Vietnamese cuisine is a captivating blend of fresh ingredients, complex flavors, and aromatic herbs, reflecting the country’s cultural diversity and history.
In this guide, we will take you on a culinary journey through Vietnam, highlighting some of our favorite Vietnamese recipes, each showcasing the unique and vibrant essence of Vietnamese cooking.
Flavorful Soups And Broths
Vietnamese soups and broths are renowned for their depth of flavor and comforting qualities, so this is the perfect place to start our article.
Pho, arguably the most famous Vietnamese dish worldwide, is a fragrant noodle soup that’s all about simplicity and balance – we love it because it’s an easy recipe, but it doesn’t skimp on flavor.
It typically features rice noodles in a flavorful beef or chicken broth, spiced with ingredients like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves.
Thin slices of beef or chicken are added, cooking gently in the hot broth.
Pho is garnished with fresh herbs like basil and cilantro, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and chili peppers, allowing diners to customize the flavor to their liking.
2. Bun Bo Hue
This spicy beef noodle soup is known for its robust and lemongrass-flavored broth.
It typically includes beef shank, oxtail, and sometimes pork, along with round rice noodles.
The dish is spiced with chili oil or powder and flavored with fish sauce, giving it a distinctive taste.
Garnished with lime wedges, cilantro, onions, and other herbs, Bun Bo Hue is a hearty, vibrant dish that embodies the bold flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.
Fresh And Tasty Rolls And Sandwiches
Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its fresh and healthy rolls and sandwiches, combining a variety of textures and flavors. Let’s dig into some recipes:
Goi Cuon, often referred to as Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, are a hallmark of Vietnam’s emphasis on fresh, light, and healthy cuisine.
These rolls are a harmonious combination of tender rice paper filled with succulent shrimp, slices of lean pork, delicate vermicelli noodles, and a crisp medley of fresh herbs and vegetables.
The art of making Goi Cuon lies in the balance of these ingredients, ensuring each bite delivers a blend of textures and flavors.
Typically served with a hoisin-peanut sauce or a lighter fish sauce-based dip, both provide a savory contrast to the fresh, clean flavors of the rolls.
Banh Xeo is a tantalizing Vietnamese dish, often likened to a crispy crepe or pancake.
The batter, a blend of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric, creates a vibrant yellow hue and a crispy, airy texture.
Filled with savory ingredients like pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, the crepe is folded in half and fried to achieve a golden, crunchy exterior.
The dish is traditionally cut into segments and wrapped in lettuce leaves or rice paper, along with a variety of fresh herbs, and dipped in a tangy and slightly sweet fish sauce-based dipping sauce.
Cha Gio, the Vietnamese version of fried spring rolls, is a crowd-pleasing appetizer known for its crispy texture and savory filling.
These rolls are typically packed with a mixture of ground pork, shrimp, glass noodles, wood ear mushrooms, and a blend of Vietnamese herbs and seasonings.
The filling is encased in thin rice paper, which, when deep-fried, becomes incredibly crisp, contrasting beautifully with the tender and flavorful interior.
Served hot, Cha Gio is often accompanied by a bed of fresh lettuce and aromatic herbs like mint and cilantro, intended to be wrapped around the rolls before dipping into a sweet and tangy fish sauce-based mixture.
The interplay of hot and crispy rolls with cool, fresh greens and the umami-rich dipping sauce makes Cha Gio an irresistible part of Vietnamese cuisine.
6. Banh Mi
Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that brilliantly showcases the fusion of Vietnamese and French culinary traditions.
It consists of a crispy baguette filled with a variety of ingredients, such as grilled pork, pâté, fresh cucumbers, pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, and spicy chili.
The key to a great Banh Mi is the contrast of textures and flavors – the crunch of the bread, the tanginess of the pickles, the freshness of the herbs, and the richness of the meat.
It’s a popular street food in Vietnam and has gained international fame for its delicious combination of flavors.
Meat And Fish Dishes
Meat and fish are significant in Vietnamese cuisine, showcased in various savory dishes.
Let’s take a look at some mouth-watering dishes below:
7. Bun Cha
Bun Cha are delicious Vietnamese meatballs served over a bowl of rice vermicelli noodles with plenty of fresh herbs and a side of dipping sauce.
The pork is usually marinated in garlic, shallots, sugar, fish sauce, and pepper.
The accompanying sauce, made with fish sauce, sugar, lime, and vinegar, adds a tangy and sweet flavor to the dish.
Bun Cha is a delightful combination of smoky, savory, and fresh flavors.
This dish is a classic example of Vietnamese comfort food.
It involves fish steaks, typically catfish, simmered in a clay pot (although this isn’t essential) with a caramel sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, and various seasonings.
The slow cooking process allows the fish to absorb the sweet and savory flavors of the sauce, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish.
Cá Kho Tộ is often served with steamed white rice, making it a hearty and satisfying meal.
This is a beloved Vietnamese dish featuring pork belly and eggs braised in coconut juice, fish sauce, and caramel.
The pork is cooked until tender, absorbing the sweet and savory flavors.
This dish is typically served with rice and pickled vegetables, offering a balance of flavors and textures.
Bò Lúc Lắc, also known as Shaking Beef, is a popular Vietnamese dish.
It consists of marinated beef cubes that are quickly stir-fried in a hot wok, giving them a savory, caramelized exterior while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
The beef is typically marinated in a mixture of garlic, soy sauce, and sugar, with a hint of fish sauce for an authentic Vietnamese flavor.
The dish gets its name from the shaking motion used while stir-frying the beef in the wok.
It’s often served with vegetables and sometimes a dipping sauce.
Cơm Tấm, or broken rice, is a traditional Vietnamese dish typically served with grilled pork.
The dish uses fragmented rice grains, often left over from the milling process.
The pork is marinated in a mixture of lemongrass, garlic, sugar, and fish sauce, then grilled until it’s beautifully charred and aromatic.
The dish is usually accompanied by a variety of foods such as pickled vegetables, fried eggs, and a Vietnamese-style meatloaf made of ground pork, egg, and vermicelli.
A drizzle of nước chấm, a sweet and tangy fish sauce-based dipping sauce, adds the finishing touch.
Cơm Tấm is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, especially in the South, and is beloved for its combination of hearty flavors and diverse textures.
Vietnamese noodle dishes are diverse, each with unique flavors and ingredients. Let’s dig into some recipes below:
Bun Rieu is a vibrant and flavorful Vietnamese noodle soup that’s a true testament to the culinary creativity of Vietnam.
The dish starts with a base of tomato broth, enriched with crab paste, for a deeply savory and slightly sweet flavor.
Vermicelli rice noodles provide a delicate texture, while pieces of tofu, fresh tomatoes, and sometimes minced crab or shrimp add substance.
A distinctive feature of Bun Rieu is the inclusion of airy, light crabmeat and egg “cakes” that float atop the soup.
Garnished with an abundance of fresh herbs, each bowl is a harmonious blend of tangy, savory, and fresh flavors.
13. Mi Quang
Mi Quang is a colorful and hearty noodle dish hailing from Central Vietnam, specifically from the Quang Nam Province.
This dish stands out with its turmeric-infused rice noodles, lending a vibrant yellow hue and earthy flavor.
It’s less soupy than other Vietnamese noodle dishes, served with just a splash of rich, savory broth made from pork or chicken bones.
The noodles are topped with a variety of proteins such as shrimp, chicken, pork, or quail eggs and garnished with roasted peanuts, crispy sesame rice crackers (banh trang me), and fresh herbs like mint and basil.
The dish is often finished with a drizzle of chili oil, adding a gentle heat.
Vietnamese desserts are often light and refreshing, providing a sweet end to a meal – let’s dive into some irresistible Vietnamese recipes below:
This is a Vietnamese take on the classic crème caramel.
The dessert features a rich and silky custard topped with a layer of soft caramel.
It’s often flavored with coffee or coconut, adding a unique twist to the traditional recipe.
Banh Flan is a beloved dessert in Vietnam, known for its creamy texture and decadent flavor.
15. Banh Bao Chi
These are sweet rice dumplings filled with a mixture of coconut and sesame seeds.
Steamed and served warm, they offer a chewy texture and a sweet, nutty flavor, making them a popular dessert or snack.
Looking for some drink inspiration to accompany these dishes? How about a refreshing iced coffee?
Our journey through Vietnamese recipes showcases the diversity and richness of Vietnam’s culinary landscape.
From flavorful soups to fresh rolls and from savory meat dishes to delightful desserts, Vietnamese cuisine offers a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.
Each dish tells a story of Vietnam’s cultural heritage, inviting you to explore and enjoy the vibrant world of Vietnamese cooking.
15 Of Our Favorite Vietnamese RecipesCourse: Other Recipes
- Choose a recipe from above
- Gather your ingredients
- Prepare your dish