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

Banh Canh or Vietnamese Thick Noodle Soup

Banh Canh

Thick Noodle Soup

The noodles in this soup are made from tapioca flour, or sometimes a combination of tapioca and rice flour. The ingredients in the soup can vary, but the thick glutinous noodles are what make this soup different from any of the other Vietnamese soups.

banh can cha ca - Vietnamese fish cake soup

Banh Canh Cha Ca

Fish Cake Soup

A light clear broth with slices of fish cake and tapioca flour noodles. Bánh, which means cake, actually refers to the thick noodles, not the fish cake.

Recipe Video

Bo Kho or Vietnamese Beef Stew

Bo Kho

Vietnamese Beef Stew

Hunks of beef are slowly cooked in a rich flavourful broth with carrots, star anise, and lemongrass. It's usually served with banh mi, steamed rice, or noodles.

Bun Bo Heo Gio or Beef and Pork Knuckle Noodle Soup

Bun Bo Heo Gio

Beef and Pork Knuckle Noodle Soup

This soup is similar to the very popular bun bo Hue. Thick round noodles float in a tangy broth with tender slices of beef and pork knuckle. The broth has hints on lemongrass in it and a bit of a kick to it, specially if you add some chili paste, which I recommend trying. You may get some extras, like congealed pig's blood, in the bowl as well.

Bun Bo Hue or Hue Style Beef Noodle Soup

Bun Bo Hue

Hue Style Beef Noodle Soup

A beef soup that's spicier than pho, has a lemongrass infused broth, and uses thicker, round rice noodles. It usually contains slices of beef shank, and sometimes chunks of pig's feet, congealed pork blood, and cha lua (Vietnamese pork loaf).

Bun Ca or Vietnamese fish noodle soup

Bun Ca

Vietnamese Fish Noodle Soup

Fish is very popular in Vietnam. Depending what area you are in, you'll find fish soup with snakehead fish, mackerel, catfish, and many more varieties. In the north, the broth tends to be tangier. A dill taste is usually present. It's a very fresh tasting dish.

Bun Ca Loc or Snakehead Fish Soup

Bun Ca Loc

Snakehead Fish Soup

Vermicelli noodles in a light broth with crispy fried slices of snakehead fish. Don't be scared away by the type of fish - it's delicious.

Bun Cha Ha Noi or Hanoi Style Grilled Pork and Noodles

Bun Cha

Hanoi Style Grilled Pork and Noodles

Vermicelli rice noodles are served with chargrilled pork meatballs and thick slices of bacon. Accompanied by a sweet broth and a variety of herbs. One of the most popular dishes in Hanoi.

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 genrous 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.

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.

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.

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.