23 Must-Try Dishes that will Give You a True Taste of Vietnam.


Vietnamese cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and balance of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy elements. The country's diverse regions each offer their own unique culinary specialties, making Vietnam a paradise for food lovers. Here's a detailed look at 23 must-try dishes that will give you a true taste of Vietnam.


1. Pho

Pho is arguably the most famous Vietnamese dish, a fragrant noodle soup that is enjoyed at any time of the day. It consists of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat (usually beef or chicken). The broth is simmered for hours, often overnight, to develop its deep, rich flavor.

2. Banh Mi

Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that reflects the country's colonial history, combining French baguettes with Vietnamese ingredients. Typically filled with a variety of meats, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and chili peppers, this street food staple is a perfect blend of textures and flavors.

3. Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls)

Goi Cuon are fresh spring rolls made with shrimp, pork, fresh herbs, vermicelli noodles, and rice paper. They are served with a savory peanut dipping sauce or a tangy fish sauce, making them a light and refreshing appetizer.

4. Bun Cha

Bun Cha is a Hanoi specialty that consists of grilled pork patties and slices served over vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs and a tangy dipping sauce. It’s typically accompanied by a plate of greens and a bowl of dipping sauce with pickled vegetables.

5. Cao Lau

Cao Lau is a regional dish from Hoi An, featuring thick, chewy noodles, slices of roast pork, fresh herbs, and crispy croutons, all served in a rich broth. The noodles are uniquely made with water from a specific ancient well in the area, giving them a distinct texture.

6. Mi Quang

Mi Quang is another noodle dish from central Vietnam, made with wide rice noodles, turmeric-infused broth, shrimp, pork, herbs, and peanuts. It’s typically garnished with rice crackers and served with a side of fresh vegetables.

7. Com Tam (Broken Rice)

Com Tam is a popular dish in southern Vietnam, made with broken rice grains and typically served with grilled pork, a fried egg, pickled vegetables, and fish sauce. The broken rice has a slightly different texture than regular rice, adding a unique twist to the dish.

8. Hu Tieu

Hu Tieu is a versatile noodle soup from the south, often made with a clear and light broth, pork, seafood, and a variety of herbs. It can be served either as a soup or dry with the broth on the side, allowing for customization of flavors.

9. Xoi (Sticky Rice)

Xoi is a popular breakfast or snack made from glutinous rice, which can be sweet or savory. Common toppings include mung bean paste, shredded coconut, fried shallots, and various meats. It’s a hearty and satisfying dish that showcases the versatility of sticky rice.

10. Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue is a spicy beef noodle soup from the central city of Hue. It features a rich, flavorful broth made with lemongrass, shrimp paste, and spicy chili oil, along with beef shank, pork knuckles, and rice vermicelli. It’s typically served with a side of fresh herbs and lime wedges.

11. Chao (Rice Porridge)

Chao is a comforting rice porridge that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It’s often made with chicken or pork and topped with fresh herbs, fried shallots, and a squeeze of lime. This dish is especially popular as a breakfast or a soothing meal when someone is feeling under the weather.

12. Lau (Hot Pot)

Lau is the Vietnamese version of hot pot, where diners cook various meats, seafood, and vegetables in a simmering broth right at the table. It’s a social dish, perfect for sharing with family and friends, and can be customized with different broths and ingredients.

13. Banh Xeo

Banh Xeo are savory Vietnamese crepes made with rice flour, turmeric, coconut milk, and filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. They are typically served with a side of fresh herbs and lettuce for wrapping, along with a tangy dipping sauce.

14. Banh Cuon

Banh Cuon are steamed rice rolls filled with ground pork, minced mushrooms, and shallots. They are usually topped with fried shallots and served with a side of fish sauce for dipping. The delicate, silky texture of the rice rolls is a true delight.

15. Cha Ca La Vong

Cha Ca La Vong is a specialty from Hanoi, featuring turmeric-marinated fish that is sautéed with dill and green onions. It’s served with rice noodles, peanuts, herbs, and a tangy fish sauce, creating a fragrant and flavorful dish.

16. Bo Kho (Beef Stew)

Bo Kho is a hearty beef stew made with lemongrass, star anise, and cinnamon. The tender beef is cooked with carrots and served with either rice, noodles, or a French baguette, making it a versatile and satisfying meal.

17. Canh Chua (Sour Soup)

Canh Chua is a southern Vietnamese soup known for its tangy and refreshing flavor. Made with tamarind, pineapple, tomatoes, and a variety of fish, it’s often garnished with fresh herbs and served with rice. The sourness of the soup is perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the pineapple.

18. Ca Kho To (Caramelized Fish)

Ca Kho To is a traditional dish made with catfish caramelized in a clay pot with fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper. The result is a rich and savory dish with a slightly sweet undertone, often served with rice.

19. Ga Nuong (Grilled Chicken)

Ga Nuong is a simple yet flavorful dish featuring marinated and grilled chicken. The marinade typically includes lemongrass, garlic, and fish sauce, giving the chicken a fragrant and slightly tangy flavor. It’s often served with rice or noodles and a side of fresh vegetables.

20. Bun Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork with Vermicelli)

Bun Thit Nuong is a popular dish consisting of grilled pork served over vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and vegetables. It’s topped with chopped peanuts and fried shallots, and served with a side of tangy fish sauce. The combination of flavors and textures makes it a delightful meal.

21. Bot Chien

Bot Chien is a popular street food snack made from rice flour cakes that are fried until crispy and then topped with a beaten egg, green onions, and served with a tangy soy sauce. It’s a simple yet addictive dish that’s perfect for a quick bite.

22. Che (Sweet Dessert Soup)

Che is a broad category of Vietnamese sweet dessert soups and puddings made from a variety of ingredients, such as beans, fruit, coconut milk, and glutinous rice. It’s often served cold over crushed ice, making it a refreshing treat in the hot climate.

23. Banh Tet

Banh Tet is a traditional sticky rice cake typically enjoyed during the Lunar New Year. It’s made from glutinous rice filled with mung bean paste and pork, wrapped in banana leaves, and boiled for several hours. The result is a dense, savory cake that’s sliced and served with pickled vegetables.


Vietnam’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its culture and geography, offering a wide array of dishes that cater to all tastes. From the iconic pho and banh mi to regional specialties like bun cha and cao lau, each dish tells a story of the country’s rich history and vibrant culture. Whether you’re enjoying a bowl of comforting chao or indulging in the complex flavors of bun bo Hue, these 23 dishes are sure to leave a lasting impression and give you a true taste of Vietnam.

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