Wander the streets of Vietnam and immerse yourself amongst the real pioneers of street food. See fresh produce sold on one side of the road being prepared by vendors on the other, and you’ll understand why it’s a haven for any inspired foodie. From haircuts and ball games, to mechanics and washing, the heart of Vietnam is found on the streets.
And, as they say, the way to the heart is through the stomach. We’ve fallen in love with these Vietnamese street eats.
One of the most iconic national dishes outside of Vietnam. Unmissable on any street corner, this simple bowl of noodles and broth inspires competition across vendors for having the best of this classic dish.
Heartbreakingly, pho is pronounced “fuh”, not “fo”. So our unphogettable puns are actually phony, not phonny as phock.
Similar to what we know as beloved spring rolls, these rolls are typically minced pork wrapped in rice paper, but you can find a huge variety of different meat and vegetable fillings. The rolls are fried until golden and crispy, allowing the outside rice paper to blister and absorb more dipping sauce *wipes away a tear*. The health guru’s alternative is Gỏi cuốn, a roll served raw and cold, filled with fresh vegetables and dipped in soy sauce and chopped peanuts.
A general term to sum up one of our favourite and most diverse dishes. If it can be barbequed, you’ll find it on the streets. Along with your friendly pork and chicken BBQ dishes, Vietnam is the place to test your adventurous palette. Crocodile, snake, and more testicles than expected for a casual weekday lunch, but, hey, it’s your holiday. Just be mindful that the adventurous foods you might be trying may also be endangered species, and demand and supply drives their population numbers down. For more information, ask a guide or someone at your accommodation for what animals to avoid and do your part for sustainable tourism – we’re sure gibbons look nicer than they taste.
In keeping with all things grilled and skewered, Nem Lui is a sure winner. Unlike the majority of other Vietnamese street food, you’ll find no rice, broth, or noodles here. Seasoned minced pork wrapped around a lemon grass stick, this infusion of flavours is tangy and refreshing, and is perfect to dip in hoisin peanut or fiery chilli sauce.
Cao Lầu is a regional dish exclusive to Hội An, made typically with pork, fresh greens, and unique Cao Lầu noodles. The story of how the dish gets its unique taste and texture is something of an urban legend, mysteriously using water from an ancient Cham well just outside of town. After spending your day admiring the Japanese Bridge and ancient Tea Houses of Hoi An, sit yourself down on the second level of a Cao Lầu restaurant and think about how you’d never realised that all the noodles you’ve eaten up until this point in your life have lacked one thing: mystery.
This sweet banana cake is rich, sticky, and unrepentant. Made with ripe bananas, coconut milk, sugar, shredded coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla (all the good stuff), it’s the perfect sweet treat to make a mess of.
Meals won’t be the only Vietnamese delicacies to get a lotta love on your next street food tour. After filling your backpack with as many coffee based treats as you can get your hands on, grab a cup of chilled sugar cane juice as the perfect accompaniment to your rigorous food hunt under the sun. Vietnamese iced coffees are a particular specialty, usually served strong with ice and condensed milk. A sugar rush with a coffee hit to kick you into phocus (we’re done with the pho puns now. Promise).
No trip through Vietnam is complete without a street food tour, and with the incredible selection of meats, fresh vegetables, and incredible spices on offer, eating your way through the streets and laneways of Vietnam is definitely something to phone home about.
…see what I did there.
Feeling inspired? Head here for ALL of our amazing Asia trips.