Vietnamese food is becoming more and more popular in the UK with Chain restaurants like Pho and Banh Mi on high streets up and down the country, and it seems like every food market and festival in the land has at least one Banh Mi truck. So with Vietnamese foods being the latest trend I thought I’d put together a list of all the yummy delicacies I enjoyed on my latest trip that you just HAVE to try.
1. Clay pot fish – Ca Kho To
Pieces of juicy white fish cooked in a sticky sweet and sour sauce. Comes in a piping hot little clay pot and served with steamed white rice or broken rice. Although I once had it served with French fries, not quite sure how traditional that is….
2. Banh mi
A product of French colonialism, this is Vietnamese fusion food! A light and crusty baguette filled with pate, pickled vegetables, herbs and chilli with either BBQ meat or omelette. So good at any time of day, but especially after a few Bia Hoi.
3. Bia Hoi
Beer is a food group right?? In Vietnam they brew fresh beer every day and sell it from little kiosks for as little as 5000VND (15p) a glass. No one knows how strong each barrel is as it’s totally unregulated, but it’s claimed to be pretty light. Doesn’t seem to stop people getting totally wrecked on the stuff though.
4. Banh bao
You might have seen something similar to this in a Chinese dim sum restaurant, a steamed bun with a filling. The Vietnamese version usually has minced pork with a whole quail egg inside, although other popular fillings are taro and red bean paste. You find them everywhere in Vietnam on street corners, in convenience stores and at roadside stops kept in a glass hotbox. Great on-the-go snack yum!
Probably the most famous Vietnamese dish. Frequently eaten at breakfast, but, can also be eaten throughout the day it has a flavourful broth with wide, flat rice noodles, meat and herbs. As a word of warning it’s pronounced “fuh” and not “foe”, the latter is umm, something entirely different and might raise an eyebrow from your waiter….
6. Hot pot –Lau Thai
A hot broth that you keep bubbling away in the centre of the table gradually adding fish, seafood and vegetables to. It also comes with noodles, rice and of course the obligatory herbs, man those Vietnamese love herbs!
7. Egg coffee – Ca Phe Trueng
Yeah I know it’s a drink, but with the velvety egg custard on top of deathly strong Vietnamese coffee, it feels like a dessert with a kick!
8. Bun Cha
A Hanoi speciality, you see this dish being gobbled and slurped up on every street of the Old Quarter in the capital. A bowl of light broth with BBQ pork, cold rice noodles and a giant bowl of herbs. Add chilli, garlic and vinegar to taste.
9. Cao Lao
A dish only really found in Hoi An, it’s a bowl of noodley heaven. Fat chewy noodles, belly pork, lettuce and herb mixed together with a sweet and spicy sauce, served with crispy pork skin on top. I seriously couldn’t get enough of it.
10. White rose dumplings – banh bao vac
Another Hoi an speciality said to come from the strong Chinese influence in the area. They are round open face dumplings made from glutinous rice flour wrappers with a “filling” of pork in the centre, they do look like beautiful little roses on the plate, sprinkled with crispy shallots. You grab them with your chopsticks and plunge them in delicious hot, sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Thinking about all that awesome food has made me seriously hungry! How many have you tried? Are there any other Vietnamese foods that need to be added to the “must try” list?
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