Vietnam’s Top 10 Foods and Beverages Recommended by Australian Site

delicious.com.au has unveiled its ranking of the 10 best street dishes and drinks in Vietnam – an essential guide for all foodies planning a trip Down Under.

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When it comes to street food, Vietnam delivers big on flavor. Here are the top 10 dishes and beverages to indulge in while visiting Vietnam, as curated by the renowned Australian website, delicious.com.au.

First of the list, of course, is Banh mi. The French may have introduced baguettes to Vietnam, but the country’s famed banh mi is a uniquely Vietnamese creation.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
Roasted Pork Bánh Mì.

According to an article published on the website, different vendors worldwide have put their own spin on the globally beloved sanga. The general idea includes a fresh baguette, which draws influence from earlier French colonization. The baguette is then filled with pate, pork floss, pork belly, cucumber, and pickled vegetables. The resulting sandwich is a harmonious combination of crunchiness, softness, and unforgettable flavor.

Second, Pho (rice noodle soup with beef or chicken) is another must-try. Pho was developed in the north of the country during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The pho obsession spread to the south in the 1950s, when the country was divided and millions of north Vietnamese brought their soup recipe with them to the south.

December 12th is officially recognized as the Day of Pho, a special occasion dedicated to honoring Vietnam’s iconic and beloved culinary masterpiece.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
A bowl of beef Pho. Photo: Hoang Khanh Duy

The article posted on the web describes Pho as a well-known and widely enjoyed Vietnamese dish that needs no introduction. Pho can be found throughout Vietnam, and each region adds its own unique touch to the noodle soup. Originating in the northern part of the country, phở is typically a delectable combination of flat rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, aromatic herbs, all immersed in a flavorful beef broth

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The third dish in the list is Bánh Xèo, which is a Vietnamese rice pancake.

The crispy pancake is a beloved dish in Vietnam that is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. This savory pancake resembles a crepe in terms of its weight and texture. Made from a delicate mixture of rice flour, water, and turmeric (and sometimes coconut cream), the pancake is lightly fried. It is typically filled with succulent prawns and crisp bean sprouts, and is best enjoyed wrapped in lettuce or rice paper along with a delectable sweetened fish sauce.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
Crispy Vietnamese pancake (Bánh xèo) tops the list of 10 most popular Southeast Asian pancakes as compiled by TasteAtlas. Photo courtesy of TasteAtlas

The word “xèo” represents the sizzling sound that occurs when pouring the rice batter into a hot skillet. While some individuals may choose to use chopsticks to consume bánh xèo directly, the optimal way to savor it is through eating with your hands.

The fourth place is Cơm Gà (Chicken rice), a specialty of the riverside district of Hoi An town. This picturesque place is known for its delicious street food. Enjoy a plate of turmeric rice topped with succulent shredded chicken, fish sauce, pickled shallots, and a variety of herbs such as coriander and mint. For an extra kick, locals often add a spoonful of chili jam on top.

The fifth spot in the list is for our first drink – Vietnamese iced coffee.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
Vietnam’s distinctive iced coffee has been praised as one of the highest-rated coffees in the world.

According to the article, Vietnam, being the world’s second largest bean producer, is deeply passionate about coffee. One of the country’s beloved afternoon indulgence is the famous condensed milk iced coffee. This delightful beverage is prepared by pouring hot water through coffee grounds into a cup that already holds a generous amount of condensed milk. It’s safe to say that calling this drink a pick-me-up would be an understatement.

Vietnamese iced coffee originated in Ho Chi Minh City, where it was traditionally sold on street corners. Today, it can be found throughout the country, including in luxury hotels and Vietnamese-style coffee shops abroad.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
Green papaya salad is consumed in Thailand as Som Tam, where as in Cambodia it becomes bok l’hong and in Vietnam it is Gỏi đu đủ.

Next is Gỏi Đu Đủ (green papaya salad). Even though there are plenty of Southeast Asian nations that claim their own version of this dish, the Vietnamese take is known for its spiciness. It consists of shredded unripe papaya tossed with carrots, coriander, Thai basil, peanuts, chili, shallots, and a sweet and sour sauce. Traditionally, it’s sprinkled with Vietnamese beef jerky or dried squid. Don’t knock it until you try it.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the main sugar cane producers in the world. This is why sugarcane juice is such a popular drink in Vietnam, especially on tough summer days. Photo: Delicious Vietnam

In seventh place is a popular drink called nước mía, also known as sugarcane juice. This refreshing beverage is loved by many in Vietnam and can be easily found across the country, usually on street corners. Nước mía is primarily made by extracting juice from sugarcane, but it may also include kumquat and Vietnamese pickled lime for added flavor. It is served chilled and known for its delightful sweetness.

Recently, on August 25th, the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh successfully exported a shipment of 17.3 tonnes of fresh sugarcane to the United States.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
Avocado Ice Cream. Source: bachuaviahe

Another dessert on the list is avocado ice cream. The article highlights that in Vietnam, avocado is not used just for toast but also for dessert. This tropical fruit is transformed into a creamy post-dinner treat that was originally created in Da Nang city. The dessert is made up of layers, with mashed avocado at the bottom, topped with a scoop of coconut ice cream, sweetened coconut milk, and toasted coconut flakes.

Vietnamese Avocado Mousse Ice Cream is a signature dish of Da Lat, a renowned tourist destination in the Central Highlands. This delightful dessert offers a luscious and creamy texture, while being incredibly simple to prepare.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
Banh beo in Hue is steamed in small, flat bowls. On top of banh beo in Hue are toasted shrimp flakes, pork cracklings and fried shallots. Photo: Liz Phung

The next dish is Bánh bèo (steamed rice cake) – a popular snack loved by people of all ages. These bite-sized bowls of thin steamed rice cake are filled with either a sweet or savory filling, depending on the region. In Hoi An, the preferred fillings are minced shrimp or pork, topped with crispy shallots.

A country known for its tropical agriculture, Vietnam is home to a vast array of unique farm produce that serve as key ingredients for a wide variety of cakes. However, in Vietnamese cuisine, one particular cake stands out: Banh beo. What sets Banh beo apart is its distinctive appearance, preparation methods, and taste, making it unlike any other cake found in Vietnam. Each region within Vietnam has its own unique version of Banh beo, with no two versions being completely alike.

The last on the list is Gỏi Cuốn (rice paper rolls). According to the article, these rolls are referred to by different names such as spring rolls, summer rolls, or rice paper rolls depending on where you are in Vietnam. Regardless of the name, these healthy snacks consist of strips of pork, prawn, cucumber, carrot, rice vermicelli, and herbs wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper. The specific ingredients may vary between regions, as well as the accompanying dipping sauces.

Australian Website Suggests 10 Dishes Must Eat and Drink in Vietnam
Fresh, light, healthy, and summery Vietnamese salad rolls are packed with vermicelli noodles, shrimp, fresh vegetables and herbs and dipped in a homemade peanut dipping sauce. Photo: Netspace

Goi Cuon is served fresh at room temperature (or cooled) and is not deep-fried or cooked on the outside. These rolls are considered to be a highly popular appetizer among customers at Vietnamese restaurants.

These spring rolls are a delightful alternative to traditional fried ones and have quickly become a beloved dish in our family. They are the perfect choice for a refreshing summer appetizer and taste absolutely divine when paired with one or both of the accompanying sauces.

The fillings for spring rolls can vary and often include a combination of ingredients such as pork slices, pork sausage slices, shrimp, fish, pan-fried seafood like squid, beef poached in a lemongrass broth, tofu for vegetarian options, grilled sausages, braised pork, and egg. These are just a few examples of the popular variations of spring rolls.

Hannah Nguyen