For those travelling to Vietnam, there is nothing better than exploring the streets through the country's food. One of the best things about Vietnam is the incredible street food. It conquers up all senses. Most people shy away from street food as they believe that they are unsafe, but the street food in Vietnam is deemed safe. Most of the food in Vietnam is deemed safe for consumption.
But if you are hesitant, a good way to spot good eateries is to follow where the locals eat. It’s a no-brainer you’ll have your best food experiences for a couple of rands 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 ‘fa’. Again, follow the local clusters. The best pho we’ve eaten was in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) at a crowded restaurant complete with plastic stools and friendly locals. 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 fusion food at its best. A tasty mix 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 dancing on your tongue, and the marriage of French flavour profiles and Vietnamese fresh produce is magical.
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 and the game changing ingredient is condensed milk. Think French style filter coffee drizzling down into your glass mingling with the sweetly satisfying goodness of condensed milk. Amid the hustle and bustle of cities such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi 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 Ultimate Vietnam Adventure offers travellers a 14 day exploration of the rice basket of Asia from Hanoi in the North to Ho Chi Minh City in the South is one not to miss.