionally eaten for breakfast, but can be enjoyed at any time of day. While you'll find pho all over Vietnam, it originates from the north of the country. And when it comes to the best pho in Vietnam, there's no contest: it's hands-down Pho Bat Dan in Hanoi. This unassuming eatery has been serving up piping hot bowls of pho since 1950, and locals swear by its delicious broth and perfectly cooked noodles. Trust me, after one bite you'll see why!
2. Spring Rolls
Spring rolls are a staple of Vietnamese cuisine, and make for the perfect light snack or side dish. These delicate parcels are filled with a variety of fresh ingredients like vegetables, pork, shrimp, and mushroom, and are served with a sweet chili dipping sauce. My personal favorite spring rolls are Nem Ran, or fried spring rolls. They may not be as healthy as their boil-in-the-bag counterparts, but they sure are tasty!
3. Banh Mi
Banh mi is a type of Vietnamese sandwich that's become popular all over the world. These tasty sandwiches are made with French baguettes (a legacy of the colonial era) and filled with a variety of meats like grilled chicken or pork belly, along with pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. You'll find banh mi stalls on just about every street corner in Vietnam; but for something a little special, head to Banh Mi Hoa Ma in Ho Chi Minh City. This family-run business has been making banh mi since 1955, and their secret recipe is definitely worth trying!
4. Cao Lau
Cao Lau is a dish unique to the city of Hoi An in central Vietnam. This hearty noodle soup is made with thick rice noodles, pork slices, and greens, and is traditionally cooked using water from an ancient well located in Hoi An's Old Town district—giving it its distinctive flavor. Head to Miss Ly Cafe to try Cao Lau at its best; this tiny restaurant has been serving up cao lau since 1972, and locals love it so much that they often queue up for an hour or more just to get a taste!
No list of the best food in Vietnam would be complete without mention of coffee—after all, this southeast Asian country is one of the world's leading producers of coffee beans! While you'll find excellent coffee all over Vietnam, Dalat in the country's Central Highlands region is definitely worth a visit for any coffee lover; this picturesque town is home to myriad charming cafes serving up delicious brews made from locally grown beans. If you're feeling adventurous, try an egg coffee—a local specialty made with condensed milk and raw eggs! Yum!
Whether you're looking for piping hot bowls of noodle soup or crispy spring rolls fresh out of the fryer, Vietnam has something for everyone—including some truly unique dishes that you won't find anywhere else in the world! So what are you waiting for? Grab your chopsticks and delve into some of the best food that Southeast Asia has to offer! Bon appetite!