It has been exactly two years since I have been to Vietnam now, and I am missing the country. I love it. If you follow me already, you would know my love for this country which always has my heart. However, I need to write about the fantastic street food culture they have.
Before I started, I ended up watching a ton of Youtube Videos - especially from this Youtuber, The Food Ranger. Before heading to Vietnam, I was already in awe of the variety of street food available. But only after I was in Vietnam, I realised how vast it is.
Food in Vietnam is incredible. It just is so flavourful.
One of the best things is that the food is exceptionally cheap. It is pretty reasonably priced, and it is catered to all kinds of people. Vegetarian, Non-Vegetarians & Vegans. Vietnam has a lot of Buddhist population who eat vegetarian food. Hence they do have a lot of vegetarian street food culture as well.
Below is a list of my favourite Street Food from Vietnam and which is a must - must try.
Banh Mi: Banh Mi is like a subway sandwich - just juicier and flavourful. It is incredible in taste. You get a lot of variety in Banh Mi, and for vegetarians, it is Tofu. The most basic substitute for vegetarians is Tofu. I had Bahn Mi Sandwiches a lot of times until I was satiated.
Rice Spring Rolls: This one is my personal favourite. Some grees, pork, shrimp, topped with a homemade sauce and wrapped in thin rice paper. It is just brilliant how they craft this spring roll. The spring roll is crunchy and quite different from the usual spring rolls found in India.
They have it raw as I described above they also shallow fry the same - which are similar to our regular spring rolls. I love both of them. But I would any day prefer the raw spring roll with a lot more greens.
Pho: Pho is the national dish of Vietnam, and you can find it anywhere and everywhere. This was also the first dish I tried as soon as I landed up in Vietnam. Although my first experience was not great, I managed to have Pho at one of the country's best places later. Pho is a clear soup along with some rice noodles. You get a variety of versions of Pho, and the flavours are endless.
Bun Cha: Yes, this is the dish made famous internationally by Obama when he had agreed to dine with Anthony Bourdain at one of the local joints. Bun Cha has a lot of elements to it. Pork patty, rice noodles, soup, greens and lots of condiments and sauces. Each bite tastes different. When they had brought over the Bun Cha for me, I assumed it was for people on the entire table - but that was not the case. The serving size was huge. Massive bowls were taking up my whole table, and I struggled to eat the entire serving. Bun Cha is quite famous in Hanoi - their capital city.
One thing I noticed about this country is that they consume a lot of greens. Raw. Fresh. So many herbs are always served with a variety of dishes. These herbs add a lot of texture and taste to the entire experience.
Crepes: Crepes here are shallow fried and served with a sauce on the side. It's pretty crunchy and has good portions of meat like pork or shrimps and vegetables like spring onion.
You can easily find all of the above across various street food joints or stalls.
Apart from this, Vietnam is big on coffee, and they have very quaint and cute coffee parlours all across the country. Their coffee is strong and one of the best that I have ever had. My favourite versions of the coffee are the original black coffee with condensed milk and some coconut iced coffee.
Vietnamese people usually do not have coffee with milk. Instead, they prefer having it with condensed milk. Hence the quantity also per cup is relatively less, more like an espresso shot. I ended up taking quite a few cups of coffee in one sitting.
Coconut coffee is coconut milk, or a scoop of coconut ice cream poured over Vietnamese black coffee. You give it a quick stir and enjoy your drink. Like me, if you love coconut, you will love Vietnamese food.
One of the unusual things that you can try is their egg coffee. Immensely popular in the Hanoi area - they serve this incredibly creamy coffee made with egg whites. Don't go by the airy, light and fluffy texture. This coffee is very heavy, and probably at the end of it, I didn't feel like consuming anything else as well. Quite a unique concept, though, I must say - I loved it.
These were the two coffees I kept on having through my two-week journey. Don't make the mistake I made - make sure that you carry back a good quantity of Vietnamese coffee back home, which lasts you for a while. I only carried back a tiny souvenir pack, and it was empty within a week. This is Something you need to do, and I am sure you will thank me later.
If you are like me and love eating and exploring new varieties of food, Vietnam is the place for you. There is so much more that I have not explored yet. Before I went to Vietnam, I would check dozens of Youtube videos. One of the Youtubers I regularly followed was The Food Ranger. He explores street food like no one else, and he has some great videos on his Youtube Channel. I would recommend checking him out.
I hope this has motivated you to take a trip to Asia and explore this beautiful culinary country. Please feel free to share your comments, thoughts and experiences with Vietnam below.
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