A Food Lover's Travel Guide to the Best of Vietnamese Food

Bun Mam or Fermented Fish Soup

Bun Mam

Fermented Fish Soup

This noodle soup might not be for everyone. The broth is made with fermented fish or shrimp paste, which means there's a bit of a fish funk to it. It has lots of flavour, and hits all your basic tastes, but it really makes an impact on the umami taste. The soup is usually packed with meat including seafood, fish, and pork.

Bun Mang Ga or Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots

Bun Mang

Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots

A Vietnamese noodle soup with a bit of funk. Dried bamboo shoots are used to add flavour and a soft tender texture. The most popular versions are chicken and duck, but you can also find interesting takes on this popular northern dish.

Bun Mang Vit or Duck and Bamboo Noodle Soup

Bun Mang Vit

Duck and Bamboo Noodle Soup

Vermicelli noodles in a light broth with tender pieces of duck meat, offal, and congealed blood; plus chunks of boiled bamboo shoots. Just add your bean sprouts and shredded water spinach and you'll be one satisfied duck.

Bun Moc or Pork and Mushroom Meatball Soup

Bun Moc

Pork and Mushroom Meatball Soup

Pork paste is rolled with chopped mushrooms to make a delicious meatball that happily floats in a light broth with vermicelli rice noodles. Often served with a generous helping of cha lua (Vietnamese pork loaf).

Bun Rieu Cua or Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup

Bun Rieu Cua

Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup

Freshwater crabs and tomatoes make up this soup's broth, then rice vermicelli noodles, pork, and tofu soak up the flavours.

Bun Thai or Thai Noodle Soup

Bun Thai

Thai Noodles

A Thailand style spicy broth with vermicelli rice noodles and various proteins. It's often served with seafood like shrimp and squid, but I've also had a vegetarian version with tofu and cha lua.

Bun Thang or Vietnamese combo soup with chicken, pork, and egg.

Bun Thang

Combo Soup

A combo of pork, chicken, egg, and whatever else is floating around the fridge. This light, slightly sweet broth is soaked up with vermicelli noodles and a variety of vegetables. Traditionaly, it's eaten during Tet, but don't worry, nowadays a tasty bowl can be found all year round.

Bun Thit Nuong or Grilled Pork and Vermicelli

Bun Thit Nuong

Grilled Pork and Vermicelli

Vermicelli rice noodles with grilled pork, a spring roll, and various greens. Served with nuoc cham.

Bun Xao Chay or Vegetarian Fried Noodles

Bun Xao Chay

Vegetarian Fried Noodles

Stirfried noodles with vegetables. Often a spring roll or a mini version of banh xeo is included.

Bun xao Singapore, or Singapore style noodles - the Vietnamese way.

Bun Xao Singapore

Singapore Style Stir-Fried Noodles

This stir-fry is one of my favourites in Vietnam. It usually contains shrimp, Chinese sausage, mushrooms, and a mix of veggie, plus vermicelli rice noodles and a ton of flavor. Unlike the Chinese-style of Singapore noodles, it contains no curry.

Ca Phe Sua Da or Vietnamese Iced Coffee with milk

Ca Phe Sua Da

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Thick, sweet, chocolaty liquid that refreshes you, energizes you, and leaves you wanting more. Vietnam's coffee is unique and a must try.

Ca Phe Trung or Vietnamese Egg Coffee

Ca Phe Trung

Egg Coffee

Egg coffee is quite difficult to find outside of Hanoi. An egg is frothed with sugar and poured on top of a cup of thick, rich Vietnamese coffee. You can also get it with sweetened condensed milk, and can usually choose whether you want it hot or cold.

Ca Tim Chien Gion or Deep Fried Eggplant

Ca Tim Chien Gion

Deep Fried Eggplant

Simply, sliced eggplant battered and deep fried. Dip it in chili garlic sauce (tương ớt tỏi) or Vietnam's famous nước chấm.

Canh Chua or Tamarind Broth Soup

Canh Chua

Tamarind Broth Soup

A popular dish in the Mekong Delta, this sweet and sour broth soup is made with tamarind and usually comes with pineapple, elephant ear stalk, bean sprouts, tomato, okra, and fish from the Mekong River. When accompanied with rice, it makes a great meal. Check out the dish's profile to see popular variations of canh chua.

Canh Ga Chien or Fried Chicken Wings

Canh Ga Chien

Fried Chicken Wings

Chopped up chicken wings are fried in oil until crispy. Garlic, ginger, and/or shallots are sometimes used in a marinade, or served sprinkled on top. These crunchy wings are often served with nuoc mam, a Vietnamese spicy sweet fish sauce dip.

Chao Long or Innards Rice Porridge

Chao Long

Innards Rice Porridge

This may sound like the worst thing ever, but try it before you judge it. A thick, hearty broth is crammed with pig offal -- everything from cheek to liver. It's often served with pieces of fried dough -- maybe that will help.

Che Bach Qua or Ginkgo sweet soup


Vietnamese Sweet Soup

Chè isn't your typical dessert. It's can be made with beans, fruit, jelly, rice, tubers, grains, or a variety of other ingredients. The liquid is sweet and refreshing. Sometimes it's served with coconut cream.

Com Chien or Fried Rice

Com Chien

Fried Rice

You've probably had many versions of fried rice, but Vietnam's version has something that you just can't get in the western world -- freshness. Vietnam is one of the top five largest producers of rice in the world. The quality of rice here is top-notch.