The Best Dishes in Vietnam

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Vietnamese dishes can be said to be the hidden culinary treasures of the Far East. There is an astounding variety of dishes that focus heavily on rice, seafood, and plenty of herbs. As a tourist in Vietnam, you get closely acquainted with nuoc cham, which is a combination of garlic, chili, sugar, and lime juice and fish sauce. Whatever dish you are having, you can be sure there will be a bowl of this delightfully tasty sauce to dunk, dip, or sip. Next time you are in Vietnam, try out these dishes.

Cao lau
This dish is from central Vietnam and is a dish of thick rice flour noodles, pork rind croutons, and bean sprouts. This is served in a bowl with a light spicy soup with star anise and mint. It is eaten with grilled rice crackers or crispy rice paper topped with thin slices of pork.

Bahn mi
Bahn loosely translates to bread. Bahn Mi is easily the most popular Vietnamese dish known to the world. It is basically a baguette sandwich filled with greens, some meat, and sauce. Bahn Mi carts are ubiquitous in Ho Chi Minh City and other cities.

Goi cuon
This dish is highly popular in Vietnam and is very visually interesting with translucent spring rolls. The rolls are packed with coriander, greens, and a combination of minced pork and shrimp or crab. The rolls are served with a bowl of mint or lettuce. The southern Goi Cuon is made by wrapping barbecued strips of pork with green banana and star fruit.

Bahn Xeo
This loosely translates into ‘sizzling pancake.’ These enormous pancakes contain eggs, shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. The pancake is wrapped in rice paper and greens. This is dunked into nuoc cham sauce when eating.

Pho
This dish is Vietnam’s staple dish. It is eaten at any time of the day—good for breakfast or as a snack. It is basically noodles served in broth. The light broth can be beef- or chicken-flavored with coriander or ginger. Flat rice noodles are added to the broth along with pieces of chicken, beef, or pork.

Cha ca
This is one of the more popular seafood dishes. It is white fish sautéed in butter with onions and dill. It served with rice noodles and a handful of peanuts.

Bun cha
Bun Cha is a Hanoi specialty. It is a small hamburger with pork patties barbecued on an open charcoal grill. The patties are laid on rice noodles and filled with different vegetables. Like so many other things, it is dunked in the nuoc cham.

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