Learn Vietnam Food Names To Call Them Correctly When Ordering

When traveling to Vietnam, you may know the names of Vietnamese food, which are famous in the local cuisine.

Please keep reading this article to find many flavorful dishes, which you can see during your trips!

vietnamese food name

The top three famous Vietnamese food all around the country

First of all, you may wonder which is the top food in Vietnam if you do not have enough time to explore the local food.

Here, they are Pho Bo, Banh Xeo, and Banh Mi. How are they? Please keep reading!

Pho Bo (Beef noodle soup)

When mentioning food in Vietnam, it is referring to the rich cuisine imbued with the traditional identity of the nation. Each region has its own characteristics and processing methods that create its unique flavor.

Surely, Pho or Vietnamese noodle soup is the first famous dish as most people think about cuisine in Vietnam.

pho or Vietnamese noodle soup
Vietnamese noodle soup. Photo: Kasman/pixabay

Pho Hanoi is the top, considered the place of the original taste of this dish. It is a flavorful combination between the chewy flat noodles made from rice flour and the rich seasoning bone broth. And finally, it is indispensable sweet and tender beef and a little pepper to enhance the smell. All create a tasty beef noodle soup dish that will catch your feeling.

And, you may not want to miss Pho Gia Truyen at 49 Bat Dan Street, Hanoi Old Quarter.

Banh Xeo (Pancake)

Banh xeo (pancake) is a traditional dish that has existed for a long time. And it is available all over the country with an eye-catching yellow layer, which is quite similar to fried eggs, but with a slight aroma of turmeric, inside is the filling layer of shrimp or meat and bean sprouts.

banh xeo saigon
Banh Xeo Saigon. ©HueFlavor

However, there are still differences between the three regions in Vietnam.

  • Southern pancakes are known for their large shape, often fried in a large pan with plenty of ingredients in the filling. When eaten, they are chewy and slightly soft.
  • The central pancake is fried in a smaller clay mold. The dough is mixed with rice flour and water, often combined with fresh seafood such as shrimp, squid. When fried, the cooks use a lot of oil to create a crispy feeling.
  • Northern pancakes are a combination of bacon, often with onions and shiitake mushrooms served with 5 to 7 types of raw vegetables.

Banh Mi (Vietnamese Bread)

Bread is honored to be in the top 10 best street foods in the world. With a crispy outer layer, combined with an inner filling including pate, meat, sausage, sauce, and coriander, that can vary depending on the region. All ingredients blend together, creating a balanced combination.

banh mi vietnam
Tasty Banh Mi Vietnam. ©HueFlavor

In many places are still grilled Banh Mi on fiery charcoal stoves. This way adds crunchier and more flavorful. Just one bite will make you hard to resist its typical taste.

Banh mi is popular with international tourists, also a familiar dish that most Vietnamese people eat every day. And it is the pride in the cuisine of Vietnam.

Those are the top famous dishes when it comes to all over Vietnam. But to learn more about the true culinary of this country, you need to memorize the regional delicacies shared below.

In order to go deeper into Vietnamese cuisine, it is necessary to discover the unique features of dishes according to each region, the North, Centre, and South.

The typical cuisine is a combination of past and present, between natural ingredients of each region with ingenuity and know-how to create tasty dishes living with the locals.

Now we will call the names of well-known food in each region!

Food Names in South Vietnam

To discover Vietnamese food according to 3 regions, let’s first explore the typical delicacies of the Southern people.

Southern cuisine brings a feeling of generosity to the taste buds, mixed with a sweetness in using sugar.

With a favorable geographical position combined with the climate, the South is favored by nature for diverse natural products. This place is also the interference between regions and has gathered many ethnic groups to live for a long time, such as Khmer, Chinese, etc, creating a rich cuisine.

Here is the top food in South Vietnam to taste.

Cam Tam Saigon (Saigon broken rice)

Broken rice is a popular dish familiar to the people in the South, typically in Saigon (the former name of Ho Chi Minh City).

On the streets in the city, you can easily see shops selling breakfast and lunch with the sign “COM TAM”, meaning Broken Rice.

saigon broken rice
Saigon Broken Rice. @nh0kwjnkul

This dish has the main ingredient that is the hot white broken rice, when chewing, it feels very smooth, slightly tickled, very interesting.

The meat is seasoned and then grilled with charcoal until fragrant. Add a little bit of skin pie made from pork skin according to sprinkle a little more egg rolls. And finally, it is indispensable to have a small dish of Vietnamese fish sauce made with a slightly sweet taste. All create an extremely tasty and fragrant dish.

A top place to taste this dish: Com Tam Ba Nghien, 84 Dang Van Ngu Street, Ward 10, Phu Nhuan District, HCMC.

Canh Chua (Sour soup)

Sour soup is available in any region, but perhaps the best is still in South Vietnam. To create a sour taste for the soup, people often use ripe tamarind or better when cooked with sour leaves.

vietnamese canh chua
Canh Chua. @myab125

The soup is combined with fresh saltwater fish or beef to create a sweet broth and add some typical herbs, okra, along with the wild taro leaves…

The pot of soup is boiling, take a sip of the broth, eat a piece of fish dipped in the fish sauce will give you a typical taste.

Particularly in the Southwest region, the sour soup is also a variation when it uses Bong Dien Dien (Sano Flower) cooked with Linh fish (one kind of carp), creating a light sour-sweet taste. This dish is very famous but needs to wait for the Sano flower season (from August to October) in Mekong Delta.

However, if you do not come to Mekong Delta, you can find Canh Chua Soup in most Vietnamese restaurants in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Kho Quet (Salty braised dish)

Kho Quet is a rustic dish of the South that brings a strange feeling for first-time diners to enjoy. But, for the Southern people, it is a traditional dish that comes from ancient times passed down by grandparents.

It is a variation like an accompaniment to be eaten with boiled vegetables that do not have an extremely boring taste.

Kho Quet has a dark brown color, including the strong salty taste of the fish sauce and sugar, a little pungent of green pepper, chili powder, and the indispensable taste of the fatty pork. These ingredients are cooked carefully until nearly dry.

kho quet salty cook
kho quet salty cook. @po_tabi

Nowadays, in addition to being used with boiled vegetables, Kho Quet can go with burnt rice as a snack. The crispiness of the burnt rice adds to the spicy salty taste of Kho Quet, making many people like to eat it very much. This dish is worth enjoying when discovering Southern delicacies.

Address to taste: Phu Lam Restaurant, 309 Dang Nguyen Can Street, Ward 13, District 6, HCMC.

Goi Cuon (Spring rolls)

Spring rolls with an eye-catching appearance have a clear white color that can see through the inside to stimulate the taste.

You can see a little green of chives, white of fresh vermicelli, add the ivory color of boiled pork, highlighted by the red color of shrimp. Besides, the way of wrapping skillfully creates beautiful rolls that attract plenty of diners.

The dipping sauce of spring rolls is also very diverse depending on each person’s taste, including fish sauce, dark sauce or peanut and soya sauce.

No matter what kind of dipping sauce is served with, Goi Cuon is an irresistible combination of Southern cuisine.

vietnamese spring rolls
Vietnamese spring rolls. ©HueFlavor

Lau Mam (Fish-sauce hot pot)

This typical dish is a famous specialty of the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam. Many Vietnamese people taste it once, they are surprised by its taste.

Fish-sauce hotpot combines the diversity of hot pot, seafood, and vegetables. To create a great taste, people often use two types of fish sauce: Linh fish sauce or boiled snakehead fish sauce after cooked well and added fragrant shallot.

When the hot pot boils strongly, put in it roast pork, fish, squid, snails, scallops. Don’t forget to dip the green vegetables (including coyote, water lily, water spinach, eggplant, banana flower, sponge gourd). Talking about the variety of ingredients used in a dish, perhaps nothing compares to the fish sauce hot pot.

fish-sauce hot pot
Homemade fish-sauce hot pot. @quynhthu0108

Food Names in Central Vietnam

If Southern cuisine is a rich combination and slightly influenced by the cultures of various ethnic groups living for a long time there. Central cuisine gives people an extremely rich taste. The taste is a bit salty, the spicy, and sometimes, it must be spicy to the end, but also balanced.

It is not natural that people in the Central region have such a taste. Someone explained that because the climate in the Central region is heavily influenced by hard nature. Hot too much in the dry season, and too cold in the rainy season, which creates the habit of cooking to make the salty dishes, but balanced.

Mi Quang (Quang Noodle)

Referring to the delicacies of Central Vietnam, we can imagine countless dishes, but the most typical dish must be Quang noodle that means the noodle in Quang Nam province. But, this dish also becomes the local food in Da Nang City.

Quang noodles are made of rice flour, a slightly white or yellow color. The broth of Quang noodles is very little, which is different from Bun Bo Hue or Pho in Hanoi that is very watery.

Traditional ingredients for cooking Mi Quang include pork and shrimp, now more variations of beef or chicken. When serving this noodle dish, you can see more things, such as quail eggs, shrimp, pork or chicken, and a lot of vegetables including baby mustard, banana flower, basil, and broken rice cakes.

Enjoying Quang noodles brings a rustic but delicate feeling. The fatty taste is neutralized by the vegetables, being a balanced combination of tasty food.

quang noodle
Quang Noodle. ©HueFlavor

Quang Noodle is great to taste in Hoi An or Da Nang City, Vietnam.

Com Hen (Hue mussel rice)

Most of the certain dishes must be eaten hot to be delicious, then when using mussel rice in Hue City, you have to think again, that is cool food.

Mussel rice is a blend of cold rice mixed with boiled mussels, chopped mint, deep-fried pork skin with a bit of fat, a little dark fish sauce, and roasted peanuts, adding the pungent taste when marinating mussels. All mix well to enjoy.

Talking about mussel rice, perhaps only the mussel broth must be hot to be good.

And, in most of the streets in Hue City, you can find this dish, more in the morning than afternoon.

mussle rice
Mussle Rice – Com hen ©HueFlavor

Banh Cuon Tay Son (Tay Son roll)

Tay Son roll is a traditional dish but has very simple and rustic ingredients. Just two rolls are enough for a full meal and enough energy.

The filling consists of green vegetables, soft fried tofu mixed with a little bit of fatty boiled duck eggs, grilled meat, pork pie, and some mints or corianders, all combined to form a big roll.

The outer layer of rice paper is also very special, not greasy, with moderate toughness, adding a little special sauce to create a very unique flavor for Tay Son rolls.

A place to find this dish is in Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam.

tay son spring rolls
Tay Son Spring Rolls. @chloe_jiji

Banh Beo Chen (Steamed rice on the dish)

Although few people use it for the main meal, it is a familiar dish to eat in the morning or late afternoon.

Like most traditional cakes, the main ingredient of Banh Beo is rice flour, but it has a different processing method. This dish is the rich creativity of the Vietnamese, only from the most popular rice flour, but they can make countless delicious dishes.

Banh Beo Chen attracts diners to eat in that the cake is molded in a small bowl. Added the filling made from pureed shrimp, sprinkled with a little fried onion, roasted peanuts, chili powder, scallions, etc. When eating, a little fish sauce comes to add flavor.

This popular dish is quite affordable, and you can easily find this on the streets in Hoi An Ancient Town.

banh beo hoi an
Banh Beo Hoi An. ©HueFlavor

Banh Canh He (Chives noddle soup)

Banh Canh He attracts diners because the noodle made with rice flour creates a certain clarity, being extremely fancy, and chewy.

The broth is not simmered from pork bones like other types of vermicelli, but uses fish bones to sweeten the water. It is because the Central region of Vietnam has abundant seafood that is a good ingredient to cook the great broth.

Typically, the fish cakes of Banh Canh He are made with fresh fish such as mackerel, sailfish… These are inherently popular fish in the daily meals of the Vietnamese.

The special thing of Banh Canh He is, of course, to have finely chopped chives, added to the bowl to form a green surface, extremely eye-catching noodle bowls. And, the chives get a nice unique aroma to attract more feelings of diners.

What could be more wonderful than after exhausting outdoor activities, then enjoy a hot bowl of chives noodle soup! That can help you to get back your energy to the next trip.

When you travel to Phu Yen – a rustic province in Southern Centre Vietnam, you can taste the original taste of Banh Chanh He.

Address to try: Thanh Tam Restaurant, 52 Dien Bien Phu Street, Tuy Hoa City, Phu Yen Province.

banh canh he phu yen
Banh Canh He. @trangpinkyy

Food Names in Northern Vietnam

In eating and drinking, the Northern people have their own standards, which are sophisticated and delicate, perhaps influenced from ancient times.

They prefer a gentle, frugal taste, using seasoning at a moderate level, not too sweet like southern dishes, and not inclined to salty or burning spicy like the central region. North Vietnam food creates a very unique feature, also enrich the cuisine in Vietnam.

Now, there are some famous food names in Northern cuisine.

Bun Dau Mam Tom (Tofu vermicelli with shrimp paste)

When naming the Vietnamese food in the North, tofu vermicelli with shrimp paste is one of the typical dishes in the top list.

bun dau mam tom hanoi
Tofu Vermicelli With Shrimp Paste. @phamtrang06.1997

Nowadays, not only favored by the people in the North, tofu vermicelli with shrimp paste has been present everywhere, stretching along with the country; however, the tastiest is still when it is processed by the people in the North, typically in Hanoi.

Tofu vermicelli with shrimp paste is a popular snack from easygoing people to gourmets who are also conquered by the unique taste of vermicelli.

A delicious vermicelli tray must of course have various ingredients, including fresh vermicelli, crispy golden fried tofu on the outside but still keeping the softness and fat inside, fried rice, pork with soft skin, and coriander.

To make a good quality shrimp paste vermicelli, in addition to the above ingredients, it is indispensable to have a dish of shrimp paste, add a layer of fried oil on top, and chili depending on each person’s taste.

Nowhere is better than to taste Bun Dau Mam Tom in Hanoi. Do not miss it when visiting the capital of Vietnam!

Xoi Ngu Sac (Five colored sticky rice)

Although five-color sticky rice often appears in all three regions of the country, especially at parties, with eye-catching colors, this dish is a specialty of Northwest Vietnam.

five-color sticky rice
five-color sticky rice. @dc.th.phng

To have such unique colors, the chef has to be very meticulous when using completely natural materials from forest leaves to form five colors red, yellow, blue, purple, and white. Each color has a different meaning representing the five elements: Fire, Earth, Wood, Metal, and Water.

In order to produce delicious sticky rice in terms of the stickiness, the correct aroma, and color, the most important thing is the cooking skills and experience of each person.

This typical dish is very famous among the people in Yen Bai Province belonging to Northwest Vietnam.

However, it is far to come to Yen Bai, so you can find Xoi Ngu Sac at the restaurants in Hanoi or Sapa City.

>> See more: famous sticky rice dishes in Vietnam

Bun Thang (Thang vermicelli)

Thang Vermicelli is an elegant and sophisticated dish with alluring flavors that make up a specialty dish of Hanoi.

The name Bun Thang comes from many ingredients, which is similar to a herd medicine called Thang Thuoc in Vietnamese. The ingredients include fried eggs, shredded chicken, shiitake mushrooms, sliced ​​pork rolls, and laksa leaves (or Vietnamese mint). All ingredients are arranged to create an eye-catching bowl of Bun Thang, then add broth.

bun thang hanoi
Bun Thang. @maianhhh112

To make a tasty bowl of Bun Thang is a complicated process and requires the ingenuity and experience of the cook.

A secret thing that makes Bun Thang special is that a little Ca Cuong essential oil is added to bring up the smell of the whole bowl of vermicelli. This creates a typical flavor making the diners love it for the first time when smelling its aroma.

Hanoi is a good place to taste Bun Thang (Thang vermicelli)

Nem Chua Nuong (Grilled sour spring rolls)

Nem Chua is a very popular food in Vietnam, but when enjoying grilled sour spring rolls in the North, it gives a different special feeling.

Typically, grilled sour spring rolls are famous street food in Hanoi where collects a lot of taste of Vietnam.

sour meat pie
Sour Meat Pie. @karennguyen.158

Nem Chua Nuong is a combination of pork meat, sour grilled rice, and pork skin, then using yeast from guava leaves inside and fig leaves to ripen.

When tasting it, it’s again grilled under the charcoal stove to scorch the surface, served with chili sauce or chili garlic fish sauce. Enjoy grilled sour spring rolls with a fleshy taste mixed with a bit of moderate sourness.

Vietnamese cuisine is steeped in tradition, subtly modified to suit modern life, and is a blend of past and present cuisine.

To create delicious Vietnamese dishes, there is also the interference of the three regions of North – Central – South cuisine, all creating a unique culinary, attracting tourists, leaving a deep impression in the heart.

Naming Vietnamese food correctly will give you an easy chance to taste and order flavorful dishes when you visit Vietnam.

Please tell me any Vietnamese food names if you want to know more about them! We will share them with you.

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About the author


Editor at HueFlavor is a15-year local guide, Mr. Ho Thom, who loves local food in Hue as well as in Vietnam. Trusted by hundreds of guests around the world.