Vietnamese Street Food: 13 Best Street Foods in Hanoi & Saigon
Vietnam, a Southeast Asian nation, is quite famous for its street foods. This nation shares its geographic boundaries with China, Cambodia, Laos, and hence the foods here also share the cuisines of these nations. The Vietnamese people are so friendly and forgiving. Imagine pronouncing their name or their street names. They are tongue-twisting, right!! Vietnamese people do not feel bad about it. The people here love to cook food and hence the different cuisines available in Vietnam. It is said that if you are in Vietnam for a holiday, you will not repeat the food that you have eaten, as many as 40 varieties of street foods are found in Vietnam.
Vietnamese cuisine is traditionally based on five element philosophy. Each dish in Vietnam is cooked to appeal to each of the five fundamental tastes. Water(salty), earth (sweet), metal (spicy), wood (sour), and fire (bitter). These also correspond to the five senses sight, taste, smell, sound, and touch. Healthwise, these correspond to the five essential nutrients carbohydrates, fat, protein, minerals, and water.
Traditional Vietnamese Street Foods in Hanoi:
Vietnamese food is enriched with flavor and choice. Juicy meat, fresh herbs, thick soups, clear broths made in clay pot dishes makes these street foods the best one all over the world. If you are in Vietnam, one thing for sure is you will never go hungry. Here are some of the best street foods available in Vietnam:
This food is considered as the best Vietnamese street foods, and this is a specialty of Hanoi (the capital city of Vietnam). This dish is quite similar to the American patty, bun cha is char-grilled pork patties served with vermicelli noodles and traditional herbs. The pork patties are burnt over the smoldering coals and are served with a vinegary fish sauce and crunchy veggies as a side dish. The plates served here are massive and can be eaten as lunch.
This is also called as Rice noodle soup, a most obvious choice as a street food because this is considered as the national dish of the country. Putting it very simple, this is a salty broth made with white noodles served with chicken or beef, balanced vegetables, ginger, and delicious herbs. The taste of this dish lies in the soup which makes the dish or breaks the dish.
Vietnam was ruled by France till 1945, and hence the dishes made here have some of the French touches. Banh mi is a Viet-style French baguette sandwich which is quite famous all over the world. The crunchy bread is stuffed with pickled vegetables, shredded daikon, egg, mayonnaise, chicken if desired, giving this baguette a local twist and flavor. This truly is the perfect and balanced meal for a busy backpacker adventuring around this place.
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The translation for this is a pillow cake, and this is a fantastic tasty Vietnamese appetizer. Mushrooms, small noodles, herbs, and minced pork or chicken are stuffed into the light pastry, folded, and deep-fried. This snack is usually served with a dipping sauce called Nuoc Cham, some fresh leaves and herbs.
Bun Bo Nam Bo:
This is a refreshing and light dish, which has its origin from Southern Vietnam. This dish is a Viet-French style dish wherein fresh lettuce is piled over rice noodles with chicken or beef pieces topped over it and fresh beans, onions, and leaves are sprinkled over the dish for a mesmerizing look. Fish sauced sweet broth topped with dried shallots and peanuts is served with the recipe. This Vietnamese street food is the perfect mixture of sweet and sour with a hint of spice in it.
Nem Ran, also known as Cha Gio, is classic Vietnamese spring rolls, which are mostly available on food streets all over the country. Different kinds of fillings like glass noodles, vegetables, mushrooms, shrimps, minced pork, or chicken are stuffed and fried. These are wrapped in rice paper and are best served with famous Vietnamese sauce Nuoc Cham. If you are a picky eater, then you shouldn’t miss this tasty snack.
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Bahn Xeo is the special dish of Hoi An, a city located in central Vietnam. This dish is made by mixing a beaten egg and rice flour batter, it is folded in half like a casing on the outside. Inside, this is stuffed with bean sprouts, pork, and shrimp and fried in oil till it becomes crispy. This snack is best enjoyed by dunking it in a sauce made from minced pork and liver.
This dish is named after the Vietnamese New Year, Tet Nguyen Dan. Bahn Tet is found in every street on the day of Tet. This dish is made of sticky rice stuffed with pork or mung bean and boiled to perfection. The choice of stuffing can also be with bananas if you are interested in having a sweet Bahn Tet. This eatery is wrapped in banana leaves and served with chilli sauce or fish sauce if the stuffing is meat, while the sweet dish is served with coconut milk.
Bahn Mi op La:
This Vietnamese street food dish is quite similar to a Mexican dish “huevos rancheros.” This name literally translates to “sunnyside up bread,” this dish basically is made of a fried egg sandwich. The crusty baguette is stuffed with fried eggs, sliced onions, balanced vegetables, and herbs, making this an excellent choice for a healthy breakfast.
Che Khuc Bach:
This famous sweet dish is extensively available on the streets of Vietnam. This sweet dish is an almond pudding with a lavish serving of lychee syrups. The primary ingredients of this dish are fresh cream, ice-cream, and the sugary water made from traditional Vietnamese sugar and hence the name Che Khuc Bach. A variety of food stallers serves in different ways. Some serve this with toppings of dried fruits, sliced fruits. This is a refreshing dessert to beat the humid temperatures in the country.
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Ca Phe Trung:
Have you ever heard of egg coffee. It sounds interesting, right !! Vietnam is famous for egg coffee, Ca phe trung. The black coffee and the egg yolk are whipped into condensed milk, which makes it creamy and a smooth cup of coffee. If you are in Vietnam, you should surely try this coffee.
Hoi An Noodles:
This dish, also called as Cao Lau is a famous dish from Hoi An. This dish consists of udon-like noodles with barbequed pork, fresh and crisp beans, and crunchy croutons. It is said that this dish is only available in Hoi An because of the unique noddles that are being made from the water of an ancient well, the Ba Le Well, which is in Ho An.
This dish translates to water fern cake, a famous dish of central Vietnam. Banh beo is made of round discs of rice flour topped with crunchy pork rinds and toasted shrimp powder. This dish is best served with fish sauce. The backpackers visiting Saigon should surely try this dish.
Vietnam is known for its street foods, and hence you can find various street foods in every corner of this country. The famous Banh Mi is best available in Saigon, Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam.
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Best Street Food Places in Saigon City:
- Pho, the national dish of the country, tastes amazing at Gia Truyen in Hanoi and Pho Vu Phuong in Ho Chi Min City.
- Bun Cha is a mouth-watering dish that had reached international popularity when this was eaten by the former President of US Barack Obama. This dish is best served at Dac Kim in Hanoi and is also available on all the streets of Hanoi.
- Hoi An Noodles or Cao Lau is the only dish that you can find in the streets of Hoi An because of the unique noodles they use in the dish.
- Hoi Chi Minh city is the one-stop place for all various street foods that you can enjoy. One of the famous kinds of seafood that is available is sea snails.
- Saigon city has many eat street joints to hang out with friends such as Ben Thanh Market, Thi Minh Khao street, Tran Quang Dieu street, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Vo Van Tan Street and many more. You can find authentic and traditional Vietnamese street foods.
Vietnamese Street food is considered as one of the highlights of South East Asia. Because of its varied cultures from China, Laos, Cambodia, and even Japan, the street food here has a great taste. Since this place was ruled by French till 1945, a blend of French influence with the local twist made the Vietnamese street food stand out from the others. If you are planning to visit this place on an adventure or on a holiday or a honeymoon, you should definitely try out the local cuisines and, most importantly, the street food of this place. Don’t forget to share your experience with us after your visit to this beautiful place.