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What Makes Vietnamese Cuisine So Different?

Many countries have a reputation for creating new dishes with modern flourishes using new culinary skills. Vietnam is different because this charming country is known for traditional recipes people have enjoyed for centuries.

A survey was conducted with participants from 24 countries. In comparison to 33 major cuisines from around the world including Indian and the Caribbean, Vietnamese food was rated as above average. The results of the survey showed Vietnamese food was 13th in the world.

This type of food contains a combination of five main tastes found in traditional meals. The flavour of every Vietnamese dish is distinct and reflects at least one of these unique flavours. Traditional cooking from the country is admired across the globe for many reasons including fresh ingredients, complementary textures, the use of very little oil and dairy and plenty of savory vegetables and herbs. The most common ingredients in Vietnamese food include:

• Fish sauce
• Shrimp paste
• Rice
• Bean sauce
• Fruits
• Fresh herbs
• Vegetables

Some of the most popular Vietnamese recipes also include:

• Ginger
• Vietnamese mint
• Saigon cinnamon
• Thai basil leaves
• Lemongrass
• Long coriander
• Lime
• Mint
• Bird’s eye chili

There are three regions in Vietnam, with fundamental features shared by the mainstream culinary traditions.


The majority of meats are only cooked briefly, with vegetables often consumed fresh. When cooked, vegetables are stir-fried briefly or boiled.

Texture Variety:

There are a variety of textures including rough and delicate, crunchy and watery and soft and crisp.


The Vietnamese present the condiments served with meals beautifully. They are colourful and arranged in a pleasing configuration.

Vegetables and Herbs:

Herbs and vegetables are critical for many Vietnamese dishes and are generally used in abundance.

Broths and Soups:

Soup-based and broth dishes are enjoyed frequently in all three Vietnamese regions.

Although culinary traditions have some of the same features, there are differences in traditions for each region. From Vietnamese banh mì baguettes to warming noodle soup, the world has developed an appreciation for Vietnamese food. Although there is an abundance of traditional dishes, 10 of the best are detailed below. All of them are popular and have been served for an extremely long period of time.


Pho is a staple of Vietnamese cooking. It is made using beef or chicken, a warming broth and flat rice noodles. This noodle soup is comforting with different flavours throughout the country. Many restaurants serve Pho with spices, herbs and sauces so diners can season their soup to their specific tastes.

Goi Cuon

Since so much Vietnamese food is boiled, grilled or occasionally fried, some people are interested in something fresher. Many have a preference for Goi Cuon which is also referred to as summer rolls. These spring rolls are fresh and usually filled with a combination of crispy salad, pork and prawns. This tasty dish is topped with peanuts and includes a sweet and spicy dip.

Mi Vit Tiem

This is a delicious dish made with duck and chunky egg noodles. Although Mi Vit Tiem has not yet reached the popularity of other Vietnamese dishes, it is incredibly flavourful. Although Mi Vit Tiem offers classic Vietnamese flavour and spice, there is also a Chinese influence.

Bun Cha

Bun Cha is generally a combination of barbequed pork, fish sauce and fresh noodles. Most recipes also include smaller amounts of sliced papaya, herbs and carrots. Some establishments allow customers to cook the food partially themselves. This is accomplished by dipping the noodles into steaming broth served in a bowl. Since Obama visited Vietnam in 2016 and was so pleased with this dish, it is sometimes referred to as Obama Noodles.

Hu Tieu

Hu Tieu has a lot of interpretations across the country with many different recipes. Certain versions of this dish can even be found in China and Cambodia. In the simplest form, Hu Tieu is essentially pork bone soup. The variations are in the type of meats and noodles selected according to region. No matter which way this classic dish is prepared, it is delicious.

Banh Mi

When Indochina was colonized by the French, Banh Mi was influenced. This is an excellent example of Franco-Vietnamese cuisine and infused with delectable flavours from both countries. The dish is filled with a choice of egg or meat, a moreish sweet sauce and fresh vegetables. Banh Mi is a type of crispy baguette often found in restaurants, street stalls and very remote areas of Vietnam.


There are a lot of ingredients in Che, both sweet and savory. Che is basically a sweet dessert soup. There are many different variations including everything from coconut cream to tapioca fruit to grass jelly and kidney beans. Che is served throughout the year, but many people find it tastes the best on a hot day with a scoop of crushed ice.

Banh Cuon

Banh Cuon has been described as little rolls straight from heaven. Each roll is bursting with seasoned pork and wood ear mushrooms. The delicacy is wrapped in fermented and steamed rice batter and dipped in fish sauce. This dish is appealing because it is made in a unique way and tastes great. In many restaurants, customers watch the delicate pancakes being steamed by their hosts only moments before their meal is served.

Banh Xeo

Some people prefer savory over sweet. As a shrimp and pork crepe, Banh Xeo is an ideal option. The dish also contains bean sprouts and turmeric. Although this dish is considered healthy, the flavour is outstanding. The translation of Banh XEO is sizzling cake. This is because of the sound the dish makes when it is fried.

Bia Hoi

Even though Bia Hoi is a draft beer as opposed to an actual dish, It should be included when discussing Vietnamese cuisine. In most instances, this beer is found at local drinking holes and poured right from a large barrel. Bia Hoi is bubbly and weak but the drinking culture is something everyone should experience. In the evening, every city center in Vietnam is filled with people sitting right on the pavement on miniature plastic stools enjoying cool and refreshing glasses of Bia Hoi.