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

Banh Bao or Steamed Pork Bun

Banh Bao

Steamed Pork Bun

A dough that's steamed while packed with a savoury filling -- usually pork, but sometimes a combination of chicken, onions, eggs, and vegetables are included.

Banh Beo or Steamed Rice Cakes

Banh Beo

Steamed Rice Cakes

Small circular blobs of steamed rice flour are used to hold ground shrimp or pork, along with some complimentary ingredients like scallions, mung bean paste, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot, toasted bread crumbs, or small pork crackling bits. They are usually dipped or covered in sweet fish sauce with chili.

Banh Cuon or Pork and Mushroom Stuffed Rice Rolls

Banh Cuon

Pork and Mushroom Stuffed Rice Rolls

Steamed rice noodle is rolled up with wood mushrooms and ground pork. Served with a sweet sauce and herbs.

Vietnamese fried dumpling or pillow cake (banh goi in Vietnamese)

Banh Goi

Vietnamese Fried Dumpling

Fried is always better (according to your taste buds). This mushroom, glass noodle, and seasoned ground pork dumpling is fried crispy and served with a sweet dipping sauce. It's a fantastic street food snack.

Banh Khoai or Hue Happy pancakes

Banh Khoai

Happy Pancake

Before there was banh xeo, an emporer in Hue's Forbidden City was eating one of these delicious pork and shrimp filled pancakes. They're similar to the more popular and larger banh xeo, but in many ways they're quite different.

Banh Tom Ho Tay or Vietnamese shrimp sweet potato fritter from Ho Tay or West lake

Banh Tom

Sweet Potato Shrimp Cake

Shreds of sweet potato mixed in a flour batter and topped with a shrimp then deep-fried to a crisp. It's a great bar snack. Wrap it in lettuce and you can pretend it's healthy.

Banh Xeo or Vietnamese sizzling pancakes

Banh Xeo

Vietnamese Sizzling Pancake

A savuory crepe filled with shrimp, pork, and vegetables. The batter is made with rice flour and tumeric. Bánh Xèo is usually eaten by tearing a piece off and wrapping it in rice paper along with some herbs and lettuce. It's a cheap and delicious meal.

Bot Chien or Vietnamese Fried Rice Cakes with Egg

Bot Chien

Fried Rice Cakes

An after school favourite with the kids, these little cubes of rice cake are fried up with egg and sprinkled with scallions to make a tasty and filling snack. Dip them in soy sauce along with a helping of shredded papaya.

Bot Khoai Mon or Vietnamese Fried Taro Cakes with Egg

Bot Khoai Mon

Fried Taro Cakes

Much like it's brother, bot chien this dish is popular with the young crowd. It's a greasy, savoury, tasty mess. Instead of rice flour, taro makes up the delicious fried chunks, giving it a fried potato-taste.

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.

Banh Khot or Mini Shrimp Pancakes

Banh Khot

Mini Shrimp Pancakes

A batter is made from rice flour and coconut milk then fried up in a special pan. The mini pancakes are topped with shrimp, mung bean, scallions, garlic, and cilantro. They'll come on a plate along with a pile of herbs. Wrap a selection of greens and the pancakes in a leaf of lettuce then dip in the sweetened fish sauce.

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.

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 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.