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Vietnam Food Guide

In the past few years Vietnamese food has become more and more popular around the world. Food lovers may have tried the two best known Vietnamese dishes – spring rolls and bread rolls. Rice, noodles, fresh vegetable and herbs all play big roles in Vietnamese food, making it one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

In Vietnam you’ll discover one unmistakable fact: Vietnamese people love noodles. They eat them every day, sometimes for every meal. Vietnamese noodles are made from a few basic ingredients, the most common being rice, wheat and mung beans, but a whole sub-cuisine is built on these basics.

Many people are afraid to try street food when travelling overseas. “How do I know it’s safe?”, “What if I get sick?”, “Is it hygienic?” are a few of the most common concern.

Two tips:

  1. Eat where the locals are eating.
  2. Look for food that you can see being cooked.

Regarding the first tip, the logic is simple. Generally speaking, food establishments stay in business not because of the tourist trade, but because of the locals that eat there day in and day out. If you come across a place that is busy and full of locals, chances are it’s good. If it was making people sick, it would be neither busy nor full of locals.

In relation to the second tip, most of the street carts and hole in the wall restaurants in Vietnam have the raw ingredients and cooking stations in clear view. If something is being cooked fresh in front of your eyes, you can see for yourself exactly what’s going on. Contrast this to a restaurant with a closed kitchen that you can’t see.

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Pho

Pho is a noodle soup consisting of broth, flat rice noodles, herbs and meat (usually beef or chicken). The quality and style of pho varies quite a bit between vendors. I chose to get the Pho with beef brisket.

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Com Tam

Traditional Vietnamese coffee is a very tasty, refreshing way of drinking coffee and I was hooked on it during my time in Vietnam. You can choose whether you want condensed milk or not, and whether you want it hot or cold.

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Spring Rolls

The rolls are prepared fresh out the front, with a seafood and pork option. Dipping sauces include a peanut sauce containing hoisin sauce, and nuoc mam pha, which is a mixed fish sauce. A simple and delicious snack.

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Com Tam

Com Tam is a simple broken rice dish with pork, egg, and with fish sauce for dipping that is very popular in Vietnam.

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Banh Xeo

These enormous, cheap and filling Vietnamese pancakes translate (banh xeo means “sizzling pancake”) pancake contain shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and egg, which is then fried, wrapped in rice paper with greens and dunked in a spicy sauce before eaten.

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Banh Mi

This baguette sandwich filled with greens and a choice of fillings, including paté and freshly made omelette, is so good it’s been imitated around the world.