What kind of food should I expect?

Like lots of street food in Asia, Vietnam’s is cheap, mouth-watering and exotic all at the same time. Over the years Vietnam has been influenced by many of its neighbours. The Mongolians introduced Beef, the Chinese popularised stir fry, and the French introduced delicious bread, pastries, coffee (with cream) and incredible cakes. Delicious and delightful, with its aromatic, fresh and zesty flavours Vietnamese food is a perfect balance between sweet and sour.

Local Vietnamese home-cooked food in a homestay

Vietnamese classics to watch out for

Bánh is the Vietnamese word for “pastry”, and there are a vast number of different kinds of bánh! From bun shaped dumplings (bao) to fried crispy variations filled with tasty treats (xeo) or rice rolled paper bánh, you’re in for a treat if you spot this on the menu!

Com tam, also known as “broken rice” is usually served for lunch or dinner meals. Generally dished up with a combination of meats (more often than not it’s pork), vegetables and herbs. There are several variations, depending on where you are in Vietnam.

Bún is a tasty, broth soup with vermicelli noodles, usually with some kind of meat. From spicy beef, to shrimp, it’s a hearty dish packed full of flavour!

Bún bò xào isn’t an ordinary noodle salad. What makes this tasty this so special is that is served in layers of room-temperature rice noodles (bún), topped with pickled vegetables, marinated beef (bò) and loads of fresh garnishes (roasted peanuts, fresh herbs, mint, basil).

Goi is essentially a salad minus the standard lettuce you might expect. In Vietnam, they’re typically made with unripe green papaya or mango (and are super-refreshing!).

Goi Cuon are translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and various combinations of minced pork, shrimp or crab. Sometimes known as salad rolls, in some places they’re served with a bowl of lettuce or mint.

Phở is similar to bún but made with fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef. With a refreshing but tasty broth, made with herbs and meat, phở is a popular choice for breakfast in Vietnam. You can also customise your phở with herbs like coriander, mint, lettuce, and finish it off with limes or chillies, fish sauce or garlic to give it a kick!

Ready to grab yourself a bao or a bowl of phở? Check out our trips below for a real vibrant Vietnamese foodie experience:

man riding a vespa in vietnam

Zip through Saigon on a Vespa food tour

Scoot through Saigon on a vintage Vespa, searching for hidden street food hotspots. Zip through the back streets after dark, sample the best traditional snacks in the city and listen to local live music as you sip on a Vietnamese coffee. It’s a night tour, and a foodie adventure rolled into one.

Ho Chi Minh is a city that comes alive after nightfall, and this is an excellent way to get a slice of the action. You’ll stay in a comfy hotel near the central market.

Scoot through Saigon >
Customers and locals cooking together

Master the art of Vietnamese cooking

If you fancy learning to cook some classic Vietnamese dishes, we can organise a group class during a beautiful stay in Hoi An. You’ll hear all about typical Vietnamese dishes, then with a local chef at your side, you’ll have a go at making your own lunch. From seafood noodle soups to grilled fish fresh from the river, you’re sure to return home with a few new tricks up your sleeve!

Cook a storm in Hoi An >

Experience village life up close

Help with the local harvest, pick your own food and amble along the banks of the Perfume River in Hue. During this trip, you’ll delve into the rich dynastic past of this UNESCO World Heritage city before lending a hand on a rural farm, far away from the traffic and tourists. Until 1945, Hue was the imperial capital of Vietnam and the seat of Nguyen dynasty. It’s an atmospheric spot, yet most travellers whisk through Hue at pace, racing around the citadel, tombs and monuments. Not on our trip though, after seeing this beautiful city, you’ll escape into the peaceful countryside to learn from the locals.

Lend a hand in Hue >
Jeanette trying some local Vietnamese food in Hanoi

Explore the best eats with a food safari

If you love street food you’ll love our food safari around Hanoi’s Old Quarter.  You will embark on a culinary and cultural journey walking through Hanoi with your guide, learning all about local temples and their legends. You’ll taste a range of delicacies from grilled pork to vermicelli dumplings finishing off the evening with a local ‘Bia Hoi’ beer or green hot tea, just like the locals do.

Discover Hanoi's best eats >
Mekong local woman on barge with fruit

Featured itinerary

A Taste of Vietnam

Duration:13 days / 12 nights
Itinerary:Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Hoi An - Hanoi - Bai Tu Long Bay - Hanoi
View this itinerary Add to cartView all Vietnam itineraries
local women smiling while eating food vietnam

Featured itinerary

Pho the Love of Food

Duration:10 days / 9 nights
Itinerary:Hanoi - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City
View this itinerary Add to cartView all Vietnam itineraries

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