November 30, 2022


The Food Universe

Find Vietnam’s best street food with Lonely Planet’s new guide

Vietnam is 1 of the world’s ideal road-foods places, presenting the assure of daring and numerous flavors devoid of at any time stepping foot inside of a cafe. Care to chomp down on some grilled corn doused in eco-friendly onion oil or a steaming bowl of wonton noodle soup, washed down with an ice-cold glass of freshly squeezed sugar-cane and kumquat juice? Welcome to Vietnam’s superb street-meals scene.

Lonely Planet’s new book Try to eat Vietnam is a complete companion to Vietnamese vivid foodstuff society. From need to-try specialities to etiquette and vital phrases, this extract from Eat Vietnam, by Barbara Adam and James Pham, equips you to investigate the delightful diversions Vietnamese cuisine delivers, aiding visitors get the most out of their gastronomic expertise. Here’s what you have to have to know about Vietnam’s have to-try road meals. 

Two women wearing traditional Vietnamese conical hats smile at the camera. They're holding baskets full of food
Almost anything cooked in eating places can become avenue food items in Vietnam © Matt Munro / Lonely Earth

Why is road food items so common in Vietnam?

The fantastic road-foods scene has its origins in the longstanding Vietnamese custom of dwelling lifestyle out on the streets. Houses here are likely to be slender and cramped, specially in the cities: without the need of the area to host teams of buddies at home, the Vietnamese head outside, crowding all over the pavement tables of the country’s ubiquitous street-foodstuff stalls. There’s a social character to avenue-food stuff joints, even for those feeding on on your own – patrons are forced to sit close to each other, and the cook dinner is just a handful of actions absent preparing the foods suitable in entrance of you.

High angle view of a food vendor preparing skewered meats on the street
There’s a tradition in Vietnam of living lifetime out on the streets © Uta Gleiser / EyeEm / Getty Illustrations or photos

Add to that the transitory nature of Vietnam’s largest towns, which attract individuals in from the countryside for perform and review. These  transient city-dwellers frequently dwell in rented rooms and houses, potentially equipped only with the bare least – and a moveable gasoline stove is better suited to late-evening immediate noodles than full meals. There is also one more sensible purpose for the area love of street food: most households are not air-conditioned, so it helps make perception to prevent cooking in a sizzling kitchen area on an even hotter working day when you can just permit a person else do the function for just a tiny much more outlay. And as the evenings cool down, a well-known pastime is to simply hop on your motorbike and go for a push, either alone or with pals, generally with stops to snack, have a fruit shake or down a freshly brewed beer.

A hand reaches out to several white dumplings in a large round metal pan
Bánh bao are steamed buns with a savory filling © Siegfried Grassegger / Getty Illustrations or photos

Vietnam’s greatest avenue foods dishes

When the avenue food items of a lot of countries leans toward snacks and rapid bites, the unfussy character of Vietnamese food items usually means that complete foods can often be located on the sidewalk. Almost anything cooked up in places to eat can come to be avenue food stuff here, but this list focuses on the dishes that are typically marketed only on the streets.

Bánh bao

Steamed buns with a savory filling, potentially minced pork, onions, mushrooms and other veggies. The a bit much more pricey types will have a difficult-boiled chicken or quail egg inside. Just never fail to remember to get rid of the paper from the base right before having.

Bánh bèo

Modest discs of steamed rice flour topped with dried shrimp, environmentally friendly onion oil and buttery croutons, with a fish sauce dressing. They are normally steamed at the vendor’s house, then carried out by yoke to be marketed.

An overhead shot of Vietnamese street food, including small dishes garnished with egg and shrimp
Bánh căn is frequently served with shredded mango and fish sauce © JethuynhCan / Getty Illustrations or photos

Bánh căn

Mini rice-flour cakes cooked in small clay pots about an open fire, topped with minced pork, shrimp and a quail’s egg. Normally accompanied by shredded ripe mango and fish sauce.

Bánh tráng trộn

Actually “mixed rice paper”, this scholar favored is a plastic bag crammed with a bewildering mixture of flavors and textures: strips of dry rice paper, shredded green mango, hardboiled quail’s eggs, tiny dried shrimp, new herbs, crispy shallots and roasted peanuts, tossed in a dressing of soy sauce, sate and kumquat, maybe with a dollop of mayo.

A large metal dish full of kernels of corn
Bắp xào is wok-fried corn © Nguyen Quang Ngoc Tonkin / Shutterstock

Bắp xào 

Kernels of sweet corn, wok-fried with butter, green onions and dried shrimp. Also glance for its cousin, bắp nướng: grilled corn-on-the-cob slathered in inexperienced onion oil.

Bò bía

Sweet or savory rolls wrapped in spring-roll skins. Sweet fillings include clean shredded coconut, crispy sugar crackers and sesame seeds, while the savory model has cooked jicama (a potato-like tuber) and Chinese sausage, all dipped in a hoisin sauce.

A man cooking food in a street-stall set-up
Overwhelmed egg binds Bột chiên jointly © James Pham / Lonely Earth

Bột chiên

Cubes of rice-flour cakes, crispy-fried on a significant, circular griddle. When pretty much performed, a crushed egg is poured in excess of to bind anything alongside one another, then topped with chopped eco-friendly onions and served on a bed of shredded environmentally friendly papaya with a tangy soy sauce-dependent dressing.

Chim cút quay

Rotisserie quail, cooked up on a roadside grill and eaten with slices of cucumber and contemporary herbs. Quails are modest, so purchase a number of and have them with a baguette for a filling food.

A salad with a papaya, dried beef, herb and spices in a white dish
Shredded papaya is usually topped with beef, pork or shrimp © Dory F / Shutterstock

Gỏi đu đủ

Shredded eco-friendly papaya salad, topped with beef jerky or sliced pork and shrimp, as well as roasted peanuts and crispy shrimp crackers, all doused with a fish-sauce-dependent dressing.

Há cảo

Look for steamers stuffed with this delightful dim sum staple of dumplings stuffed with shrimp, pork or chives. Some destinations will also have them fried for a crispier texture, and they are often accompanied by a squirt of chilli sauce and some fresh new herbs, in addition a wooden skewer to eat with.

Street food being served on the edge of a busy beach
There is certainly a social aspect to consuming at avenue-foods joints © MielnickiStudio / Shutterstock

Súp cua

Slurp down a cup of this thick, scrumptious soup created from crab meat, eggs and shiitake mushrooms, concluded off with a sprinkle of fresh new coriander and a drizzle of sesame oil. 

Tre thịt nướng ống tre

Most usually found in the northern highlands, this is wild boar marinated in mountain herbs, stuffed inside of a piece of bamboo and grilled. Slice open up the bamboo and inhale the wonderful cloud of steam before eating with sticky rice.


Sweet or savory sticky rice. Sweet versions are colored with plant and fruit extracts (or foodstuff coloring), and eaten with shredded coconut or coconut milk. The savoury white model is generally accompanied by peanuts, beans, sliced grilled rooster, or Chinese sausage.

Several people sat close together at tables in the street eating food prepared by a nearby chef
Having where and when others are dining implies the ingredients are possible to be fresh new © Joel Whalton / Shutterstock

Top recommendations for consuming street food in Vietnam

Street food stuff like summer season rolls are marketed by the piece or by the quantity. Suppliers will frequently inquire regardless of whether you want 15,000d or 20,000d truly worth both equate to fewer than US$1, so if in question, just nod and enable them go with the default. Food security recognition is commonly excellent in Vietnam, but the  extent to which the cooks and servers who touch your food stuff notice good follow certainly ranges enormously. Smaller sized street food stuff stalls are purposely created to be packed up and moved at a moment’s detect, with restricted entry to water, energy and sanitation. 

To shield from foodstuff-similar sickness, there are several items to bear in mind:

  • Consume in which and when other individuals are feeding on – lots of buyers typically signifies food is staying turned above immediately, with considerably less time to sit out and be uncovered to contaminants. It also usually means that ingredients are staying refreshed much more generally.
  • Be observant – take a glance at the cooking region and consider if the oil seems to be apparent, if there are nets to shield from flies, and if the foodstuff smells fresh new. Glimpse to see how the seller switches involving managing food items and managing money.
  • Clean up the cutlery – many hands are most likely to have rummaged by means of the cutlery container through the working day, so use some sanitizer and a serviette to wipe them down ahead of you eat.
  • Taking in fruit and veg – any fruit with an inedible skin (watermelon, mango, banana) is generally great it’s finest to clean all other fruits comprehensively oneself ahead of feeding on. Fresh new herbs, sprouts and lettuce may keep traces of pesticides (or even worse) if not washed properly if consuming soup, you can always request for them to be dipped in boiling h2o right before you load them into your bowl – ask for “trụng” while pointing at the greens and making a dipping motion.
  • Possessing ice in your drink – ice applied in city parts is frequently secure, particularly if it is in evenly shaped cubes or cylinders, which reveal that it arrived from a manufacturing unit (these generally use addressed water). Oddly formed shards of ice have been chipped from a much larger block, and must be dealt with with warning or just avoided.

Vietnam’s favorite street food items

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