Top 10 street food in Vietnam you don’t want to miss
Gỏi Cuốn Tôm Thịt / Fresh Shrimp & Pork Spring Rolls
“Gỏi Cuốn Tôm Thịt” are a refreshing appetizer made up of boiled shrimp, boiled pork belly, vermicelli noodles, and an assortment of fresh vegetables (lettuce & Chinese chives) rolled in rice paper. It literally means “salad rolls”
They are very popular and can be found every where in the city.
They are served at room temperature with some peanut dipping sauce or fermented fish sauce dipping sauce on the side.
It is a delicious and healthy snack to be enjoyed on the hot days.
Bánh tráng nướng / Vietnamese Pizza
This local and very tasty “pizza” is made of bbq-grilled rice paper covered with various toppings.
Some quail or chicken egg is beaten directly on top of the rice paper and spread evenly to help gluing the toppings.
Toppings could be cheese, minced meat, dried shrimps, sliced sausage, peanuts, fried shallots, herbs, fish sauce…
“Bánh tráng nướng” are one of the most popular street food among young people in Vietnam. Be aware that you can get easily addicted to this crispy and savory snack!
Bò lá lốt / Beef rolls
“Bò nướng lá lốt” is beef wrapped in wild betel leaves (lá lốt) and flavored with garlic, shallots, fish sauce, black pepper and lemongrass.
They are rolled up like edible cigars and grilled over hot charcoal in the streets. You eat them accompanied with rice paper, vermicelli rice noodles, lots of herbs and some dipping sauce.
The mix of grilled meat & leaves is just a perfect combination and makes it one of the tastiest Vietnamese street food snacks!
“Bò lá lốt” are usually served in the evening and perfectly fit with cold beer.
Chả giò (or nem rán) / Fried spring rolls
Those fried spring rolls, alternatively “nem rán” (North of Vietnam) or “chả giò” (South) are a very popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine.
They are made up of minced pork, and shrimps, mushrooms, dried onion and are served on special occasions such as Tet and other family festivities.
Ingredients are all mixed thoroughly before being wrapped with rice paper into small rolls & fried in boiling oil. You eat them with lettuce, herbs and bun vermicelli rice noodles. Depending on the region of Vietnam, they are slightly different.
Sò Điệp Nướng Mỡ Hành / Grilled Scallops with Green Onion
Seafood is very popular for Vietnamese people, especially sea snails, crabs, clams and scallops.
One of the top seafood dishes you should not miss is the “Sò Điệp Nướng Mỡ Hành” which are scallops grilled on the BBQ with pork fat, green onion, fish sauce and peanuts.
It is just delicious and can be found on the street restaurants along the coast but as well in Ho Chi Minh City.
Phở / Noodle soup
“Phở” (noodle soups) is probably the most well known and popular street food in Vietnam! It consists of broth, rice noodles, few herbs, and sliced meat on top. It is served with fresh bean sprouts, green lemon and chilly. It has an amazing and addictive taste and smell!
You can have your pho served with raw sliced beef or with stewed beef or chicken (phở gà) or seafood (phở hải sản) . You can even ask a vegetarian one (phở chay).
Originated from Northern Vietnam in the early 20th century, it was spread throughout the rest of the world by refugees after the Vietnam War.
Nowadays, it is most commonly eaten for breakfast but many people would have it for lunch or dinner.
Xôi chiên với chà bông (với được)/ Fried sticky rice
This is a scrumptious street snack you can find in lots of street stalls in Saigon.
It is amazingly tasty, fast to prepare and cheap. It is made of a sticky rice which is fried and flattened into a pancake and topped with minced dried pork.
When it is well done, the texture of the “xôi chiên” is perfect: it should be at the same time crispy, crunchy and a bit spongy which is just a fantastic combination.
Once you have tried this specialty at its best, you will always crave for it!
Bánh xèo / Crispy pancake
The “bánh xèo” is a savory crispy crepe made of rice flour which is deep fried and stuffed with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts, and ultimately, garnished with fresh herbs. The yellow color is given by the turmeric powder added to the batter.
Depending on where you are in Vietnam, it is made with or without coconut milk. You eat this delicious Vietnamese crepe with your hands and dipping in sweet and chilly fish sauce and with some green salad.
It is said to be originating from the Hindu-influenced kingdom of Champa during the occupation of the south-central cost of Vietnam until the 19th century. Although other people say it comes from the French cuisine influence of the crepes. No real matter where it comes from, this finger food is worth a try.
Bánh cuốn / Steamed rice rolls with pork
This dumpling dish is made from steamed rice starch filled with ground pork and woodear mushrooms and is served with scallion oil, fried shallots, sliced local sausage (chả lụa), cucumbers and herbs. It is served as well with fish sauce for dipping.
It is a quite soft and delicate though tasty street food dish.
“Bánh cuốn” is a light dish and is generally eaten for breakfast everywhere in Vietnam or for midday snack.
Há cảo / Shrimp dumplings
Made of tapioca starch combined with rice flour, these “Há cảo” dumplings are usually stuffed with shrimps and pork or vegetables. They can be a snack or an aperitif meal.
These dumplings originating from China are transparent and smooth and the shrimps inside must be cooked well, but not overcooked.
You should dip them in fish sauce or chilly sauce and eat them in one bite with chopsticks.
Bún thịt nướng / Grilled meat with rice vermicelli
“Bún thịt nướng” is a popular Vietnamese cold rice-vermicelli noodle dish topped with grilled pork, fresh herbs like basil and mint, fresh salad, and bean sprouts. Some roasted peanuts and pickled carrots are added on top, bringing extra taste.
Some varieties include as well extra sliced spring rolls, or extra chopped grilled beef.
It is an awesome healthy street food specialty that you can find everywhere in Vietnam except in Hanoi where they cook a similar dish which is called “Bún chả”.
Cơm tấm / Broken rice
Literally meaning “broken rice”, “cơm tấm” is one of the cheapest and the most mouthwatering dishes in Vietnam and you can find “cơm tấm” outlets nearly on every street in the city.
It is a meal putting together barbecued pork on broken rice, topped with a fried egg and other side dishes such as sliced cucumber and tomato or herbs.
It is a complete and balanced dish which is very nourishing for the whole family.
Bánh khọt / Crispy Vietnamese mini rice pancakes
“Bánh khọt” is a dish of mini pancakes served with herbs and vegetables and spicy sweet fish sauce for dipping.
The batter is made of a rice flour mixed with coconut and the yellow color is given by the turmeric powder, like the “bánh xèo”. Usually on top, you can find shrimp and green onions.
While the “bánh xèo” is very large, the “bánh khọt” is much smaller and thicker.
Among the list of endless delicious local snacks you should not miss this bite-sized rice pancake!
Cà phê trứng / Egg coffee
The “cà phê trứng” is a local drink which is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk, a bit of cinnamon and coffee mixed together. You drink it hot to enjoy its flavor to the fullest. It deliciously combines the bitterness of the coffee with the sweet creamy whipped yolks.
More a northern drink quite commonly consumed in Hanoi, it is now quite popular in Saigon and you can get it in quite a few places. The story says that this drink recipe appeared in Café Giang (Hanoi) in the 1950’s at a time when milk was scarce in Vietnam and that the dairy products were replaced with egg yolk.
Take a bite, download this delicious “Top 10 street food you don’t want to miss guide” before your trip to Vietnam.