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

Com hen or baby basket clams and rice

Com Hen

Baby Basket Clams and Rice

A Hue specialty, this dish combines tiny clams or mussels with rice, and a collection of flavours that will make you want more. It's served with a small bowl of clam broth that can be sipped or spooned on.

Com tam ga nuong or Grilled chicken and broken rice

Com Tam Ga Nuong

Grilled Chicken and Broken Rice

A common lunch in Vietnam, chicken, usually a leg, is grilled up and served over broken rice with some vegetables.

Com Tam Suon Nuong or Grilled Pork Chop and Broken Rice

Com Tam Suon Nuong

Grilled Pork Chop and Broken Rice

A quick and cheap lunch in Vietnam. A marinated pork chop is grilled over coals and served on top of broken rice.

Ech Nuong or Grilled Frog

Ech Nuong

Grilled Frog

Frog is a popular bar food in Vietnam. Sometimes it will come already grilled, but some restaurants will bring you a clay pot grill filled with hot coals, so you can do the cooking yourself. It's a fun and sociable activity. Of course, the frog tastes like chicken.

Goi Cuon or Fresh Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Goi Cuon

Summer Rolls

These fresh spring rolls are wrapped in wet rice paper and filled with a mini salad. The protein can be shrimp, slices of pork loaf, grilled pork, tofu, etc. They are a little package of freshness, specially in Vietnam where you know everything is grown locally.

Goi Co Hu Dua Thit Bo or Beef and Palm Heart Salad

Goi Co Hu Dua Thit Bo

Beef and Palm Heart Salad

Tender slices of beef are tossed with coconut palm heart, vegetables, lime, fish sauce, oil, salt, and chili. It's often served in a giant crispy piece of fried rice paper, or alongside a plate of smaller ones. The rice paper adds a nice crunch and makes eating it more convenient.

Goi Du Du or Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad

Goi Du Du

Green Papaya Salad

Shredded green papaya and a combination of herbs are dressed with a sweet and sour fish sauce and peanuts. It's often topped with beef jerky, shrimp, or strips of pig ear. The combination of flavours and textures make this salad a Vietnamese favorite.

Goi Muc Thai or Thailand-style Squid Salad in Vietnam

Goi Muc Thai

Thailand-style Squid Salad

This sweet, sour, salty, and spicy salad is a favourite at most seafood restaurants in Vietnam. The squid works perfectly with the crispy textures of the cucumber, carrot, mint, and other fresh herbs and vegetables.

Goi Tai Heo Rau Ram or Pig Ear Salad with Laksa Leaves

Goi Tai Heo

Pig Ear Salad

Boiled pig ear is chopped and combined with herbs, and a sweet and sour fish sauce combo. The pig's ear is soft on the outside with a crunch of cartillage on the inside. It's an interesting texture that's tossed with a combination of delicous flavours and is best enjoyed with a serving of prawn crackers.

Hoanh Thanh or Vietnamese Wonton

Hoanh Thanh


A Chinese creation that has become popular in Vietnam, and many other areas of the world. You can find these delicious parcels of ground pork in soups, including popular Vietnamese soups like Hu Tieu.

Hu Tieu Nam Vang or Phnom Penh Noodle Soup

Hu Tieu Nam Vang

Phnom Penh Noodle Soup

A hearty noodle soup filled with a variety of protein -- pork, beef, seafood, etc.

Vietnamese sticky rice with ice cream

Kem Xoi

Ice Cream and Sticky Rice

With the exception of rice pudding, the western world doesn't really do rice desserts. If you want to dip your toes into the combination, try kem xoi. Pandan sticky rice and coconut ice cream -- a great combination of flavour and texture.

Mi Quang or Quang Style Noodles

Mi Quang

Quang Style Noodles

Quảng Nam province is probably best known for its turmeric infused noodles. The protein in this dish varies but it's almost always served with sesame rice crackers which provide a brilliant crunch.

Mien Ga or Chicken Glass Noodle Soup

Mien Ga

Chicken Glass Noodle Soup

If you're looking for chicken noodle soup in Vietnam, miến gà is a great option. The noodles are a cellophane or glass noodle type made from the starch of canna, a flowering plant. The soup's broth is chicken based, and thick, juicy hunks of chicken breast come floating in it.

Vietnamese cured pork sausage or nem chua

Nem Chua

Vietnamese Cured Pork Sausage

A lean, well grinded sample of pork is mixed with some spices and sugar, then left to ferment for a couple days. The result is a very sweet and sour tasting pork that goes well with cold beer.

Nem lui Hue, a specialty of Hue - grilled meat with lemongrass

Nem Lui

Lemongrass Skewers

Sometimes pork, sometimes pork and beef, is seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, fish sauce, and I'm sure some secret ingredients, then wrapped around a stalk of lemongrass and grilled to perfection.

Nuoc Chanh or Vietnamese Limeade

Nuoc Chanh


A great way to cool down. Lime, sugar, and ice water make up this simple but refreshing drink.

Pate Chaud or Hot Pastry Pie

Pate Chaud

Hot Pastry Pie

This French influenced savoury snack is packed with seasoned ground pork and vegetables. It's also called bánh pa tê sô -- which is basically the Vietnamese word for 'cake' plus the phonetic spelling of 'pate chaud'. You can find it at most Vietnamese bakeries.

Pho Bo or Beef Noodle Soup


Vietnamese Noodle Soup

If you're new to Vietnamese food it's probably best to start here. This is Vietnam's most widely recognized dish. Noodles in an incredibly flavourful broth with chicken or beef.

Pho Cuon or beef pho rolls in Vietnam

Pho Cuon

Pho Rolls

An uncut sheet of rice noodle is used as a wrapper for this take on the popular soup. Pho rolls are simple, but tasty and they're growing in popularity, especially in Hanoi around Truc Bach lake where they are said to be invented.

Sinh To Bo or Avocado Shake

Sinh To Bo

Avocado Shake

A delicious and nutritious shake that will cool you down and surprise you with it's tastiness.