Each country and ethnic group has its own beauty that attracts tourists from all over the world. Referring to Vietnam, a country with a diverse culture, what attracts visitors cannot fail to mention its cuisine. Vietnamese cuisine is always appreciated. Whether it’s street food or in a fancy restaurant. Culinary experts and travel magazines have given many compliments to Vietnamese dishes. Here are the top Vietnamese dishes when you come to this country.
Let’s discover the top 3 Vietnamese dishes that make many people fall in love in this beautiful country!
PHO – Topping the list of Vietnamese cuisine
Pho is a traditional Vietnamese dish, originating from Nam Dinh, Hanoi. As one of the few representatives who caught the eye of major magazines. With a rich flavor that blends sweet and salty bone broth, chewy noodles, fresh and firm beef. Pho is served hot and fragrant. Suitable for any meal of the day. There is nothing better than a bowl of pho in the morning.
1. Main ingredients
The main ingredients of pho are pho noodles and broth. Unlike the North, people in the South often call broth. Pho is served with thinly sliced beef or chicken. There are also spices such as soy sauce, pepper, lemon, fish sauce, chili, etc. These spices are added depending on the preferences of the user. Pho is often used to make breakfast or dinner dishes. However, there are also service days so that diners can enjoy all the time.
Traditionally made from rice, coated in sheets and then cut into fibers. Depending on the region, the shape of pho is also slightly different. In the South, the noodles will be thinner and smaller than in the North. In contrast, noodles in the North will be denser and larger.
Pho is always enjoyed while still hot. A good bowl of pho or not depends a lot on the skill of the cook. The most important of which is the broth.
The broth for pho is usually a broth made from beef and pork bones. It also comes with a variety of seasonings including cinnamon, anise, roasted ginger, cardamom,… The meat used for pho is beef or chicken. Beef of all kinds: corn meat undercooked or fully cooked. For chicken, it can be breast, back, or wing depending on the preference of each diner.
Pho is served with a plate of herbs such as onions, bean sprouts, basil, perilla, etc. In which coriander is the typical leaf of pho. Pho is usually beef noodle soup or chicken noodle soup. However, there are also many other variations such as pho with wine sauce, mixed pho, fried pho,…
2. Pho of the regions
Nowadays, pho has many different cooking methods and flavors. In Vietnam, there are many different names to distinguish: Pho North, Pho Hue (Central pho), and Saigon Pho (Southern pho).
Usually, pho in the North has a typical salty taste. While Southern Pho is sweet and rich in vegetables.
- Two representatives are Pho Hanoi and Nam Dinh. In Pho, the broth is simmered from beef bone broth: lump bone, tube bone, and collarbone. Used for pho can be beef or chicken. Pho Hanoi must be thin and chewy, the seasoning of pho is scallions, pepper, dipping sauce, and lime leaves. Nam Dinh noodle soup is a special kind of noodle soup, with small and soft fibers, different from other regions.
- Beef is thinly sliced, pounded, soaked in water, and picked up at the right time so that when eaten, it will be soft but still retain the freshness of the meat.
Central Pho (Bun bo Hue)
- Bun bo is one of Hue’s specialties, although this dish is popular in all three regions of Vietnam and overseas Vietnamese. In Hue, this dish is simply called “bun bo” or more specifically “bun bo with pork”.
- Other localities call it “Bun Bo Hue”, “original Bun Bo Hue” to indicate the origin of this dish. The dish has the main ingredients of vermicelli, beef, pork rolls, with a distinctive red broth and lemongrass and shrimp flavor.
- Sometimes the bowl of vermicelli is also added with rare beef, crab cakes, and other ingredients depending on the preferences of the cook.
- In the broth of vermicelli, Hue people often add a little shrimp paste. People often add a little chili powder and spices to the vermicelli and eat it with raw vegetables including bean sprouts, herbs, lettuce, celery, and young banana tree trunks.
- Beef used in pho depends on the preferences of the diners. There is also a cup of fatty broth (fatty broth of beef bones) set aside if guests wish. Southern pho is usually sold with sweet dipping sauce (black soy sauce), chili sauce and lemon, fresh chili, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts (boiled or eaten raw), thinly sliced purple onion (can be eaten raw) soaked in vinegar.
- Broth (Nuoc Leo) usually does not have MSG like Hanoi. The broth is a bit cloudy. Not as clear as Pho Bac, sometimes sweeter, fatter than cooked with chicken bones. Alternatively, you can add dried squid or grilled onions and grilled ginger.
3. Review of Vietnamese Pho
- Pho is like a business card of Vietnam. Pho is mentioned many times in famous culinary newspapers. Pho Viet also goes around five continents and four pools. Pho is available in UK, France, Japan, Singapore, USA, Korea, … are warmly received by diners.
- Pho has brought Vietnam countless titles, big and small, in the top of the best specialty dishes, the most favorite Vietnamese food, a must-try dish when coming to Vietnam. Pho has proven its appeal, the fullness of flavor has become a passport for Vietnam.
Banh mi – Top 2 in the list of Vietnamese cuisine
- In second place in the list of the top delicious dishes in Vietnam, it is impossible not to mention Banh mi. Dubbed the sandwich of Vietnam. Banh mi is on the top of the best street food on the planet that you must try once.
- Whenever coming to Vietnam, diners will encounter “many” sidewalk shops, trolleys, shops,… serving this dish. With its fast, compact and convenient nature, serving the needs of the people, Banh mi becomes the most popular dish in Vietnam easily. Now, not only Vietnam but even international friends are impressed by this dish.
1. Main ingredients
Banh mi has only 2 basic ingredients, the crust, and the filling.
- The crust
The cake is thin, crispy, usually golden in color (not too dark, just a little yellow), and slightly cracked.
Banh mi is a little longer than the hand, slightly tapered at the ends.
- The filling
The filling is extremely diverse, from meat, vegetables, spices to sauces as you like, the filling can be changed. Typical for the filling:
- Pork, beef, chicken, egg, sausage,…
- Cucumber, herbs (coriander), pickles,…
- Sauce: chili sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise,…
2. 5 typical banh mi
Depending on the ingredients inside, the name will be different:
- Meat bread: is the most popular Banh mi in Saigon. The seller cuts lengthwise and stuffs meat, patties, butter, pate, ham, coriander, vegetables, pickles, chili.
- Pan bread: includes crispy bread without filling. When eating, it will be served with a pan or cast iron tray full of pate, steak, omelet, etc.
- Omelette Bread: This is a type of omelet sandwich. Eggs are fried on a small cast iron pan to sharp edges, half raw, half-cooked to get the yolk, served with pickles, soy sauce, chili sauce… Due to the simple and quick processing, this dish is in most bakeries.
- Shumai bread: is a type of bread with shumai (pork in tomato sauce). Saigon’s shumai bread often has a sweet taste that is different from Da Lat’s shumai bread, which is spicy. In Da Lat, the cake has a slightly thicker crust. They will serve with a bowl of smoky shumai, a thick sauce topped with shumai balls, and grilled pork, pork skin.
- Fish cake bread: is a type of fish cake bread. This dish is increasingly popular in Saigon. In Nha Trang, the cake is very thin and does not use butter.
3. Reviews of Banh mi
- According to some American culinary newspapers, Vietnamese banh mi is a dish with contrasting flavors and characteristics: crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, the filling is both rich and spicy. A dish will help you go through the culinary space by taste.
- Not only famous in the country but Vietnamese bread is also loved in many countries around the world. On March 24, 2011, the word “Banh mi” was added to the Oxford dictionary and placed at the top of the world’s best sandwiches (source: wikipedia).
- In addition, National Geographic magazine once praised Vietnamese bread as one of the 11 best street foods. In particular, in 2018, Banh mi Hoi An was recognized by CNN as “World Bread King”. And recently, on March 24, 2020, Vietnamese bread continued to be honored when it was present on the Google homepage interface in more than 10 countries.
Bun Cha – Top 3 in the list of Vietnamese cuisine.
“Bun Cha” is the last name on the list of Vietnamese cuisine. If bread or pho has been a brand name Vietnamese food for a long time, then Bun Cha is a new member of this list. It is no coincidence that I refer to Bun Cha as a culinary representative of Vietnam. During former US President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam in 2016, he personally entered a popular restaurant, enjoyed Bun Cha like a connoisseur of Vietnam, and constantly appreciated this dish.
Like pho, Bun Cha originates from the North of Vietnam. Is the oldest live dish in the capital, simple but leaves a deep impression. And later, the Bun Cha restaurant was honored to bear the name of this president.
1. Main ingredients of Bun Cha
Bun Cha has only 3 main ingredients: vermicelli, cha, and dipping sauce.
- It is around soft, white fibrous food. Made from glutinous rice starch, threaded through a mold, and boiled through the boiling water.
- Vermicelli is presented separately, not directly in the bowl.
- Mostly Cha vien or Cha mieng. Depending on food preferences, sometimes diners only choose one of two dishes.
- Cha vien is made from minced pork shoulder. Then squeeze the ball, marinate it with salt, pepper, fish sauce, sugar, and finely minced dried onion.
- Cha mieng usually uses armpit meat or pork belly (bacon) thinly sliced and marinated in spices like spring rolls. Both types of spring rolls are grilled directly on the charcoal. Therefore, it has its own distinctive flavor.
- Sour, spicy, salty, and sweet fish sauce served with coriander and pickles. Enjoy while still hot, set aside in a bowl.
2. Variations of Bun Cha and how to enjoy it in the right way for Hanoians.
Bun Cha is similar to the grilled meat vermicelli of the Central and the South. Natural fish sauce has a lighter taste.
Bun Cha is diverse with many side dishes such as spring rolls, Betel leaf wrapped pork balls, pork bologna,… The variety of forms of rolls makes the dish even more attractive, with special dishes hard-to-see features.
How to enjoy it?
- Method 1: Vermicelli and dipping sauce are served separately. A separate plate of vermicelli is served with a bowl of hot dipping sauce. Cha can be cut directly into the dipping sauce, or set aside. When eating, diners will pick up vermicelli, spring rolls, vegetables and then dip them into the dipping sauce to enjoy.
- Method 2: It is a variation in the way of eating of Hanoians. Vermicelli, Cha, vegetables are served in a bowl, and the dipping sauce is scooped into the bowl. Like how to eat pho or other types of vermicelli.
3. Review of Bun Cha Vietnamese
Bun Cha was voted as the best dish of summer 2012 on CNN. Bun Cha made the first impression on the world. In 2014, this dish once again entered the list of 10 most popular street foods on National Geographic magazine (documentary television system produced by the National Geographic Society of the United States).
Do not stop there. In 2016, when US President Obama and the late famous chef Anthony Bourdain came to dine at Bun Cha Huong Lien at 24 Le Van Huu, Hanoi was reported by many foreign media such as Telegraph, Dailymail, Munchies, CNN,… reported.
Thanks to that, with its delicious and distinctive flavor, it has made an impression on international friends. Vietnamese food has excellently recorded its name at the top of world culinary lists.
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