Vietnamese foods like pho
, bánh mì
, and iced coffee
may be the best known in America, but there are plenty of other items that deserve our attention too! We reached out to a friend who grew up in Vietnam to get the scoop on some tasty alternatives. She helped us put together this recommended list of dishes to order (or make) the next time you’re craving Vietnamese food.
Bún Bò Huế (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup):
A classic dish from the central Vietnam city of Hue, this beef soup can be as spicy or as mild as you’d like. Unlike pho, which can be quite bland without the addition of herbs and sauces, this soup is known for its combination of sweet, spicy, and salty flavors with an overtone of lemongrass. Order a steaming bowl of Bún Bò Huế on a chilly day, and ask for some extra sautéed chili if you really want to liven up your palate. (via The Woks of Life
Mì Quảng (Noodle Soup):
Widely served at Vietnamese restaurants, this melange of noodles, herbs, shrimp, and fried pork rinds really tastes best if homemade. Although you can pick up an order any night of the week, this dish is generally served for special occasions. (via My Healthy Dish
Bò Lúc Lắc (Vietnamese Shaking Beef):
A simple, French-Vietnamese recipe, the dish consists of wok-seared sweet-and-savory beef, sliced tomatoes, pickled onions, and a tangy lime dipping sauce. It's a perfect choice if you're feeling indecisive about your order or just want an easy, refreshing meal that can be shared with friends. (via Half Baked Harvest
Canh Chua Cá (Tomato-and-Pineapple-Infused Fish Soup):
Indigenous to the Mekon Delta region of southern Vietnam, this dish is typically made with catfish. However, there are variations that utilize a variety of fatty fish heads, so don't be surprised if your bowl doesn't contain catfish. Delicate and clean, this soup is essentially a marinade made from tamarind, pineapple, and tomato, with some vegetables tossed in for good measure. Slightly sour due to the tamarind and pineapple, it's still pleasant rather than being so sour you have to pucker your lips.
(via Ang Sarap
Cá Kho Tộ (Vietnamese Braised Fish in Clay Pot):
Part of the fun of this meal is its presentation. Often cooked in a brown clay pot to retain heat and caramelize the sauce, this dish is a bit like the Vietnamese version of a Korean hot pot. Typically catfish is used, but again, there's a chance that you’ll find your plate filled with another kind of high-fat-content fish that lends itself to braising. Sometimes, you’ll even see this dish made with pork belly.
(via The Ravenous Couple
Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Crepes):
Similar to a French crepe, this is a savory pancake named for its tendency to sizzle when the batter hits the skillet. Made of rice flour, water, and turmeric powder, each crepe is stuffed with slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, diced green onion, and bean sprouts. (via From the Larder
Rau Muống Xào Mắm Ruốc Tôm (Water Spinach Salad):
Water spinach is a favorite vegetable in Vietnam. Rapidly growing in most aquatic environments, it's easy to harvest and incredibly nutritious (it has a similar nutritional value to spinach). Originally eaten by farmers, rau muống
has evolved to be featured in a variety of ways throughout Vietnamese cuisine. One of the most popular methods is to simply stir-fry it with garlic and serve it as a side dish. If you need some greens in your life, order a side of water spinach salad. It will be a perfect complement to almost any rice or noodle dish. (via The Ravenous Couple
Tôm Rang Muối (Salt and Pepper Shrimp):
If you haven’t tried it yet, shrimp with the heads on is the most succulent way to enjoy these crustaceans. Once they’re dusted in salt and flour and fried Vietnamese-style, they become otherworldly delicious. (via morestomach
Bún Bò Huế (Spicy Beef & Pork Noodle Soup):
This soup is a hidden Vietnamese gem that you don’t want to miss. A cousin of pho, it has a few curveball ingredients (congealed pork blood and shrimp paste) that have made it less readily adaptable — but no less tasty. The spicy soup pairs tender slices of beef and pork with a host of fresh herbs. When you order this in a restaurant, you may get lucky and receive the trademark banana blossoms that belong in this dish. (via Hungry Huy
Chè Chuối (Banana Tapioca Pudding): Chè
is a word for any Vietnamese sweet soup, beverage, or pudding, while chuối
means bananas. Unlike Western-style tapioca puddings, the use of coconut milk gives it a thinner, soup-like texture. Enjoy it both hot and cold. (via Cooking the Globe
Do you know any other mouthwatering Vietnamese dishes? Tag us in a photo of them on Instagram @BritandCo!