is Truly Delicious! Whether you choose to eat traditional, local Vietnamese food, or sample their take on Italian, Japanese, Indian, Thai and any number of ethnic possibilities, you will be very unfortunate to be served a bad meal. Different areas have their specialties, although you seem to be offered these throughout Vietnam these days.
The wonderful thing is, it will also be extremely affordable and often so cheap, you cannot believe your luck!
NOTE: You do not need to worry you might get sick. It is very unusual for someone to have a problem. My daughter assures me she has never been sick in their 14 months living in Hanoi. They eat out every night at various local eateries.
With reputedly over 500 traditional choices there should be something for everyone. With fertile land, and plentiful fresh fruit and vegetables Vietnamese food has a head start. Incorporating their historical associations with Chinese, and French into their cuisine has given Vietnamese food a unique cuisine.
Traditional Vietnamese Cuisine Some of the basic Vietnamese food dishes are
- Rice ( com) – the countryside has acres of rice growing and this is a staple
- Rau Muong – water spinach– this delicious green vegetable grows in water and is considered a weed in some countries. Served simply cooked quickly with garlic, and oyster sauce it is a favourite with the locals and travellers alike.
Pho (Fur) is the cheapest meal you could have – tasty and filling. It is basically either chicken noodles or beef noodles at about $1 -2 US often from street stalls.
- Nem – fried Spring Rolls made of rice paper and filled with minced pork( my favourite), crab, and vegetables, or just vegetables. In some restaurants you fill fresh spring rolls yourself from the fillings and condiments supplied.
- Corn – is a very popular Vietnamese food. You will see women lining the main highway each evening, selling big bags of corn. Others have small fires going, cooking corn cobs, beside the main road out of Hanoi. Our driver stopped both ways and bought a bag with 5 hot cooked corncobs for about 100,000 dong.
- Green Papaya salad was a firm favourite with us.
- Seafood is plentiful – I did find there was quite a variation in fish. The prawns were always delicious.
- Chicken The equivalent of free range – all the chicken dishes I had were very good. They do chop their chicken differently, so you may get cartilage and bits you may not usually use in your own cuisine.
- Duck – Like the chicken is cut rather strangely. While ducks are bred to eat, our meal was disappointing enough to not try duck a second time. There was more bone then meat, and it was tough and chewy. But we may have been unlucky.
- Many dishes in the north are influenced by Chinese cuisine – noodle and rice dishes with vegetables and meat.
- Skewers with BBQ’d meat – We especially really enjoyed the pork with lime leaves in Hoi An.
- White Rose Dumplings are a specialty of Hoi An and very tasty.
Unusual Vietnamese Food Dog – It may not appeal!Not ALL Vietnamese food is to our liking! There is a street that specialises in dog in Hanoi. Although I understand many street stalls and restaurants selling dog meat were closed down recently, as they did not meet hygiene and health regulations. Rice Sticks – I am unsure of the name – these were in the Ba-be National park area and I understand a local treat. Ground rice with peanuts is put inside leaves and cooked. You buy a bundle of these rice sticks, peel back the leaves and eat. Tasty and filling, they were a good meal to eat in the car
There are apparently Vietnamese food specialties such as snake, mouse and crickets. I saw none of these, so they may be more common in the south where the Cambodian influence would prevail.
By the way....If you are going to south Vietnam visit Ho Chi Minh Hotels for a good choice of hotels with discount prices.
Fruit in Vietnam The markets have piles of brightly coloured fruit –
There are many more, and no doubt some are seasonal. These were the main fruits we saw in local markets and on restaurant menus.
- Pineapples - which are the small, sweet variety, are served, having been cut to leave the stalk as a stick to hold. You can by bags of 5 very cheaply at roadside stalls.Look out near Halong Bay and ask your driver to stop.
- Bananas are very plentifulMango – we mainly had these in Hue which is the main fruit growing area. They were beautiful.
- Papaya – another fruit that was plentiful. Delicious with lime juice!
- Passionfruit – large with a lot of fruit inside, my favourite juice was passionfruit
- Dragon fruit – a very mild flavoured fruit – beautiful shaded pink on the outside, and white with black seeds rather like poppyseeds, inside.
- Pears – Nashi and other varieties
- Oranges and Mandarins
- Longans – like small lychee, they are sold on a small branch, are small round golden brown fruits, with a large seen inside.
- BEER is cheaper than bottled water quite often. As I am not a beer drinker, when I wanted something other than water I chose one of the delicious
- fresh fruit juices –usually my favourite passionfruit,or mango, watermelon, orange is very nice – the oranges have a mandarin flavour, etc.
- Smoothies and/or lassi are also often on the menu and very good.Somehow they go well with Vietnamese food.
There is a huge selection of Spirits and we enjoyed several mojitos that were usually excellent, with plenty of fresh mint and lime juice.I also found their pina coladas were very good.
Vietnam Special You can buy bottles of snake liquor with snakes in the bottom.
The local wine is grown around Dalat. There is a brand Dalat, which our hotel kindly left us as a complimentary bottle. However, I would not recommend you buy a bottle. There are some Italian, and other restaurants with imported wines. Often expensive, but if you come across one at a reasonable price, if you are on a budget, enjoy it while you can.
Coffee is a major export for Vietnam. They are second largest next to Brazil in the world.I highly recommend Vietnamese coffee. I never really had a bad.You can get a range coffees. We drink ours black, and you sometimes get a drip coffee. It is a little metal cup that sits on the cup. Unfortunately, because it drips so slowly , it is usually cold by the time it is ready to drink. THis is found on more rural areas. Generally you get delicious coffee, I think is filtered.We like our strong and found it just right. You may want to ask for water to dilute it a little.NOTE: But do remember to ask for no sugar if you order a black coffee, and no sugar or milk in small rural places. They will just put it in otherwise.
Weasel Coffee In Hanoi you can try Weasel Coffee.It is very expensive, but very good we are told!This is coffee made from the excreta of weasels. They are feed a diet of coffee beans.Look out for it in Pho Hanh Hung - Coffee Street.It may be elsewhere too, if this is a must on your list.
MORE USEFUL VIETNAM LINKS
Travel to Vietnam
Northern Vietnam - Lake Ba-be
Hotels in Vietnam
Vietnamese Food to Fascinating Travel Destinations - Home
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