Vietnam is a food lover’s paradise, with a vibrant culinary scene showcasing the country’s rich traditions and fresh, local ingredients. Whether exploring bustling markets or cozy restaurants, the flavors of Vietnamese food offer an adventure at every turn. Here are 15 iconic dishes you don’t want to miss during your travels. 

Start your day with a steaming bowl of pho, Vietnam’s iconic noodle soup. Savor the balance of savory broth, rice noodles, and herbs. Be sure to sample spring rolls too—both the crisp fried and tender fresh varieties.

Best Vietnamese Food You Need To Try

1. Pho

Pho is not just a dish; it’s a culinary experience making it one of the best Vietnamese foods. As one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes, Pho is a comforting bowl of noodle soup, often enjoyed as a hearty breakfast or a fulfilling meal any time of the day. 

When you’re exploring places to visit in Vietnam, make sure to stop by Ban Xeo 46A, renowned for its authentic flavors. This simple yet flavorful dish, with its rich broth, tender meat, and fresh herbs, truly represents the heart of Vietnamese cuisine.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Hong Hoai’s Restaurant, Tung’s Kitchen, ESSENCE Restaurant

2. Cha Ca

Sampling Cha Ca should be on your list of things to do in Vietnam. This dish is a standout often mentioned alongside the best Vietnamese food. It’s one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes for a reason. 

Imagine tender fish grilled to perfection, seasoned with turmeric and dill, then served over noodles. It’s a flavour experience you won’t forget. For a taste of tradition, head to Bun Cha Huong Lien, where this dish is a menu star. It’s a simple yet unforgettable meal that defines the essence of Vietnamese cuisine.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Bun Cha Huong Lien, Ca Cha La Vong, Ca Cha Thang Long

3. Cao Lau

Cao Lau is a must-try Vietnamese food that stands out, especially in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a bowl full of unique flavours and textures, combining thick rice noodles, juicy pork, and crisp greens topped with crunchy croutons. 

While exploring popular Vietnamese food, Cao Lau is a culinary treasure not to be missed. As you list things to do in Ninh Binh, make sure to add tasting this local delight to your itinerary. It’s as satisfying as the famed Bun Cha Huong Lien and truly a highlight of Vietnamese cuisine.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Quan Cao Lau Thanh

4. Banh Xeo

Rice plays a starring role in many Vietnamese specialties. Try com tam, a fragrant rice dish mixed with grilled meat and fish sauce. Or go for the classic bánh mì sandwich, piled high with meat and pickled vegetables. 

Seafood shines on Vietnamese plates. Indulge in ca kho to, a claypot catfish stew simmered in coconut milk. Or slurp down hot pot-style bo kho, featuring beef or seafood in a fragrant broth. 

Sweets satisfy any craving, too. Banana fritters and sticky rice with mango are cooling treats. And what visit is complete without trying che, Vietnamese iced coffee, or tea?

From street stalls to sit-down restaurants, the flavors of Vietnam await. Bon appétit – you’ll be coming back for seconds of this tasty cuisine!

Banh Xeo is a must-try Vietnamese food, perfect for anyone exploring the country’s culinary delights. This popular Vietnamese food is a crispy, savoury pancake, filled with

shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and herbs. The name Banh Xeo literally means “sizzling pancake” named after the sound it makes when poured into the hot skillet. 

Often enjoyed in the charming streets of Hoi An it’s a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re experiencing Vietnam’s nightlife or a quiet evening, Banh Xeo adds a delicious touch to your Vietnamese journey.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Banh Xeo 46A, Banh Xeo Ba Duong

5. Goi Cuon

Goi Cuon, also known as Vietnamese spring rolls, is a must-try Vietnamese food that perfectly captures the essence of the country’s cuisine. These rolls are a popular Vietnamese food, loved for their fresh ingredients like shrimp, herbs, and vermicelli, all wrapped in rice paper. 

They’re light yet flavorful, and often served with a zesty dipping sauce. Goi Cuon is especially enjoyed during festivals in Vietnam, bringing a sense of celebration to the table with every bite. Simple, healthy, and delicious, they are a true taste of Vietnam.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Mau Pork Roll, Bep Cuon Da Nang

6. Nem Ran

Nem Ran often called spring rolls stands out as a must-try Vietnamese food. It’s a popular Vietnamese food that you’ll find on every street corner, especially if you visit Vietnam in October when the weather is just right for enjoying street food. 

These crispy rolls are packed with a mix of meats and vegetables, all wrapped in a thin, crunchy layer that’s golden after frying. Dipped in a tangy sauce, they’re the perfect snack to munch on while exploring the local cuisine.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Banh Cuon Gia Truyen

7. Ga Tan

Ga Tan, a comforting and nourishing soup, stands out as one of the best Vietnamese food experiences. This dish, featuring tender, slow-cooked chicken in a rich, aromatic broth, is a staple in the array of most popular Vietnamese dishes. 

Renowned for its simplicity yet profound flavours, Ga Tan warms the soul and delights the palate. Its gentle blend of herbs and spices showcases the culinary artistry of Vietnam, making it a must-try for anyone exploring the country’s diverse and vibrant food scene.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Mandarine Restaurant, Hoang Yen Vietnamese Chinese

8. Bun Bo Nam Bo

Bun Bo Nam Bo is among the most popular Vietnamese dishes and truly one of the best Vietnamese foods you can enjoy. Imagine tender beef slices, soft noodles, fresh herbs, crunchy peanuts, and a splash of tangy sauce in one bowl. 

It’s a perfect meal for anyone visiting as it’s hearty yet refreshing. This dish is a simple pleasure echoing the rich culture of Vietnam with every bite. It’s a must-try for food lovers looking to experience authentic local flavours.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Bach Phuong

9. Hoa Qua Dam

Hoa Qua Dam, a delightful mix of fresh fruits soaked in sweetened coconut milk, stands out as one of the best Vietnamese food options, especially for vegetarians. This simple yet delicious dessert captures the essence of Vietnamese food vegetarian style, blending the country’s bountiful produce with a hint of sweetness. 

It’s a common find in Indian restaurants in Vietnam, where it’s loved for its refreshing taste. Hoa Qua Dam is a testament to the variety and adaptability of Vietnamese food vegetarian choices offering a sweet end to any meal.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Thuy Ta Dam Sen Restaurant

10. Ca Phe Trung

Ca Phe Trung, or Vietnamese egg coffee is a unique and delightful experience, often hailed as some of the best Vietnamese food for its distinctive taste. Imagine a cup of strong, aromatic coffee topped with a creamy, frothy layer made from whipped egg yolks and condensed milk.

This creates a rich, smooth texture that perfectly balances the bitterness of the coffee. It’s like a dessert and a coffee rolled into one, offering a sweet, indulgent moment that’s both surprising and deeply satisfying a true testament to Vietnam’s innovative culinary spirit.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Giang Cafe

11. Ga Nuong

Ga Nuong, a simple yet delicious grilled chicken dish, stands out as one of the best Vietnamese foods. It’s all about the perfect blend of spices and the smoky flavor from the grill that makes every bite memorable.

The chicken is marinated in a mix of local herbs and spices and then grilled to juicy perfection. Served with rice or noodles and a side of fresh vegetables Ga Nuong offers a comforting and satisfying meal. 

Its delightful taste and aroma make it a favorite among both locals and visitors, embodying the essence of Vietnamese cuisine.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Chan Ga Nuong Hai Coi12.

12. Ca Tim Kho To

It’s a savoury dish featuring eggplant cooked in a clay pot which infuses it with incredible depth of flavor. This vegetarian masterpiece combines soft, melt-in-your-mouth eggplant with a rich, sweet, and salty sauce, often topped with spring onions for a fresh touch.

As a vegetarian option in Vietnamese cuisine, it showcases how Vietnamese food vegetarian dishes can be just as satisfying and flavourful as their meat-based counterparts making it a must-try for food lovers.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Dong Hoa Xuan Restaurant

13. Banh Ghoi

Imagine a crispy pastry outside, similar to a mini pie, filled with a mix of ground meat, mushrooms, and glass noodles- That’s Banh Ghoi for you. When you bite into Banh Ghoi, you get a crunch that leads to a burst of warm savoury flavours. 

It’s usually served with a side of fresh lettuce and herbs, adding a refreshing crunch. Simple, yet full of taste Banh Ghoi is a perfect example of the simple pleasures of Vietnamese cuisine that anyone, no matter where they’re from, can enjoy.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Firefly Hoi An

14. Chao

Chao is a comforting rice porridge that’s a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, loved for its simplicity and heartiness. It’s a gentle dish, perfect for when you need something soothing, made with rice simmered until it’s soft and creamy. 

Often it’s served with chicken, fish, or just plain with a sprinkle of savory seasonings. This humble bowl is a warm hug for your stomach, making it one of the best Vietnamese foods for both breakfast and a light meal. It’s the kind of food that feels like home, filling and satisfying in its plainness.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Chao Ga Ba My

15. Bun Cha:

It’s a simple yet delicious meal consisting of grilled pork served over a bed of fresh rice noodles. The pork is marinated in a blend of garlic, sugar, and fish sauce, then grilled to perfection creating a smoky and sweet flavour.

Alongside you’ll find a plate of fresh herbs and a bowl of tangy dipping sauce. This combination of soft noodles, flavourful meat, and fresh greens create a delightful harmony of tastes and textures, making Bun Cha a favorite for locals and visitors alike.

Best Restaurants Serving This: Bun Cha Dac Kim, Bun Cha Hanoi