Vietnam Food Travel Guide
Vietnam food favorites are popular all over the world but you need to visit Vietnam to experience the most authentic tastes and flavors. Popular dishes like Pho and Bun Bo Hue are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine.
Top Vietnam Food Experiences
- Wake up early and eat Pho with Vietnmamese locals.
- Take a Hanoi steet food tour.
- Slurp down Bun Bo Hue in the imperial city of Hue.
- Eat the best Banh Mi in Hoi An.
- Embrace rice noodles by eating Mi Quang in Da Nang.
- Try Banh Xeo in Central Vietnam or Saigon.
- Indulge in bean to bar Chocolate at Marou Chocolate.
- Drink craft Beer brewed with local ingredients.
- End your day with a decadent cup of Egg Coffee.
Top Vietnam Posts
Vietnam Pro Tips
- When to Visit: With so many microclimates, Vietnam's weather varies by region. For optimal conditions, we recommend visiting September through October or March through June.
- Visa Requirements: Visas, though inexpensive, are required for most visitors of Vietnam. Click here to secure a visa.
- Currency: Dong (₫) - Check the current exchange rate here.
- Tipping: Not Necessary
- How to Say Cheers: Một, hai, ba, vô! (Vô is pronounced yo.)
- Dressing for Dinner: You can eat most meals while wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but you'll want to dress up for more formal eating experiences. Check dress requirements if you decide to eat at a fine dining establishment.
- Connectivity: If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a SIM card at Viettel, Vinaphone or Mobiphone. Click here if you want to arrange a Sim card before you arrive.
- Don't Forget: Bring an international plug adaptor so you can charge your phones, computers and other technology. However, most outlets in Vietnam, while carrying 220 voltage, accept European and American sockets. (Many accept UK standard too but that's less common.)
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More About Food Travel in Vietnam
Many think of Vietnam as a small nation on the other side of the world. Those people are only half correct since, in reality, Vietnam is a universe unto itself, especially when it comes to food.
Start with Pho, Vietnam’s greatest important and the most popular breakfast of the day in places like Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi. The French and Chinese influenced Pho but the Vietnamese perfected it. Pho is available all over the nation and it’s wonderful.
Vietnam is a long, thin nation with 90 million people buzzing through the streets. History speaks of North and South but, if you include Central, Vietnam really has three distinct regions. Each region has great cuisine from Bun Cha in Hanoi (North), Mi Quang in Da Nang (Central) and Bun Rieu Cua in Saigon (South).
Vietnam is emerging in today's interconnected world. The country is harnessing its people, resources and agriculture to create a new gastronomic presence with artisan products like beer, coffee and chocolate.
Many people come to Vietnam once in their lifetimes but, for others like us, Vietnam is a lifetime obsession that keeps drawing us back with new items to taste and discover. We hope it draws you back too.
Due to its front-edge location in the Southeast Asia time zone, great meals in Vietnam begin as early as 6am. You can enjoy rich savory Pho in the North or sweeter more complex Pho in the South - both are great. Bun Bo and Mi Quang are popular for breakfast in Central Vietnam.
Banh Mi, Vietnam’s version of the subamarine sandwich, is popular all over the nation. You can find the best banh mi sandwiches in frenetic Saigon and the classic yellow town of Hoi An.
Vietnam’s long coast along the South China Sea makes the country a seafood center. Fresh blue tiger prawns abound throughout the country, markets overflow with fresh bonito tuna and crabs of all sizes are everywhere.
The Vietnamese also love to grill (nướng) pork. Be sure to taste classic dishes Bún Chả (grilled pork patties and loin with rice vermicelli and greens) in Hanoi and Bún Thịt Nướng (grilled pork chop and vermicelli) all over the country.
It’s not unusual to smell the sweet frangrance of grilled meats from streetside stands throughout the nation. When you do, pull out a tiny plastic chair and join the party.
The Vietnamese love coffee and it’s not unusual to find multiple coffeeshops on any city block. In fact, Vietnam is the second largest coffee bean producer in the world.
Many Vietnamese drink Cà Phê Sữa Đá (iced Vietnamese coffee) made from robusta beans and mixed with a little condensed milk. But, in keeping with world coffee trends, a new wave of coffee connoisseurs are roasting local and international arabica beans of the highest quality in bigger cities.
The Vietnamese also make interesting coffee variations including egg coffee in Hanoi and salt coffee in Hue. Be sure to try both for dessert.
The country has embraced the craft beer revolution. A vanguard of small breweries are leading the way by sourcing local ingredients like passion fruit, chocolate and lemongrass to create world class lagers and ales.
The explosive growth of Vietnam’s cities has created new innovative craft cocktail bars from Hanoi to Da Nang to Saigon. Belly up to the bar and give them a try.
In today’s Vietnam, it’s possible to find a range of accommodation from super cheap hostels to 5 star luxury hotels.
It’s also possible to find hostel rooms for a few dollars a night as well as clean, comfortable hotel rooms that include breakfast for $20 to $30 a night. Airbnb apartments are another option, especially for travelers who want to shop at markets and cook at home.
For those with the budget to splurge, Vietnam has some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world. Some are luxurious beachside resorts while others are classic hotels dating back to the French Colonial Period.
Flying within Vietnam is typically cheap and fast. The country also has comfortable trains that run straight down the coast.
Bus travel is a cheap option for extreme budget travelers. Check prices as buses are not always that much less than trains or planes.
Most locals travel within cities by motorbike. Consider renting one for yourself but beware that traffic can be extreme. If you go this route, be sure to check and make sure that your travel insurance will cover you for this type of activity. As for us, we typically walk or take Grab cars to get around Vietnam cities.