Food Facts: Vietnam

Maeve Wadsworth

By Maeve Wadsworth
23 May 2017

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Food frames travelling, marketing each point set to rest, perceive and nourish. From the moment we taste something new, to the time we arrive home and tell everyone they “…have to try this!” We’ve kicked off on a food journey, and there’s no better place to try new food than Vietnam. One of the best things about Vietnam is the incredible street food; however a common anxiety is the fear of food poisoning.

It’s a common misconception that street food will be sole cause for an upset tummy, resulting in discomfort and annoyance that can interrupt and ruin a day’s sightseeing. However, street food is the safest bet for fresh cuisine. A good rule of thumb is to follow where the locals eat. A dingy little food cart that serves noodles from a communal pot but is overflowing with customers and bustling with noise, is much more trustworthy than an expensive make shift Western restaurant in the main tourist district!

Street food is so indicative of local delicacies, how foods are traditionally cooked and cheap-cheap in price! It’s a no-brainer you’ll have your best food experiences for $2 from a little cart on the side of a market street. If you are a foodie, it’s important to note each city’s delicacies so you can scribble them on the top of your edible bucket list hop-on a tuk-tuk and head off to the best joint in town!

The Classic: Pho

The simplicity of a hot noodle soup is comforting and nourishing, and the Vietnamese have perfected the rice noodle, beef broth potion that we call pho, pronounced fu(r)h. Again, follow the local clusters. The best pho I ever had was in Hanoi, an overcrowded soup kitchen that had so little room that we had to sit in little stools in the connected laundry. Some say unorthodox, others say quirky and authentic!

The Obvious: Banh Mi Pork Rolls

A delicious bi-product of the French colonisation that is growing ever trendier in the modern day food court. Banh Mi is a fusion of traditional Vietnamese ingredients like chilli, pickled carrot, Coriander and Daikon (radish) within a crunchy French baguette, spread with smooth pâté, cold meats, mayonnaise and a dash of Maggi sauce! Every bite is as lively as a lion dance on your tongue, and the marriage of French delicacies and Vietnamese produce is magic.

The Hidden Gem: Cao Lau

Found in the food markets lining Hoi An’s enchanting central canal, Cao Lau has a taste and texture you’ll never forget. A cluster of chewy noodles that compliment a crispy crackling and pork, the dish is mixed with fresh bean sprouts and greens to create a balance that tantalises the taste buds. But the real magic is found in the sauce, legend has it that Cao Lau can only be made from the water from the ancient wells hidden in the town, making it a special and unique artefact in the stunning yellow city that is Hoi An.

The Refreshment: Iced Coffee

There’s something cheeky, addictive and enchanting about the simplicity of Vietnamese iced coffee. The game changing ingredient being condensed milk, I found myself having three a day. The sensory appeal extends as you watch the French style filter drizzle the liquid down into your glass, amid the hustle and bustle of cities such as Saigon it can be a nice time out to sit down on a fold up chair on a busy street corner and sip one of the great caffeine wonders of the world while watching the organised chaos buzzing around you.

Busabout’s Vietnam Adventure starts in Hanoi and finishes in Ho Chi Minh City. Link it with our Cambodia Adventure!