72 Top Vietnamese Dishes and Foods to Cook at Home

Vietnamese dishes are a harmonious blend of fresh ingredients, regional influences, and a balance of five fundamental tastes.

Lastest Updated April 19, 2024
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Basic Information

Vietnamese Food: Basic Overview

Common Ingredients

Rice, pork, poultry, fish, fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits, nước mắm (fish sauce)

Common Cooking Methods

Assembling, boiling, steaming, grilling, stir-frying, deep-frying, simmering, braising

Courses

Appetizer, main course, dessert

Meals

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Key Taste

Sweet, savory, sour, salty, bitter, complex

Eating Etiquette

Use of chopsticks and spoons, elders served first, communal eating, light conversations, finish all food in bowl

Meal Presentation

Served with rice, multiple dishes for communal sharing, variety of textures and colors

Culinary Festivals

Tết (Vietnamese New Year), weddings, đám giỗ (death anniversaries)

Influence and Fusion

Influenced by Chinese, French, Cambodian cuisines
Origin and Region

Vietnamese Food: Origin and Region

Cuisine

Vietnam

Cuisine’s Geographical Territory

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Northern, Central, Southern Vietnam
Vietnam Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Popular Types of Vietnamese Food

  • Noodle Soups

    Noodle soups in Vietnamese cuisine are renowned for their aromatic and rich broths, which are often simmered for hours to extract maximum flavor from meats and bones, commonly beef or chicken.

    The soups incorporate a variety of noodles, such as the thin flat rice noodles in phở or the thicker rice noodles in bún bò Huế, and are garnished with fresh herbs, lime, and chilies.

  • Dry Noodle Dishes

    Dry noodle dishes in Vietnam stand out for their lack of broth, focusing instead on the flavors infused in the noodles themselves.

    They are often dressed in a light sauce or oil and topped with ingredients like grilled meats, fresh herbs, and vegetables.

  • Fried Dishes

    Vietnamese fried dishes are celebrated for their crunchy textures.

    They are often accompanied by fresh vegetables and a variety of dipping sauces, balancing the richness of the fried components with fresh, vibrant flavors.

  • Glutinous Rice Dishes

    Glutinous rice dishes in Vietnam are versatile, serving as both sweet and savory meals.

    They can be mixed with beans, coconut, or sesame for breakfast or snacks, or paired with meats.

    They are often wrapped in leaves for more substantial dishes, showcasing the sticky, chewy texture of glutinous rice.

  • Grilled and Barbecued Dishes

    Grilled and barbecued dishes are marinated with a blend of traditional spices and herbs, and then grilled to perfection.

    These dishes offer a smoky and savory flavor profile that’s often enhanced with a side of fresh salad or wrapped in rice paper with herbs and noodles.

  • Rice Dishes

    Rice dishes are a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, often enjoyed in the form of plain steamed rice or more elaborate dishes like Cơm Tấm.

    In such dishes, rice is topped with a variety of ingredients including grilled pork, pickled vegetables, and fried egg, all complemented by a flavorful sauce.

  • Rolls

    Rolls embody the essence of Vietnamese cuisine with their fresh and light nature.

    They consist of rice paper wrapped around a combination of herbs, vermicelli, and meats or shrimp, served with dipping sauces like hoisin or fish sauce.

  • Braised Dishes

    Braised dishes in Vietnamese cuisine are slow-cooked to develop deep, complex flavors, incorporating elements like lemongrass, star anise, and cinnamon.

    These hearty dishes are often enjoyed with bread or noodles, providing comfort and warmth with every spoonful.

  • Steamed Dishes

    Steamed dishes, from bánh bao (steamed buns) to delicate fish and poultry preparations, highlight the gentle cooking method that preserves the ingredients’ natural flavors and nutrients.

    These dishes are often light yet satisfying, featuring subtle seasonings and served with a side of dipping sauce to enhance their taste.

  • Desserts

    Vietnamese desserts captivate with their delicate balance of sweet, refreshing, and sometimes subtly savory flavors, often incorporating local ingredients like tropical fruits, coconut milk, and glutinous rice.

    From the creamy and smooth texture of bánh flan to the vibrant and chewy layers of bánh da lợn, these desserts are not only a treat for the palate, but also a reflection of Vietnam’s rich culinary diversity, and tradition.

  • Dumplings

    Vietnamese dumplings showcase a delightful culinary craft, featuring tender wrappers made from rice or tapioca flour that encase a variety of fillings, from savory minced pork and shrimp to sweetened mung bean paste.

    These bite-sized morsels are often steamed or boiled to perfection, offering a soft, chewy texture that pairs beautifully with accompanying sauces or dips.

Vietnamese dishes encompass various culinary creations that have been prepared and enjoyed in Vietnam. Many classic Vietnamese dishes draw inspiration from local cooking traditions and foreign cuisines. Notable influences are the specialties of specialties of France, China, and Cambodia.

Vietnamese cuisine can be divided into three regions: Northern, Central, and Southern. The three regional cuisines display subtle differences due to cultural, geographical, and historical conditions.

Numerous time-honored dishes in Vietnamese cuisine rely on rice (including sticky rice) and rice-based ingredients, pork, poultry, fish, fresh herbs and vegetables, and fruits.

Dairy products are rarely used, but local condiments are very important, especially nước mắm (Vietnamese fish sauce).

Many common Vietnamese dishes are made from rice and derived ingredients, such as rice noodles, rice vermicelli, and rice paper wrappers.

Pancakes, porridges, and bánh (a wide variety of dishes prepared from sticky rice or flour of any kind) are also popular.

Taste-wise, savoriness and sweetness are among the most popular tastes in Vietnamese cooking, but saltiness, bitterness, and sourness are no less important. Many dishes offer multiple tastes.

Read on to learn about Vietnamese dishes, starting with how historical factors, geography, and cultural norms influence them.

Next, I will delve into the principles of Vietnamese cooking, the characteristics of Vietnamese family meals, the impact of the street food scene on dishes, and time-honored cooking equipment and utensils.

In the end, a brief comparison between Vietnamese dishes and Chinese dishes is revealed.

Listed below are 72 most famous dishes of Vietnam, sorted according to their popularity.

Traditional Vietnamese food is a complex combination of flavors and many elements to create an intricate dish. However, you can learn more about traditional Vietnamese food through the following aspects:

  • Five Fundamental Tastes: Emphasizes a balance of sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and spicy flavors in meals.
  • Health-Conscious: Many dishes are prepared in a way that is considered healthy, with minimal use of oil and a focus on fresh produce and lean proteins.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Focuses on the use of fresh herbs, vegetables, and seafood, reflecting Vietnam’s rich biodiversity.
  • Herbs and Vegetables: Vietnamese have extensive use of fresh herbs and vegetables not only as side dishes but also mixed into main dishes.
  • Rice-Based Dishes: A predominance of rice-based meals, including rice noodles and rice paper, catering to a gluten-free diet.
  • Influences: Shows influences from neighboring China, Cambodia, Laos, and French cuisine, creating a unique culinary blend.
  • Fish Sauce: The predominant use of fish sauce as a key seasoning, capturing the essence of Vietnamese flavor profiles.

Next, it’s essential for you to find out the massive impact that Vietnamese food has on a grander scale, specifically in the global food market.

Vietnamese cuisine has gained significant global popularity, especially in countries like the United States, Australia, Canada, and parts of Europe.

This international appeal is largely due to its fresh ingredients, balanced flavors, and versatile dishes that cater to various dietary preferences, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.

In the United States, cities with large Vietnamese diaspora communities, such as those in California and Texas, have been instrumental in introducing and popularizing Vietnamese food.

Australia’s proximity to Southeast Asia and its multicultural population have also made Vietnamese cuisine a staple in its culinary scene.

In Europe, countries like France, with a historical connection to Vietnam, have long appreciated Vietnamese cuisine, which has now spread to neighboring countries.

After knowing about the presence of Vietnamese food in other countries around the world, I suggest looking inot the aspects that make many see Vietnamese food as a healthy choice.

Vietnamese food is considered healthy for several reasons:

  • Fresh Herbs and Vegetables: A staple in most meals, adding essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Balanced Flavors: Aims for harmony in dishes, often incorporating all five taste elements, which can contribute to a balanced diet.
  • Lean Proteins: Lean meats, poultry, and seafood are frequently used, providing necessary proteins with lower fat content.
  • Minimal Use of Dairy: Dairy is rarely used, reducing the intake of saturated fats.
  • Broth-Based Soups: Many dishes are broth-based rather than cream-based, lowering calorie content.
  • Steaming and Grilling: Common cooking methods that use less oil, making dishes healthier in Vietnamese cooking.
  • Portion Control: Meals often consist of smaller, balanced portions.
  • Low Sugar: Desserts and sweets in Vietnam typically contain less sugar compared to those in many Western cuisines.

What are you waiting for? These 72 dishes of Vietnam are the perfect start to find a dish that will mesmerize your taste buds.

72 Popular Vietnamese Dishes with Filters

Check out up to 72 delicacies from Vietnamese cuisine and use the filter to view these dishes in alphabetical order, tastes, ingredients, dish types, cooking techniques, and global popularity.

Plus, you will get to know about the styles of culinary that commonly exist in Vietnamese, featuring choices like the most popular, national, traditional, street food, fusion, and exotic dishes:

  • These are dishes that almost everyone in Vietnam knows and popularized across the country.
  • Often served in Vietnamese local eateries with various adaptations by simply switching the ingredients.
  • Dishes that are symbols of Vietnam, representing the country’s culture, history, and values.
  • Known across the country, often associated with national pride and identity.
  • Dishes that have been part of Vietnamese life for generations, incorporating the country’s culinary heritage.
  • Made using recipes passed down through families, often using local ingredients and traditional cooking methods.
  • Quick, delicious, and affordable food items sold by vendors on streets and markets across Vietnam.
  • It reflects the vibrant and bustling food culture of Vietnam, which usually adopts dishes through trendy events.
  • Dishes that might seem unusual or unique to people from other cultures, often use ingredients or cooking methods that are specific to Vietnam.
  • Offers a deep dive into the diverse and rich culinary landscape of Vietnam, challenging and expanding the palate.
  • Creative combinations of Vietnamese flavors with elements from other cuisines, result in innovative and modern dishes.
  • Adaptable and evolving with global trends for food.
Pho

Phở

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Phở is a traditional Vietnamese soup that combines a savory broth with rice noodles, vegetables (like bean sprouts), herbs (such as cilantro, basil), and meat, typically beef or chicken.

Originating from Northern Vietnam in the early 20th century with French and Chinese influences, it has become a beloved dish both within the country and internationally.

The soup is known for its complex flavors, which are achieved through a careful balance of spices and fresh ingredients. Phở is often enjoyed as a main course and is a national dish in Vietnamese cuisine.

Banh Mi

Bánh Mì

  • Fusion
  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh mì is a Vietnamese sandwich that is made using a baguette with a thin, crispy crust and a light, airy interior.

This sandwich is a fusion of Vietnamese and French culinary traditions, featuring a variety of fillings such as seasoned pork, pâté, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and spicy condiments.

Bánh Mì is celebrated for its blend of textures and flavors, combining savory, sweet, sour, and spicy elements in one bite.

Originating in the mid-20th century, it has become a staple street food in Vietnam and has gained popularity worldwide, especially in communities with a large Vietnamese diaspora.

Bun Cha

Bún Chả

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bún chả is a Vietnamese dish that features grilled pork served alongside rice vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a flavorful dipping sauce.

Believed to have originated in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, this dish is a delightful combination of savory grilled pork, soft noodles, and the fresh, aromatic presence of herbs, all brought together with a tangy and slightly sweet sauce.

It’s a popular meal that captures the essence of Vietnamese cuisine with its balance of flavors and textures, typically enjoyed as a hearty lunch.

Goi Cuon

Gỏi Cuốn

  • Fusion
  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Gỏi cuốn, or Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, is a light and refreshing dish consisting of pork, shrimp, vegetables (such as lettuces, cucumber, and bean sprouts), rice vermicelli, and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper.

Unlike their fried counterparts, gỏi cuốn are not cooked after being assembled, preserving the crisp texture of the vegetables and the soft, pliable rice paper.

They are commonly accompanied by a variety of dipping sauces, including a peanut sauce or a fish sauce-based condiment known as nước chấm.

Gỏi cuốn are enjoyed as a popular appetizer or snack in Vietnam and have gained international popularity for their delightful combination of textures and flavors.

Bun Bo Hue

Bún Bò Huế

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bún bò Huế is a spicy and aromatic Vietnamese soup that hails from the city of Huế in Central Vietnam. This dish is known for its distinctive balance of spicy, sour, sweet, and salty flavors, primarily derived from lemongrass, fermented shrimp sauce, and chili oil.

It features thick rice vermicelli noodles and is typically served with slices of beef shank, oxtail, and sometimes pork knuckles. Accompaniments often include lime wedges, fresh herbs, and thinly sliced banana blossom.

Com Tam

Cơm Tấm

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Cơm tấm, also known as broken rice, is a Vietnamese dish that features small, fractured rice grains as its base, traditionally served with grilled pork (sườn).

It can also include a variety of other toppings, such as steamed egg meatloaf (chả trứng), pickled vegetables, and prawn paste cake (bì).

A key component of Cơm Tấm is the accompanying fish sauce-based dressing, which is sweetened and poured over the dish to enhance its flavors.

Fried Spring Roll

Chả Giò

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Chả giò, or Vietnamese fried spring rolls, is a popular appetizer within Vietnamese cuisine. These rolls are made by wrapping a mixture of ground pork, mushrooms, glass noodles, and finely chopped vegetables like carrots and jicama in rice paper.

Once assembled, they are deep-fried until the exterior is crispy and golden brown. Chả giò can be enjoyed on their own, dipped in a tangy fish sauce-based mixture known as nước chấm, or served alongside dishes like rice vermicelli.

Bun Rieu

Bún Riêu

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bún riêu cua is a Vietnamese noodle soup known for its complex flavors and rich texture. The dish features a tomato-based broth infused with the essence of freshwater crab, creating a harmonious blend of sour, sweet, and savory notes.

Rice vermicelli noodles serve as the base, accompanied by a variety of toppings such as fried tofu, fresh herbs, and sometimes, congealed pig’s blood for added richness. The soup is often garnished with a dollop of shrimp paste, adding depth and umami to the dish.

Banh Xeo

Bánh Xèo

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh xèo is a Vietnamese savory crepe or pancake made from rice flour, water, and turmeric powder, which gives it a vibrant yellow color. The batter is fried to a crisp in a pan, and traditional fillings include pork, shrimp, diced green onion, mung bean, and bean sprouts.

This dish is typically served with a variety of fresh herbs, lettuce, and a dipping sauce called Nước chấm, enhancing its flavors with a mix of sweet, sour, and savory notes.

The name “bánh xèo” translates to “sizzling pancake,” referring to the sound it makes when the batter hits the hot skillet.

Fried Rice With Veggies

Cơm Chiên

  • Traditional

Cơm chiên, or Vietnamese fried rice, is a dish consisting of rice that’s been stir-fried in a pan or wok, often mixed with ingredients like eggs, vegetables, and sometimes meat or seafood.

It’s a versatile dish that can be found across the nation, with each region adding its own unique twist to the recipe. The dish is known for its ability to incorporate leftovers, making it both practical and delicious.

Hu Tieu

Hủ Tiếu

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Hủ tiếu is a Vietnamese noodle soup known for its clear, savory broth made from simmering pork bones, dried shrimp, and squid, flavored with grilled onions for a smoky depth.

The dish is a blend of textures and flavors, offering options for both soup and “dry” versions. It comes in various regional variations like hủ tiếu Nam Vang, hủ tiếu My Tho, and hủ tiếu Sa Dec.

Hủ tiếu Nam Vang features a light broth with pork, quail eggs, and shrimp, hủ tiếu My Tho includes chewy noodles and is often served with meatballs and pickles, while hủ tiếu Sa Dec is noted for its distinct noodles influenced by local water quality.

Banh Cuon

Bánh Cuốn

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh cuốn is a traditional Vietnamese dish made from thin, wide sheets of steamed fermented rice batter, filled with a mixture of seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushrooms, and shallots.

This dish is often accompanied by sides like Vietnamese pork sausage, sliced cucumber, and bean sprouts, and is typically served with a fish sauce-based dipping sauce.

Bánh cuốn is known for its delicate, soft texture and is commonly enjoyed as a light meal or breakfast in Vietnam.

Mi Quang

Mì Quảng

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Mì Quảng is a Vietnamese noodle dish that hails from Quảng Nam Province in the central part of the country. It’s characterized by its use of wide rice noodles, a small amount of highly flavored broth, and a variety of proteins such as shrimp, pork, chicken, or sometimes beef.

The dish is vibrant with the addition of turmeric to the broth, giving it a distinctive yellow color. Fresh herbs, peanuts, and toasted sesame rice crackers are common garnishes.

Banh Canh

Bánh Canh

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh canh is a Vietnamese noodle soup featuring thick, chewy noodles made from tapioca flour or a mix of tapioca and rice flour, similar to udon. The dish is served in a flavorful broth, typically pork-based, and can be garnished with items like pork meatloaf, green onions, and chili oil.

Variations include bánh canh cua, with crab meat, and others with added seafood or meatballs. The preparation involves simmering pork bones for a clear, rich broth and making or buying the distinctive thick noodles​.

Ca Ri

Cà Ri

  • Traditional

Cà ri, or Vietnamese curry, is a dish known for its aromatic and lighter broth, commonly made with chicken. It’s a central and southern Vietnamese specialty, often served at social gatherings.

The dish is characterized by its use of coconut milk and a blend of spices, offering a unique flavor profile. Cà ri can be enjoyed with bread, steamed rice, or rice noodles, making it a versatile and comforting meal.

Che

Chè

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Chè is a traditional Vietnamese sweet treat that varies widely, including dessert soups, puddings, and beverages. It’s made with ingredients like beans, tapioca, jelly, fruits, and coconut cream, and can be served hot or cold.

Some popular variations of chè include chè bưởi (pomelo sweet soup), chè hạt sen long nhãn (lotus seed and longan sweet soup), chè đậu đen (sweet black bean soup), chè ngô or chè bắp (sweet corn pudding), chè khúc bạch (almond with cheese jelly and lychee sweet soup), etc.

Chè is enjoyed both at home and sold in stores, often garnished with coconut cream in the south. The name “chè” in northern Vietnam also refers to tea.

Banh Beo

Bánh Bèo

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh bèo is a traditional Vietnamese dish originating from the city of Huế in Central Vietnam. This dish consists of small, round, steamed rice cakes made from a mixture of rice flour and tapioca flour, giving them a soft and slightly chewy texture.

Typically served in small, shallow dishes, bánh bèo is topped with savory ingredients such as finely chopped dried shrimp, crispy pork skin, and scallion oil. A tangy dipping sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and chili peppers often accompanies the dish, enhancing its flavors.

Goi

Gỏi

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Gỏi refers to a broad category of Vietnamese salads, known for their freshness and variety. Initially associated with raw fish salads like “”gỏi cá,”” akin to ceviche, the term has expanded to encompass a wide range of salads featuring fruits, vegetables (commonly cabbage and lotus root), meats, and seafood.

Notable examples include “”gỏi gà”” (chicken salad), “”gỏi đu đủ xanh”” (green papaya salad), “gỏi xoài”” (mango salad), and “”gỏi tôm”” (prawn salad), each distinct in its combination of ingredients and flavors.

The preparation of gỏi emphasizes the use of fresh, vibrant ingredients, reflecting the diverse culinary landscape of Vietnam​. Gỏi is usually served alongside cháo in Vietnamese cuisine.

Banh Hoi

Bánh Hỏi

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh Hỏi is a Vietnamese dish consisting of fine, intricately woven rice noodles. These noodles are made by forming a batter from ground soaked rice and water, which is then cooked, pressed into thin strands, arranged on banana leaves, and steamed.

Typically garnished with scallions or garlic chives in oil, Bánh Hỏi is served with grilled meats, roasted pork belly, fresh herbs, and a dipping sauce.

Banh Bao

Bánh Bao

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh bao is a type of Vietnamese steamed bun, round in shape and filled with ingredients such as ground pork or chicken, onions, mushrooms, and a portion of a hard-boiled egg. It sometimes includes Chinese sausage.

These buns are larger than their Chinese counterparts (baozi) and are known for their savory filling, encased in a soft, fluffy dough. Bánh bao can be enjoyed as a snack or a light meal and is appreciated for its portability and delicious filling.

Chao

Cháo

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Cháo is the Vietnamese term for rice porridge made by simmering rice in water or broth until it becomes soft and creamy, cháo can be simply seasoned with salt or enriched with proteins like chicken (cháo gà), beef (cháo bò), or fish (cháo cá).

It’s often garnished with ingredients such as ginger, green onions, fried shallots, and herbs, and can be tailored with various condiments to suit different tastes.

Cháo is not only a daily staple but also a preferred meal for those needing easy-to-digest foods, such as when recovering from illness. Its variations, like cháo lòng with pork offal and cháo bò with ground beef, showcase the adaptability of this dish across Vietnam’s regions

Ca Kho

Cá Kho

  • Traditional

Cá kho is a traditional Vietnamese dish where fish, typically catfish, is braised in a clay pot with a caramelized sauce made from a blend of sugar, fish sauce, and various aromatics like garlic, shallots, and ginger.

This method of cooking imparts a rich, savory flavor to the fish, making it a beloved comfort food in Vietnam, often served with steamed rice.

Thit Kho

Thịt Kho

  • Traditional

Thịt kho is a Vietnamese braised pork dish known for its sweet and savory flavor profile, achieved by caramelizing sugar and using fish sauce.

Key ingredients include pork belly or shoulder, garlic, shallots, and often coconut water, enhancing its complexity. It’s commonly served with rice. The slow cooking method ensures the meat is tender and flavorful, making it a comforting meal choice.

Bun Bo Nam Bo

Bún Bò Nam Bộ

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bún bò Nam Bộ is a vibrant and flavorful Vietnamese salad dish consisting of thinly sliced beef over a bed of rice vermicelli noodles, garnished with herbs, peanuts, and crispy shallots.

It’s dressed with a tangy and slightly sweet sauce, making it a refreshing meal, especially in warmer climates. Unlike its soup counterpart from central Vietnam, bún bò Huế, bún bò Nam Bộ is served without broth, highlighting the freshness of its ingredients.

The name “bún nò Nam Bộ” originates from Nam Bộ Street in Hanoi, where the dish was first created in the 1980s, despite its name suggesting a southern origin.

Thit Kho Tau

Thịt Kho Tàu

  • Fusion
  • Traditional

Thịt kho tàu, also known as caramelized pork and eggs, is a cherished dish from Vietnam, traditionally made with tender pieces of pork and whole eggs that are slowly braised in a sweet and savory coconut juice.

Thịt kho tàu is especially popular during the Vietnamese New Year, known as Tết, where it holds cultural significance and is often served as part of the festive meals, symbolizing prosperity and togetherness.

Bo Kho

Bò Kho

  • Fusion
  • Traditional

Bò kho is a Vietnamese beef stew that is rich and flavorful, often spicy, and includes beef as its main ingredient along with carrots, lemongrass, and garlic.

It’s a dish that reflects a blend of local Vietnamese and French culinary influences, typically slow-cooked to develop deep flavors and tender meat. Bò kho is versatile and can be served with rice, rice noodles, or bread.

Bun Thit Nuong

Bún Thịt Nướng

  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bún thịt nướng is a Vietnamese noodle dish consisting of cold rice vermicelli noodles topped with grilled pork, fresh herbs like basil and mint, salad, bean sprouts, and spring rolls.

It’s dressed with nước chấm, a flavorful fish sauce, and often garnished with roasted peanuts, pickled carrots, and sometimes grilled prawns or garlic pork sausage.

Banh Chung

Bánh Chưng

  • National
  • Traditional

Bánh chưng is a traditional Vietnamese rice cake known for its square shape and is made from glutinous rice, mung beans, and pork, all wrapped in green leaves.

It has a deep-rooted history in Vietnamese culture, symbolizing the earth, and is traditionally consumed during the Tết festival.

The preparation of bánh chưng is a cherished ritual that involves family members coming together to wrap and cook the cakes, which are then offered on family altars to honor ancestors during Tết celebrations.

Banh Giay

Bánh Giầy

  • National
  • Traditional

Bánh giầy is a traditional Vietnamese cake made primarily from glutinous rice. It’s shaped into a flat, round form and has a soft, chewy texture.

The cakes are typically wrapped in banana leaves, giving them a distinctive appearance and a slight aroma. They are often paired with Vietnamese sausage, creating a balance of flavors and textures.

Bánh giầy is also a symbol of Vietnamese culture, often linked to a legend involving a prince who presented the cake to his father, the emperor, as a symbol of the earth, winning the throne with its simplicity and significance.

Cha Ca La Vong

Chả Cá Lã Vọng

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Chả cá Lã Vọng is a distinctive grilled fish dish hailing from Hanoi, Vietnam. It involves marinating chunks of fish, traditionally hemibagrus, in a mixture that includes turmeric, giving the dish its characteristic yellow color, along with shrimp paste, fish sauce, ginger, and chili peppers.

The marinated fish is then grilled, creating a delightful blend of flavors. This dish is typically served sizzling in a pan, accompanied by an array of fresh herbs such as dill and scallions, and is enjoyed with vermicelli rice noodles and peanuts.

Cao Lau

Cao Lầu

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Cao lầu is a Vietnamese noodle dish from Hội An, characterized by its chewy rice noodles soaked in lye water for a unique texture and color.

It’s topped with slices of char siu-style pork, fresh greens, herbs, and a small amount of broth, garnished with crispy noodle squares. This dish is known for its distinct flavors and is traditionally served at room temperature, often with lime and chili.

Nem Nuong

Nem Nướng

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Nem nướng is Vietnamese grilled pork sausages or meatballs, a popular dish known for its savory and slightly smoky flavor. The preparation involves grounding pork mixed with a blend of seasonings including shallots, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper.

These ingredients are then shaped into sausages or meatballs and grilled to perfection. Nem nướng can be enjoyed in various ways, either as a standalone snack or appetizer, wrapped in rice paper with fresh herbs and vegetables, or served atop rice noodles.

Bo Luc Lac

Bò Lúc Lắc

  • Traditional

Bò lúc lắc, also known as shaking beef, is a vibrant Vietnamese dish featuring stir-fried beef cubes that are quickly sautéed with a mix of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and lime juice.

The beef is typically marinated to enhance its flavor and tenderness, then seared in a hot pan or wok, which gives the dish its characteristic ‘shaking’ motion as the beef is tossed back and forth.

It’s often served atop a bed of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and cucumbers, with a side of rice or over a bed of watercress, and sometimes accompanied by a dipping sauce made from salt, pepper, and lime juice.

Bo Nuong La Lot

Bò Nướng Lá Lốt

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bò nướng lá lốt, or Vietnamese beef wrapped in betel leaves, is a dish where seasoned ground beef is enveloped in lá lốt (piper lolot) leaves, creating small, flavorful parcels. These are then grilled, imparting a smoky flavor, while the leaves add a peppery and slightly bitter taste.

This dish is commonly enjoyed as part of a larger meal or as an appetizer, often served with a side of fresh herbs, rice noodles, and a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and chili.

Thit Heo Quay

Thịt Heo Quay

  • Traditional

Thịt heo quay refers to Vietnamese roasted pork, known for its crispy, crackling skin and tender, flavorful meat. The pork is marinated with a blend of spices and seasonings, and then slow-roasted to achieve a perfect balance of textures.

The crispy skin contrasts with the succulent meat, making it a popular choice for festive occasions and family gatherings. Thịt heo quay is often served with steamed rice, fresh vegetables, and a dipping sauce to complement the rich flavors of the pork.

Bun Mang Vit

Bún Măng Vịt

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bún măng vịt is a Vietnamese noodle soup that features tender duck meat and bamboo shoots as its main ingredients. This dish is known for its clear and flavorful broth, which gains depth from the simmered duck bones and the subtle sweetness of the bamboo shoots.

Served with rice vermicelli noodles and garnished with fresh herbs like cilantro or basil, this soup offers a comforting balance of flavors and textures, making it a popular choice in Vietnamese cuisine.

Banh Khot

Bánh Khọt

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh khọt is a delightful Vietnamese mini pancake, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, made from rice flour and coconut milk. These small, round cakes are cooked in a special pan that gives them their distinctive shape.

Typically, they are topped with shrimp and a sprinkle of green onions before being served with fresh lettuce, herbs, and a tangy dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and chili.

Bánh khọt is enjoyed by wrapping the pancake in lettuce and herbs, and then dipping it into the sauce.

Banh Gio

Bánh Giò

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Bánh giò is a traditional Vietnamese dumpling that’s steamed and has a unique pyramid shape. It’s made with a soft and chewy dough from rice flour and filled with a savory mixture of minced pork, wood ear mushrooms, and shallots.

The dumpling is wrapped in banana leaves, which impart a subtle aroma during the steaming process. Bánh giò is often enjoyed as a snack or a light meal and can be served with a side of soy sauce or chili sauce for added flavor.

Cua Rang Me

Cua Rang Me

  • Traditional

Cua rang is a Vietnamese seafood dish featuring crabs stir-fried in a rich tamarind sauce. The crabs are typically coated in a mixture of tamarind paste, which lends the dish its signature sourness, complemented by the sweetness of sugar and the heat from chili peppers.

This dish is known for its balance of flavors, combining the natural sweetness and succulence of the crab with the tangy and slightly sweet sauce. Cua rang me is often garnished with fresh herbs and served with rice, making it a beloved seafood dish in Vietnamese cuisine.

Nem Cua Be

Nem Cua Bể

  • Traditional

Nem cua bể is a Vietnamese dish consisting of spring rolls filled with crab meat, mushrooms, carrots, and other vegetables, which are then fried to achieve a crispy texture.

It is a signature dish of Hai Phong, a coastal city in Vietnam, and is often served with vermicelli and fresh vegetables.