Whether you’re cooking at home or heading to your local Vietnamese restaurant, these are the dishes that everyone needs to try. Vietnamese food is one of the most varied and unforgettable on the planet.
The balance of sweet and sour gives the cuisine an amazing flavour and texture. Vietnamese restaurant Eastwood is able to take the dishes from their colonial visitors and transform them into their own dish using their taste and food pallet. From the French to the Chinese, Vietnam cuisine transforms what they traditionally had into something of their own.
The banh mi is a great example of a Vietnamese dish transformed from the colonial visitors. Traditionally the banh mi was made from a crusty French baguette that was filled with pickled carrots and radish, cucumber, coriander, chili, pate, mayonnaise and a protein filling consisting either of meat or tofu.
The contrast in the texture of the bread with the filling gives off a wonderful eating experience. The lost cost and simplicity of the banh mi has made it a world favourite with many international imitations emerging.
The staple Vietnamese dish is the Pho, a noodle dish that is primarily eaten at breakfast. The bowl consists of beef or chicken broth filled with ginger, coriander, spring onions with either chicken or beef being the protein of choice.
Pho is found all over Vietnam and anywhere in the world with a high Vietnamese population. Although seen as a native dish it takes inspiration from the French and Chinese in the choice of spices and stock techniques.
Another very popular Vietnamese dish that has been adopted by the whole world is the goi cuon. They are transparent spring rolls stuffed with lettuce, cucumber, coriander, rice noodles and a protein choice of either pork, prawns or crab. The spring rolls are normally accompanied with some sort of soy sauce dipping sauce on the side to make them extra tasty.
A Southern variation of the goi cuon has strips of pork that are barbequed and wrapped in green banana and star fruit. These variation is accompanied with a satay – peanut sauce that is there as a dipping sauce.
Bun cha is seen as a specialty from Hanoi. It consists of grilled fatty pork that is cooked on an open flame being served upon cold rice noodles. The dish also is accompanied with coriander and a dipping sauce. The sauce is normally sweet in flavour matching the taste pallet that Vietnam is accustomed to.
Bun Chas are pretty much mini hamburger patties that are very popular amongst street cart vendors due to their easy to produce nature.
Translating to “sizzling pancake”, banh xeo is a giant pancake that is filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and egg. The mixture is fried and wrapped in rice paper. This massive meal is super cheap and is very filling.
They’re best eaten straight off the pan; the banh xeo normally comes with a spicy sauce for eating. They are also widely adopted by street vendors and make for a great on the go snack or meal for the busy explorer.
Vietnam is home to some of the most amazing foods. Their style of cooking and use of spices and flavours makes for a next level dining experience that everyone must try.
If you can’t make it to Vietnam and don’t have the cooking skills to replicate some of these dishes, make sure to look for them at any food stall or Vietnamese restaurant.