Hu Tieu has been a popular dish in Southern Vietnam since the 1950s. It can be said that Hu Tieu is a typical dish in Saigon, similar to Pho in Hanoi.
Hu Tieu can be found easily on the street or at the corner of the alley, and Saigonese usually has Hu Tieu for breakfast or dinner.
There are many types of Hu Tieu, but the most famous one is Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang, which originated from Cambodia.
What is Hu Tieu?
A bowl of Hu Tieu usually includes broth, shrimp, pork, minced meat, noodles, and served with lettuce, chives, and fresh herbs.
Besides pork and shrimp, diners can enjoy Hu Tieu with other ingredients such as crab, squid, etc.
3. Gỏi cuốn
Spring roll with meat and shrimp is one of the most common versions of Goi Cuon.
The dish consists simply of a slice of boiled pork belly, shrimp, vermicelli, a lettuce leaf, and chives wrapped carefully in Banh Trang (rice paper).
Rice paper is an indispensable ingredient of Goi Cuon. Before wrapping, Banh Trang (rice paper) is dipped quickly into the water so it can stick to the outer layer. The bright white color of rice paper makes the spring roll more attractive as diners can see the ingredients.
How to eat Goi cuon?
Goi cuon can be eaten with Nuoc mam (fish sauce) or Hoisin sauce. A few slices of chili and roasted peanut are usually added if you choose the Hoisin sauce.
When you eat, you can feel the chewy taste of rice paper together with the rich fatty flavor of pork, the sweetness of the boiled shrimp, the bitter but fresh of veggies mixing with a sweet taste of the sauce.
4. Chả giò
Cha Gio, or Nem rán (in the North), is a fried version of Gỏi cuốn. Depending on the region, people will use different ingredients to make Cha Gio.
In general, these ingredients will be mixed with spices and wrapped in a slice of rice paper, then fried until the color of rice paper turns crispy and golden brown.
Cha Gio is eaten with sweet and sour sauce, along with fresh veggies and herbs.
5. Cơm tấm
Com tam is the rice dish cooked from broken rice named Tấm.
What is Com Tam?
Tấm is the first part of the rice kernels, and the rice got broken while milling. It is the main ingredient of this dish and can not be replaced by any other type of rice.
Grilled ribs, eggs, and pigskin are served together with the rice. The ribs are spiced with a rich flavor, providing an aromatic taste, with a crispy outer layer but soft and juicy inside.
The rice dish is topped with geese onion, cucumber and tomatoes slices, and pickles made from carrots and radishes. Like other dishes, Com tam must be served with sweet and spicy fish sauce.
In addition to ribs, diners can have rice with other dishes such as fish, boiled eggs, Caramel shrimp, grilled chicken, or squid stuffed meat.
6. Bánh Canh
Banh Canh is a simple but delicious dish, including thick noodles, tasty broth made from bones or seafood, and other ingredients such as boneless fish, fish balls, pork rolls, shrimp, or meat.
The thick noodles are made mainly from rice flour, tapioca flour, or the mixture between both.
Xoi, or steamed sticky rice, is a standard dish in Vietnam culinary. Xoi is prepared and varied depending on the region and each person’s taste.
But in general, sticky rice is divided into two types: Xôi mặn (with meat) and Xôi ngọt (without meat).
The most popular sticky rice are Xôi gà (sticky chicken rice), xôi gấc (red sticky rice), xôi đậu phộng (sticky rice with peanut), xôi đậu xanh (sticky rice with beans).
8. Mì Quảng
Mi Quang (Quang noodles) is a tasty noodle dish from Da Nang – Quang Nam region. Quang noodle is usually made from noodles with finely grated rice flour and thinly sliced with approximately 2 mm thick.
Under the noodles are raw vegetables, and on the top of the noodles are lean pork, shrimp, and broth stewed from the bones.
It’s also added roasted peanut, parsley, chopped green onions, herbs, and red peppers. Unlikely other Vietnamese noodle soup, the broth is usually very little for this dish.
A traditional bowl of Mì Quảng is only with shrimp with meat (indeed delicious enough to love it), but today there are also many variations. From chicken, beef to crab and frog, they can be used to make Quang noodles.
9. Bún thịt nướng vs. Bún chả
In Southern Vietnam, the name “Bun thit nuong ” is widely known, but people use “bun cha” to indicate this delicious food in the North.
Depending on each region, this dish has a distinct difference, and this feature is shown in the shape of meat and how it was sliced.
Bun thit nuong is often presented with thin slices of grilled pork, while Bun cha is served with meatball and square slices of grilled pork.
To keep the taste and moisture content of the grilled pork, the cook must leave a small amount of fat when slice and shape the meat so that the meat can be more delicious.
The traditional meat selection is shoulder meat, as it’s a perfect meat for this noodle dish thanks to its lean texture and the ideal fat content for grilling on the charcoal.
How to eat
a) Bun thit nuong
Typically, Bun thit nuong is served with some types of fresh vegetables including bean sprouts, lettuce, basil, mint and fish sauce.
Bun thit nuong is usually served in a bowl with a layer of fresh vegetables, a layer of vermicelli, and topped with roasted meat and then added a little bit of roasted peanut and green onion.
Finally, the fish sauce will be sprinkled before eating.
b) Bun Cha
However, Bun Cha is presented differently, in which vegetables and vermicelli are placed in separate bowls.
Grilled meat and fish sauce are served in two separate bowls. When eating, diners will first dip the grilled meat into the dipping sauce, then eat with vermicelli and vegetables.
10. Bún đậu mắm tôm
Bun dau mam tom is Hanoi’s specialty, which is served with shrimp paste.
A portion of Bun dau mam tom includes basic but tasty dishes: Rice vermicelli, crispy-fried tofu, sliced pork belly, Hanoi fried fish cake, and fresh herbs.
Mam tom (shrimp paste) can be smelly and taste strange so that you can ask for the fish sauce instead.
11. Bún bò Huế
Bun Bo Hue, or bun bo, is a delicious Vietnamese soup originated from Hue.
Although it is called bun bo (rice vermicelli with beef), Bun Bo Hue also includes a pork belly, a piece of boiled pork leg, crab meatball, or beef ball.
The soup is also exceptional.
You can taste spicy, sour, salty, and sweet, all at once. Along with beef noodle bowl, there is also a plate of vegetables, including bean sprouts, basil leaves, sliced banana flowers, lemon, and chili slices.
The dish is colorful with the green of vegetables, the red of chili, the yellow of crab, and the white of noodles.
12. Bún riêu
Bun Rieu is a typical Vietnamese noodle dish with crab base soup and tomatoes.
You can order this dish with fish (Bún riêu cá) or shellfish (Bún riêu ốc), but the most common one is Bún riêu cua (with crab).
The main ingredient of Bún riêu cua is the minced crab, tomatoes, and fried tofu. Some places also offer pork leg or pork as an additional ingredient for your soup.
Bun Rieu is often eaten with Rau muống (morning glory) and other herbs.
13. Bánh mì
Banh mi is known as one of the best Vietnamese street food.
Banh mi is everywhere. You can find Banh mi in most of the corners of the street.
The distinctive and delicious taste of Banh mi is not only from the crispy bread crust and soft crumb but also from the variety of flavors and filling.
The filling varies from an omelet, roasted pork or chicken to fish balls. Banh mi is usually added with some cucumber slices, white radish, pickled carrots, cilantro, coriander, and some spicy chili.