Vietnamese Dishes

Vietnamese dishes blend ancient traditions, regional specialties, and street food culture, showcasing a rich balance of five taste senses.

Lastest Updated January 5, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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Basic Information

Vietnamese Dishes: Basic Overview

Common Ingredients

Rice, glutinous rice, noodles, meat, seafood, egg, vegetable

Common Cooking Methods

Frying, grilling, braising, steaming, boiling/simmering, preserving

Courses

Main course, Dessert

Meals

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Key Taste

Salty, sweet, sour, savory, and bitter

Eating Etiquette

Use both chopsticks and spoon; avoid sticking chopsticks upright in rice; communal dining.

Meal Presentation

Balanced colors and textures; often served with fresh herbs and vegetables on the side.

Culinary Festivals

Vietnamese New Year (Tết), Mid-Autumn Festival

Influence and Fusion

Mainly influences from China, France, and neighboring Southeast Asian countries (like Thai and Cambodia)
Origin and Region

Vietnamese Dishes: Origin and Region

Cuisine

Vietnam

Culinary Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

North, Central, South
Vietnam Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Popular Types of Vietnamese Dishes

  • Dumplings

    Vietnamese dumplings are typically made from a dough of rice/sticky rice flour, which are naturally gluten-free.

    Some are filled with a mixture of ingredients, such as shrimp, pork, and vegetables, not ideal for vegan/vegetarian meals.

    Common dumpling cooking methods are steaming, frying, or boiling.

    They also come in various shapes, like pyramids, round/spherical, or cylindrical.

    Some are wrapped in banana leaves.

  • Cakes and Pastries

    Cakes and pastries in Vietnam are diverse in styles, appearances, tastes, and textures.

    They are normally hand-held treats, from savory to sweet tastes. Some are sold as street food.

    Common ingredients for cakes and pastries are rice flour, mung beans, and fruits, which reflect Vietnam’s rich agricultural and tropical environment.

    Many of them are ideal for vegan and vegetarian diets. Some are often gluten-free, as Vietnamese use rice flour more than wheat flour.

  • Pancakes

    They are typically savory delights made with various ingredients with different textures, such as soft, chewy, crunchy, or crispy.

    Each region in Vietnam has different pancake specialties. They can be steamed, fried, or cooked in special molds over a fire.

    Many pancakes contain meat or seafood, which is not ideal for vegan and vegetarian dishes.

  • Sandwiches

    Vietnamese-style sandwich is a fusion dish made with French baguettes and other ingredients like meats, pâté, pickles, and herbs.

  • Rolls

    Rolls feature thin sheets made from rice or batter, which are often used to wrap fillings and create rolls.

    They can be served fresh or fried with pairing sauce (can be a fish sauce-based dip, hoisin, or peanut sauce).

    Most Vietnamese rolls are not vegan-friendly as they include meat or are dipped in fish sauce.

  • Rice Paper Dishes

    They include rice paper as a main ingredient.

    It’s a thin, edible paper-like material made from rice.

    They are popular street food in Vietnam, especially in the Southern part.

    Rice paper itself is vegan and vegetarian.

  • Rice Dishes

    Rice is a staple in Vietnamese daily meals, resulting in diverse dishes centered around this ingredient.

    Rice dishes are prepared in various styles, ranging from simple dishes to complex ones.

    Some are often served with different accompaniments like meat, vegetables, or sauce.

    Most rice dishes in Vietnam are gluten-free, except those cooked or served with soy sauce.

  • Glutinous Rice Dishes

    Glutinous rice is another staple ingredient in the country, which is gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan.

    They are used to make both sweet and savory dishes. Some are wrapped in leaves.

    It is also an important component to make traditional delights for special occasions, like New Year.

  • Soups

    They are liquid-based dishes that can be clear, brothy, or thick.

    Those brothy, savory soups are called “canh” in Vietnamese. Thicker ones are “súp”, and sweet delights are “chè.”

    Savory soups often contain various ingredients, normally meat, vegetables, or seafood.

  • Noodle Soups

    Vietnamese noodle soups are very popular in the country, known for their flavorful broths made from meat (normally pork, beef, or chicken).

    The noodle itself is abundant in types, such as thin rice noodles (bánh phở, bún), thick rice noodles (bánh canh), glass noodles (miến), and yellow noodles (mì).

    Many Vietnamese noodle soups are served with lemon wedges, chilies, and fresh vegetables or herbs.

  • Dry Noodle Dishes

    They feature noodles with a lack of broth. Other components are meat, which can be boiled, fried, or grilled.

    These noodle-based delicacies can be tossed with sauces or served with a small amount of broth or dipping sauce.

  • Charcuterie and Cheese Boards

    They are an assortment of traditional Vietnamese sausages made from ground meat (e.g., pork, chicken, beef) with seasonings.

    Vietnamese sausages are often shaped in a big roll and wrapped in leaves. Some are slightly chewy.

    Locals enjoy them on their own or as a component in other dishes.

  • Snacks

    Vietnamese snacks are light and often handheld items.

    They are sweet savory treats, perfect for casual eating at a very affordable price.

    Therefore, they are easy to find in street vendors, local eateries, or homemade food.

  • Condiments and Sauces

    These are liquid or semi-liquid seasonings used to enhance flavor or complement other dishes.

    They are salty; some with a strong smell.

    A common method to make them is fermenting seafood (like fish or shrimp).

Ingredients and Preparation

Vietnamese Dishes: Signature Culinary Delights

  • Most Popular Dishes

    They are common dishes that are widely enjoyed across the country and also gain a certain popularity in the world.

    Diners can find them in restaurants, eateries, or street stalls.

  • National Dish

    These specialties are available in various types of dishes, from noodle soups, and rice dishes to rolls, sandwiches, etc.

    As national dishes, they are culinary symbols of Vietnam.

  • Traditional Dishes

    Traditional dishes have been made and enjoyed over a long period.

    They show their regional diversity of North, Central, and South areas.

    They also contain a diverse range of dishes with a blend of tastes, like sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.

    Some traditional delights are national ones, as long as they are most recognized by locals and people outside Vietnam.

  • Street Food