It’s the perfect time to start planning your vacation. What if we went to Vietnam, a country known for The Bay of Along, the hospitality of its people and especially its food? But before you get on board, a little quiz: what do you know about Vietnamese gastronomy besides phở, nems and ben? That’s what I thought! It doesn’t matter, We offer you a short stopover to discover the diversity and originality of Vietnamese street food!
The Bánh Xèo intrigues naturally because of its shades of yellow. It is very often unknown to tourists while it is widespread in Vietnam, whether in restaurants or small street stalls.
Basically, it’s the Vietnamese version of a salted pancake. But in fact, it’s much more than that: the patty is not made from eggs, but rice flour that is fried on the outside to obtain this golden and crispy texture. Inside the patty, the filling consists of beef, lots of soy, ognons and possibly mung beans, with one last surprise to which you have to get used to, shrimp with their shell!
The Xeo is always accompanied by a salad leaf, different herbs and of course nước mắm, Vietnamese fish sauce. Once at the table, the tradition is that we cut the Bunh Xèo into small pieces and then eat them coated with salad leaves.
It is a dish that will travel with you, since its taste varies by region! For example in Huê, it is even a local specialty, occasionally renowned for The City of Bunh Khoi, of which you can admire the 50 shades of yellow above. Enjoy your meal!
The bánh bèo is a dish consisting of several small patties made from rice flour. They are steamed in small moulds in the shape of cups. These patties are usually covered with crumbled shrimp, but the filling varies by region; in any case, they are always covered with nước mắm. It is better to taste this dish still warm and quickly enough to enjoy the fondant of the patties.
The bánh bèo is delicious, but also aesthetic: the plate presents itself as a pyramid of patties, left in their cup or not, it still depends on the regions!
One of the many examples of French influence on Vietnamese gastronomy is the Bánh mi. “Bánh Mì” is a term that originally refers to the Vietnamese-style baguette – produced by a clever mixture of rice and wheat flour – but has become the generic term for any type of Vietnamese sandwich.
The Bánh Mì as delicious as cheap (less than 1 euro) and you’ll find stands of Bánh Mì really everywhere! There are many varieties of bunh m, but the main ingredients are grated carrots, coriander and other herbs, cucumber, and sauce (mayonnaise, spicy, soy or Maggi). That’s why the taste spectrum of the bunh can vary enormously from salty to sweet, through spice.
There are vegetarian sandwiches (bunh m-chay) but there is almost systematically meat (bunh m thịt): Vietnamese pâté, lay pork belly, pork sausage, or strips of dried meat, there is something for everyone! And those who don’t want to choose will enjoy the “special combo”) “bunh” đặc’s own! It’s even possible to eat a morning bunh, with fried eggs, soy sauce or Maggi and cucumber (bunh me trứng a la) if you want to try a popular Vietnamese breakfast!
Here is a dessert that often frightens dilettantes because of its strange texture and its many colors. However, the French often know the ‘chè ba màu’ (drink in three colors) without knowing that this dessert is part of the long line of chè!
There are an infinite number of varieties of oak , which can be found in soup or drink – with mung beans, jelly, coconut milk, exotic fruits, rice paste and tapioca balls as the main ingredients. The oak is therefore a mixture of these different ingredients for a very original taste, and has a liquid or gelatinous form, even solid.
The oak can be eaten cold or hot, like this succulent chè chui above (with banana and balls of tapioca)! You will find many stalls to take away, which you will eat in a makeshift container, often a small plastic bag!
Cà Phê Sữa Đá
Vietnamese drink their hot coffee, but mostly cold! Coffee has been a national pride since it was introduced to Vietnam by French colonizers at the end of the 19th century. Vietnam is now the world’s largest exporter of robusta and itself a major consumer of coffee. This is how the cà phê sữa (literally “latte with ice cubes”) became Vietnam’s flagship drink.
To make an iced coffee, the principle is very simple: we filter Vietnamese coffee seeds that are mixed with sweetened condensed milk before pouring everything into a cup filled with ice cubes. Fast, cheap (about 1 euro), and your taste buds will thank you. To be consumed after your long walks!
And of course, try the phở!
No need to advertise the famous Tonkinese soup from Nam Định, southeast of Hà Nội. The most common are phở gà (chicken) and phở (beef) and are always served with soy, lemon, hot sauce and possibly doughnuts in stick to dip in the broth.
Just know that Vietnamese eat phở at any time of the day, and often at breakfast!
The list is obviously not exhaustive, given the huge range of Vietnamese dishes. For the curious, I could also have told you about the bunh cuon, tấm in b’nh bao for example, but I’d rather let you discover all these little pleasures for yourself! But before I leave you, I’ll explain why there’s the word “bunh” in many Vietnamese dishes. “Benh” literally means “cake” or “bread” but must be taken in the broadest sense of the word, since it usually refers to anything that can be cooked from flour (noodles, dumplings, cookies…). And the word that follows serves to define this “cake”!