Vietnam Top 10 Best Dishes
Vietnamese food is distinct and unforgettable. The cuisine relies on a balance of salty, sweet, sour and hot flavours, achieved through the use of nuoc cham, a fermented fish sauce, cane sugar, the juice of Calamansi citrus fruit or tamarind and chilli peppers. Dishes use plenty of fresh herbs but tend not to be overly spicy, as chilli sauces are served separately. Below are the top 10 dishes which strongly represents the Vietnam Cuisines Culture.
1.) Grill Pork Sandwich – Banh Mi
Available almost everywhere in Vietnam City, Banh Mi is a quintessential Vietnamese dish that you should never miss out on. This baguette sandwich is stuffed with pickled vegetables, pate, butter, soy sauce, cilantro, chilies, and hot peppers. It’s simple and tasty, you can also choose from a variety of meat fillings for your banh mi, including Heo Quay (roasted pork belly), Cha Ca (fried fish with turmeric and dill), Cha Lua (boiled sausages), Xiu Mai (meatballs), Thit Ga (boiled chicken), Trung Op La (fried egg), Thit Nuong (grilled pork loin), and Xa Xiu (Chinese barbecued pork).
2.) Beef Soup Noodle – Pho Bo
Pho Bo is rice noodle that’s served in a flavourful soup with beef, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and greens such as basil, mint, cilantro, and onions with a side of chili sauce for added spice. A basic bowl contains Tai (beef slices), Bo Vien (beef meatballs) or Nam (beef flank), but diners can also opt for more exotic ingredients such as Gan (beef tendon), Sach (thinly-sliced pig stomach), and Ve Don (flank with cartilage). This dish is a popular breakfast option for locals Vietnamese.
3.) Broken Rice – Com Tam
Com Tam is actually named ‘broken rice’ in Vietnamese, usually served with fried egg, diced green onions, and a variety of meats such as Suon Nuong (barbecued pork chop), Bi (shredded pork skin), and Cha Trung (steamed pork and egg patty). Diners can also enjoy this dish with a side of pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, and Nuoc Cham Vietnamese dipping sauce. Com tam can be enjoyed any time of the day as it is relatively inexpensive and serve as the most balanced treat.
4.) Fresh Spring Roll – Goi Cuon
Goi Cuon or Vietnamese spring rolls comprise vermicelli noodles, pork slices, shrimp, basil, and lettuce tightly wrapped in translucent Banh Trang (rice papers). Due to its very subtle flavor, you can dip it in a mix of freshly ground chili and hoisin-based dipping sauce topped with crushed peanuts. This traditional appetizer is a healthier alternative to Cha Gio, which is a deep-fried egg roll made with a combination of mung bean noodles, minced pork, and various spices.
5.) Crispy Pancake – Banh Xeo
Ban Xeo is a savory pancake that’s made of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric, stuffed with ingredients such as pork slices, shrimps, sliced onions, bean sprouts, and button mushrooms. The best way to enjoy Ban Xeo is by wrapping it in mustard leaf, lettuce leaves or rice wrappers, together with mint leaves, basil, herbs, and sweet fermented peanut butter sauce. Lastly, dip it in a sweet and sour fish sauce.
6.) Seafood Pork Rice Noodles – Hu Tieu
Hu Tieu is a subtle version of pho noodles, featuring a clear pork-based broth, rice noodles, and an assortment of pork toppings. There are also countless variations for this dish, though the most popular one is Hu Tieu Xuong, which is topped with pork ribs. Alternatively, you can enjoy Hu Tieu with shrimp, squid, or fish if you’re not a fan of pork. An ideal dish as the kick starter for the day.
7.) Caramelised Fish in Claypot – Ca Kho To
Served as a comfort food for Vietnamese Cuisines, Ca Kho To refers to catfish braised in a clay pot. This dish is prepared by cutting a whole catfish into fillets before it’s marinated and braised in a thick gravy made with a combination of soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, shallots, garlic, and various spices and seasonings. Due to its intense sweet-salty flavor, Ca Kho To is always served with a plate of white rice or vermicelli.
8.) Grilled Pork with Vermicelli – Bun Thit Nuong
A hearty dish for Vietnamese, Bun Thit Nuong features vermicelli rice noodles with freshly chopped lettuce, sliced cucumber, bean sprouts, pickled daikon and carrot, basil, chopped peanuts, and mint, topped with grilled yet tender pork shoulder. Diners can also opt for Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio, which comes with crunchy slices of Cha Gio (deep-fried egg rolls). As with most Vietnamese dishes, you also get a side of Nuoc Cham Sauce to mix into the Bun Thit Nuong for a flavourful ensemble.
9.) Steam Rice Roll – Banh Cuon
Loosely wrapped in a steamed fermented rice sheet, Banh Cuon contains a mix of ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, onions, Vietnamese ham (cha lua), steamed bean sprouts, and cucumbers. You can easily produce this dish from home with the right kitchen appliances, especially non-stick pan to prevent the rice sheet from sticking the pan while steaming. This traditional Vietnamese dish is sometimes topped with shrimp floss, coriander, and herbs, with a sweet-sour dipping sauce made with fish extract, lime, and chilli.
10.) Shellfish Boiled with Spices – Oc Luoc Xa
Oc Luoc Xa refers to platters of Vietnamese shellfish that are prepared by varying methods. The most popular way of cooking shellfish is to boil water along with few spices such as lemongrass, ginger, and chili. Diners can use this cooking method with other shellfish such as mussels, scallop or cockles and the taste would be still appealing as long as the main ingredient is fresh. Cooked shellfish immediately serve along with a sweet and sour sauce to enhance the flavor.