10 Traditional Vietnamese Dishes That You're Going to Love

Banh mi vietnamese sandwich

If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll know that we’re BIG fans of Vietnamese cuisine, especially Vietnamese iced coffee. Vietnamese food is a delightful fusion of flavors, textures, and spices. Today it’s gone through a renaissance and is gaining a lot of popularity. 

Traditional Vietnamese dishes are loaded with fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits, and all have a beautiful balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors. Read more as we dig in and explore 10 traditional dishes from Vietnam that you need to try!

Vietnamese pho noodle soup
Picture Courtesy of Pexels​​

1. Phở

By far the most popular and loved Vietnamese dish, phở (pronounced “fuh”) is a noodle soup made with beef or chicken broth, rice noodles, and herbs. It's typically served with slices of meat, bean sprouts, lime, and chili peppers. This dish is like a hug in a bowl, it’s perfect to have whenever it’s cold outside, you’re feeling a little bit under the weather, or you just need something comforting.

2. Bún Chả

If you’re a fan of meatballs, you’ll love bún chả! This tangy and refreshing dish originated in Hanoi but you can find it all over the country. This dish consists of vermicelli noodles, grilled pork meatballs, herbs, and a dipping sauce, known as nước chấm made from fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and garlic – our condiment of choice. 

3. Bánh Mì

This is a delicious sandwich that’s gained popularity worldwide. The bánh mì is a great example of the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine. It consists of a crispy baguette filled with marinated meat (generally pork), pickled vegetables, herbs, and chili peppers. These sandwiches are great as a quick lunch or a snack. There are a couple of Vietnamese restaurants in New York that make a mean bánh mì that you should definitely check out!

Bánh Mì, Vietnamese Sandwich
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4. Chả cá Lã Vọng

A beloved Hanoi specialty, chả cá lã vọng (better known as chả cá) is a ngon (delicious) dish that consists of grilled Vietnamese catfish that’s been marinated with turmeric, dill, and galangal. The dish is served with vermicelli noodles, peanuts, and a variety of herbs and vegetables.

5. Bánh Xèo

Another super popular and nourishing dish, bánh xèo is a savory Vietnamese pancake made with rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric, and bean sprouts. The filling usually consists of shrimp, pork, or beef, and is served with fresh lettuce leaves, herbs, and a wedge of lime.

6. Gỏi Cuốn or Nem Cuốn

Better known as Vietnamese spring rolls, gỏi cuốn is a popular appetizer that consists of rice paper filled with fresh vegetables, herbs, and vermicelli noodles. The filling can include shrimp, pork, or beef, and is served with a dipping sauce made from peanut butter, hoisin sauce, and fish sauce.

Vietnamese spring roll Gỏi Cuốn
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7. Cơm Tấm

Cơm tấm is a beloved street food dish in Vietnam. It’s made with broken rice and served with various toppings such as grilled pork, pork skin, fried egg, and pickled vegetables. It’s of course served with the umami-packed dipping sauce nước chấm and is garnished with scallion oil, which is just hot oil poured over green scallions.

8. Bún Bò Huế

Bún bò huế is a spicy beef noodle soup that originated in the city of Hue in central Vietnam. This fragrant and flavorful traditional dish is made with beef broth, lemongrass, chili peppers, and various herbs and spices. It's served with vermicelli noodles, and slices of beef, and sometimes includes pork knuckle. The noodles here are also thicker and more cylindrical compared to the noodles used in phở.

Bún bò huế Vietnamese noodle soup
Picture Courtesy of ​​Pexels

9. Cá Kho Tộ

This is a dish that beautifully displays Vietnamese cuisine’s range. While most of the dishes mentioned thus far are light and fresh, this braised fish dish is very spicy yet sweet. The dish is cooked in a clay pot with caramelized sugar, fish sauce, and black pepper. The dish is served with steamed rice and pickled vegetables for some freshness.

10. Chè

And finally, we end with dessert. Chè is a traditional Vietnamese dessert that can be served hot or cold, but we prefer it when it’s served ice cold. It is made with a variety of ingredients such as beans, tapioca pearls, fruits, and coconut milk. Chè is a refreshing and satisfying dessert that is perfect after a spicy meal.

From the savory noodle soups like Phở to the sweet desserts like Chè, Vietnamese cuisine has something for everyone, and we have the perfect drinking to accompany your meal – a classic cà phê sữa đá, better known as Vietnamese iced coffee. Snag SANG and dig into these fantastic traditional Vietnamese dishes.