Best Vietnamese Snacks  ⋆ Expert World Travel (2023)

Vietnamese cuisine is absolutely delicious and when you gather up all the Vietnamese cuisine styles from northern Vietnam to Southern Vietnam, you have a range of Vietnamese food that is almost unbeatable the world over.

Food is a big part of Vietnamese culture and Vietnam is slowly becoming the food capital of Asia. There are street food vendors popping up all over the streets of cities like Saigon and one part of Vietnamese cuisine you have to try while you’re there are Vietnamese snacks and each Vietnamese snack is different from the next.

Join me as we run through the best Vietnamese snacks that everyone has to try, either at home or in Vietnam.

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Goi Cuôn

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The first of the Vietnamese snacks we are going to take a look at is Goi Cuon. Goi Cuon is pretty much a Vietnamese version of spring rolls but is actually referred to as crispy summer rolls.

You can make these by wrapping rice paper (bahn trang) around local ingredients which range from everything from meat like minced pork, beef, seafood like shrimp or crab, plus rice glass noodles and some vegetables.

It’s actually the fresh ingredients such as Vietnamese herbs, mushrooms, mint leaves, and spring onions that bring this delicious snack to life.

This tasty snack is usually served with a dipping sauce such as fish sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and even peanut sauce.

You can either have this healthy snack as a light meal as they are quite filling and while the rice paper wrap is crispy, they are always served either cold or room temperature.

Bánh bao

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Banh Bao is one of the most delicious of the Vietnamese snacks out there and it’s usually eaten for breakfast alongside a cup of tea. Once you know what the ingredients are you’ll understand why this is one of the best dishes for a morning snack and I’d happily have one with every cup of tea I have each day.

Banh Bao is made from a steamed baozi bread bun that has been stuffed with yummy things including ground pork that is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and green onion along with hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, and Chinese sausage.

The stuffing ingredients are mixed together and then stuffed into a dough ball that has been lightly yeasted and then cooked in steam. You end up with a mild taste that pretty much reminds you of a chili English breakfast all neatly wrapped in a bun.

This snack was certainly influenced by the Chinese version which came first but the taste was improved with Vietnamese flavors in my eyes and is a favorite snack all across Vietnam, but especially in central Vietnam.

Banh Mi

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Another of the top Vietnamese snacks out there that you can pretty much find anywhere in the country and even make at home is Banh Mi. This snack is pretty much a Vietnamese sandwich served in a fresh Vietnamese baguette and it’s the perfect tasty snack to pick up on your way to work and is often eaten as a light lunch.

The baguette is made of wheat and glutinous rice flour and this is then stuffed with an assortment of meat, vegetables, herbs, and other things like pate or red bean paste.

The meat can be anything from pork to chicken or beef depending on the chef, and it’s usually seasoned with something like lemon or fish sauce. It is served up with pickled or fried onion, garlic, peppers, malt sugar, lettuce, and more, all depending on who you buy it from.

It has a tasty spice flavor to it, especially when some chili sauce is added as it often is. Make sure to try one of these for your next meal when out and about in Vietnam.

Bánh cuốn

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Image courtesy of Flickr

Banh cuon is one of the top Vietnamese snacks that comes from North Vietnam and it’s particularly tasty thanks to the ingredients and the crunchy texture.

Banh cuon is pretty much the Vietnamese version of a savory crepe made of rice paper that is usually filled with minced pork or ground pork with minced mushrooms. The rice paper is incredibly thin and amazing to see being manipulated and live in front of you and once deep-fried has a distinct taste to it.

This dish comes served with fried green onions on the top or the dish is often served on a bed of cucumber, fried shallots, shredded lettuce, and of course some fish sauce too.

It’s a great dish to eat as a snack, a light meal, or a quick breakfast and is one of the top crispy snacks you can find in Vietnam and you’ll find it being served up on almost every street in Vietnam too.

Nem Nướng

Nem nướng is one of my favorite Vietnamese snacks from south Vietnam and is also hugely popular all over the country. It’s pretty much a traditional Vietnamese pork sausage that is made from a mixture of lean pork that is ground with fat, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, onions, lemongrass, and some baking soda which helps to puff the meat up during the cooking process.

Once the sausage is made it is then grilled either as a ball or on a skewer and you can serve it in a multitude of ways. If you are in South Vietnam, these snacks will come as a lemongrass skewer. You can also serve them wrapped in crispy rice paper with a chili sauce and sesame seeds, throw it in a bánh mì sandwich, or with some yummy noodles and peanut sauce.

Coconut candy

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Image courtesy of Flickr

One of the Vietnamese snacks every kid loves and adults too by the way is their coconut candy. These snacks are packed full of sweetness and if you have a sweet tooth you will love them if not you will probably find them to be a bit sweet for your taste.

These snacks are originally from the Mekong Delta where there is a factory that churns them out and wraps them in rice paper for distribution around Vietnam.

To make these sweet treats, you need some sweet coconut strips that are then dried out of all their coconut juice, covered in sugar, and then food coloring. Once marinated they are then fried until they become dried, syrupy, and full of sweetness.

Bún Bò Huế

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Bun Bo Hue is another of the yummy snacks from Vietnam that you have got to eat and it’s a great dish to have as a light lunch or a starter before the main dish.

Bun Bo Hue is pretty much the Vietnam version of ramen and is traditionally served with beef sitting in a beef broth along with banana flowers, basil, chopped onions, and some shrimp sauce.

This is the traditional version that you would find in central Vietnam but it can also come with shrimp and pork instead of beef and can be spicy when topped with chili.

If you’re going to try this in Vietnam, it’s best to have it at a restaurant as they will make sure the broth has a deep taste and the noodles will be super fresh too. It’s such a yummy Vietnamese snack and you’ll see locals eating it at any time of the day or night, especially around areas like Saigon.

Bánh Cốm

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Image courtesy of Flickr

Banh Com are pretty much Vietnamese rice cakes with yummy toppings. They are readily available and a favorite street food all over Vietnam and you will literally find different versions of them everywhere.

Banh Com are made up of sticky rice cakes and rice flour which are steamed and then topped with a mixture of pork, shrimp, steamed mung beans, and scallion oil that adds a particular flavor to the dish.

In Vietnam, street vendors serve them in little cups stuffed with rice and they can come with a load of different toppings too. You’ll find spicy versions of these dishes, different beans on top, and other meats outside of shrimp and pork.

This is a great food to eat all day as one little snack of these fresh treats isn’t filling at all but you can keep eating them and trying all the different versions.

Bánh xèo

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Bánh xèo is pretty much a Vietnamese pancake and the dish got its name from the sound it makes when the pancake is being made. You’ll find this dish all over Vietnam but it hails mainly from the south and central region of Vietnam.

These yummy snacks are made from shrimp, pork belly, bean sprouts with a dash of fish sauce which is then wrapped in a rice flour pancake, deep-fried, and served with a side of fish or sweet chili sauce.

The pancake is actually made of a mixture of turmeric and coconut milk, and it’s the coconut milk that gives it its deep texture and yellow color.

This super tasty Vietnamese dish has many different versions depending on the street vendor or restaurant you’re buying it from. It can also come with a lot of vegetables such as lettuce, pickled carrots, and herbs such as mint and sorrel.

This is one of the best Vietnamese dishes you can have for breakfast and it goes very well with a cup of green tea.

Quây

Quay is a kind of sweet cake or pastry that is pretty much the Vietnamese version of youtiao, a Chinese delicacy and it’s made in a similar way too.

Quay is made by a mixture of flour, salt, sugar, and water to make the dough and it is then left for hours until it’s ready. Once it’s ready, two pieces of the dough are placed together and deep-fried until they become a nice golden color.

The reason these are so nice to eat and the reason why almost everyone in Vietnam loves them is thanks to the prep which ensures they are puff and light after hitting the oil.

Quay is a national treasure in Vietnam and everyone loves to eat it as a snack all over the country, in fact, it’s probably Vietnam’s favorite Vietnamese snack.

Bánh Rán

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Bánh Rán are a hugely popular snack in Vietnam and one you will find all over Vietnam from the north to the south.

They are pretty much stuffed rice balls that are made by mixing rice and rice flour and then stuffing them with red beans after which they are rolled in sesame seeds, dosed in jasmine flower essence, and then deep-fried.

This process creates a yummy crispy texture on the outside but with a soft tasty center with a burst of flavors and is usually served with fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, chili, and garlic.

You’ll find these lovely stuffed rice balls all over Vietnam and they are exceptionally filling since they are fried and stuffed with beans. They are not the most healthy snack in the world either but they are one you have to try while you’re in Vietnam.

You’ll also find quite a few different versions of these with different stuffings to different coatings and lots more so make sure to try and taste a few different ones.

Nem Chua

Best Vietnamese Snacks ⋆ Expert World Travel (11)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Nem Chua is a bit of an odd snack when you hear about how it’s made but you should focus on the yummy tastes that come out of it before you think you shouldn’t try it.

Nem Chua is pretty much fermented pork and it’s made by mixing up lean minced pork with sliced pork skin, spices, herbs, chili, and garlic. This mixture is then left for three to five days to ferment in a banana leaf in a cold place.

The fermentation process breaks down the meat and adds a lot of spicy and garlic flavors to it and the banana leaves also add a dimension to it. It tastes kind of spicy, salty, a bit sour, a bit sweet, and it can be a little confusing. But, it’s served with raw garlic on top and then with some chili or fish sauce on the side which helps it taste a little more normal.

FAQs

What is the most famous Vietnamese food? ›

Pho might be Vietnam's most famous dish but bun cha is the top choice when it comes to lunchtime in the capital. Just look for the clouds of meaty smoke after 11 a.m. when street-side restaurants start grilling up small patties of seasoned pork and slices of marinated pork belly over a charcoal fire.

What is Vietnamese food known for? ›

17 Most Popular and Traditional Vietnamese Foods
  • 1 – Phở – Pho. ...
  • 2 – Cá Kho Tộ – Caramelized and Braised Catfish.
  • 3 – Bánh Xèo – Vietnamese Crepe. ...
  • 4 – Bánh Khọt – Mini Vietnamese Crispy Pancakes. ...
  • 5 – Gỏi Sứa – Jellyfish Salad. ...
  • 6 – Cao Lầu – Cao Lau Noodles. ...
  • 7 – Bánh Mì – Vietnamese Baguette.
17 Oct 2022

What kind of Vietnamese food should I try? ›

Wherever you travel across the country, you're sure to eat well.
  • Phở Phở-real: this world-famous soup differs from north to south. ...
  • Bánh Mì With so many varieties, you're bound to find the perfect bánh mì on a trip to Vietnam. ...
  • Cơm Tấm. A platter of Cơm Tấm in Ho Chi Minh City. ...
  • Bún Bò Huế ...
  • Cao Lầu. ...
  • Cơm Gà ...
  • Mì Quảng. ...
  • Bánh Xèo.

What is the national food of Vietnam? ›

Pho is the national dish of Vietnam and is sold everywhere from nice restaurants to street corners where grandmothers set up makeshift kitchens. For this version, all of the components—noodles, beef brisket broth, herbs, chiles—are served separately.

What is the most popular product in Vietnam? ›

Iron and steel are among Vietnam's fastest-growing industries, growing at over 20% annually for almost a decade. Vietnam is the largest consumer and producer of steel in South East Asia. Vietnam can make over 16 million tons of steel annually and over 5 million tons of Iron.

What do Vietnamese eat daily? ›

Meals emphasize rice, vegetables and fish, and cooking methods often involve steaming or stir-frying. Rice is the staple of the diet, consumed in some form in almost every meal. For Vietnamese adults, all three meals of the day may consist of steamed rice with side dishes of vegetables or fish or meat.

What is the most popular breakfast in Vietnam? ›

Pho. Pho is not only the most popular breakfast in Vietnam but is also internationally renowned as a symbol of Vietnamese gastronomy. Thousands of Pho stores deliver thousands of taste, that's why some Pho stores are much more well-known than the rest, and the mystery hidden in the broth of Pho.

Why is Vietnamese food so healthy? ›

Because Vietnamese food is flavoured with herbs and spices (instead of oil or dairy) and is packed full of fresh fruit and vegetables, most authentic dishes, dressings and sauces you'll find in restaurants are low in calories and fat.

Do Vietnamese believe in God? ›

As a communist country, Vietnam is officially an atheist state. Even so, most Vietnamese are not atheists, but believe in a combination of three religions: Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Added to these are the customs and practice of spirit worship and ancestor veneration.

What is the main spice in Vietnamese food? ›

Cardamom. Along with star anise, clove, and cinnamon, cardamom helps form the spice base for soups, including pho. While black cardamom is commonly used in Vietnamese cooking, Ly prefers green cardamom for a more delicate, restrained flavor in savory dishes.

What are the 2 sauces for pho? ›

At every pho restaurant, you will see next to your table two crucial sauces to add into your soup. One of the red sauces is Sriracha. Sriracha adds that extra added kick of spice into the soup. The other dark brown looking sauce is hosin sauce.

What is the most popular Vietnamese sandwich? ›

Banh Mi literally translates to bread, meaning a baked food containing wheat. However, this term has also become the go-to name for the famous Vietnamese sandwich, served in a French baguette with a mix of meats and vegetables.

What is the national fruit of Vietnam? ›

Dragon fruit, locally known as 'Thanh Long' is considered to be the national fruit of Vietnam. There are two versions of the fruit and if the local people you are buying it from don't speak English, it's going to be a surprise if the interior is clear white or a juicy pink.

What is the most popular vegetable in Vietnam? ›

Water Spinach/ Morning Glory (Rau Muong)

Water spinach is the most common vegetable in Vietnam as the tropical climate creates favorable conditions for its growth and the veggie does not require much care.

What is street food in Vietnam? ›

When it comes to street food in Vietnam, the most obvious choice would have to be Vietnamese noodle soup, phở. This local daily staple is made up of chewy rice noodles in piping hot savoury broth with tender slices of beef or chicken and topped with crunchy, spicy, herby garnishes.

What is a good gift for someone from Vietnam? ›

Take a piece of the experience home in these traditional gifts.
  • Tribal Textiles. A Cham woman weaves using an elaborate loom in Chau Doc. ...
  • Chopsticks. Pretty and practical, chopsticks make for an excellent souvenir or gift. ...
  • Silk Products. ...
  • Vietnamese Coffee. ...
  • Paper Lanterns. ...
  • Áo Dài. ...
  • Puppets & Masks. ...
  • Bamboo Products.

What things are cheap in Vietnam? ›

What's Cheaper To Buy in Vietnam?
  • Electronics. Simple electronics – things like electric razors and curling irons – are much cheaper in Vietnam. ...
  • Silk. Vietnam produces a lot of quality silk, and even if you're unsure of what you want to make, you can buy a roll to bring home with you. ...
  • Jewelry.
12 Mar 2018

What 2 Things Is Vietnam the largest world producer of? ›

Vietnam has long been a major producer of cement. The chemical industry has been growing, with fertilizer being its most important product. Steel is a major part of Vietnam's heavy industry.

What is a normal Vietnamese breakfast? ›

Vietnam is considered a country with a gorgeous breakfast dish. From snacks such as bread, sticky rice, dumplings… to other dishes such as Bun, Pho, noodles, porridge, Hu Tieu… can become an interesting breakfast to start a new day.

What time is dinner in Vietnam? ›

The main meal in Vietnam is dinner with the attendance of the whole family. Dinner time is after 6 pm and before 8 pm. Not all of the families in Vietnam have a dining table. Except for rice served in single bowls, the other dishes are placed on separate plates.

Which city has the best food in Vietnam? ›

The northern city of Hanoi is the mecca of Vietnamese cuisine. Everything we ate that was deemed “the best” was devoured in Hanoi. The best pho, the best bun cha, the best spring rolls, and the very best coffee.

What is the most popular meat in Vietnam? ›

Though pork still remains the main meat consumed in Vietnam, higher consumption growth rate presents a positive outlook for consumption of beef and poultry. 45% of total imports. Over 85% of Vietnam's livestock is raised on small-scale farms.

Is Chinese or Vietnamese food healthier? ›

Vietnamese food is generally considered much healthier than Chinese food due to its use of fresher ingredients, less oil and frying of vegetables, as well as use of lighter sauces. What is this? Chinese food has high levels of sodium, which can generally be tracked to it's heavy use of soy sauce in its cuisines.

Is Vietnam the healthiest country? ›

Vietnam has been listed among the top 11 healthiest countries in the world, according to the Global Wellness Index (GWI) published by investment firm LetterOne. Out of the 151 nations evaluated for the list, Vietnam was ranked in 11th place while Canada took the number one position.

What is the major protein eaten in Vietnam? ›

Major Vietnamese protein sources are chicken, egg, pork, seafood, and tofu. The Vietnamese prefer to purchase their meat and poultry at wet markets, rather than supermarkets.

Which language is closest to Vietnamese? ›

Later, Muong was found to be more closely related to Vietnamese than other Mon–Khmer languages, and a Viet–Muong subgrouping was established, also including Thavung, Chut, Cuoi, etc.

What are the top 3 religions in Vietnam? ›

Officially, Vietnam is an atheist state. Despite this, many of its citizens are religious. The three main religions in Vietnam are Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Sometimes, they are grouped together as one religion called the three teachings or tam giáo.

Who is God in Vietnam? ›

Cao Đài (Vietnamese: [kāːw ɗâːj] ( listen), literally the "Highest Lord" or "Highest Power") is the highest deity, the same as the Ngọc Hoàng, who created the universe.

What are the 7 desserts? ›

Top 10 Types of Desserts
  • Cakes.
  • Cookies.
  • Biscuits.
  • Pastries.
  • Candies.
  • Custards and Puddings.
  • Deep-fried.
  • Frozen.
13 Oct 2022

What do Vietnamese say before eating? ›

Xin mời (Please)

During a meal, everyone can say “Xin mời” to invite each other to dig in. In a way, this is one of the many Vietnamese versions of the phrase “Bon appetit”. Specifically, children and younger individuals at the table are expected to invite everyone to eat before they can start eating.

What candy is made in Vietnam? ›

Coconut candy
TypeConfectionery
Place of originVietnam
Region or stateBến Tre Province
Main ingredientsCoconut, malt syrup, sugar
Media: Coconut candy
1 more row

What are the two most popular desserts? ›

What is the most popular dessert in America? Cheesecake, cupcakes, jell-O, carrot cake, apple pie, ice cream, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake are the most popular desserts in America.

Is pho or ramen healthier? ›

In general, pho is lower in fat compared with ramen. An average bowl of ramen tops out at 15g of fat typically and pho somewhere around 5g so there is definitely a difference and a lot of that comes down to the meat used.

Is pho heart healthy? ›

Contains nutrient-rich herbs

Many spices and herbs, including cilantro and basil in pho, are high in polyphenols. These compounds have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer ( 13 , 14 , 15 ).

Is pho healthy for losing weight? ›

Pho can be a great weight loss dish given its high protein content which promotes satiation, light yet flavorful soup which is low in calories, and usage of carbs which make it a well-balanced meal. A serving of pho runs at only 403 calories with 29 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and 60 grams of carbs.

What are the 5 types of appetizer? ›

Classification of Appetizers
  • Cocktails.
  • Hors d' oeuvres.
  • Canape.
  • Relishes/Crudite.
  • Salads.
  • Soup & Consommé
  • Chips & DIps.
22 Jul 2021

Why is pho so popular? ›

You can adjust and season further by adding other ingredients and sauces at the table. It's perfect for a light lunch, or when accompanied by a few starters or sides it makes a filling dinner. In summary, pho is fun to eat, it's healthy and it tastes great. This may explain its popularity.

What is the most popular street food in Vietnam? ›

1. Rice noodle soup (Phở) When it comes to street food in Vietnam, the most obvious choice would have to be Vietnamese noodle soup, phở. This local daily staple is made up of chewy rice noodles in piping hot savoury broth with tender slices of beef or chicken and topped with crunchy, spicy, herby garnishes.

What is the most popular pho dish? ›

There are many variations, although beef (Pho bo) and chicken (Pho ga) remain the most popular options. Pho bo: Normally, the beef used in pho bo is medium-rare, and continues to cook in the steaming soup broth.

What is considered rude in Vietnamese culture? ›

Patting a person's back, especially a senior or someone of higher status, pointing to other people while talking, or putting one's feet on a table or sitting on a desk while talking are all rude and disrespectful. Winking is regarded as indecent, especially when directed at people of the opposite sex.

What is the most popular soup in Vietnam? ›

1. Phở Bò (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) Phở Bò (or Pho Bo) probably is the most famous Vietnamese soup that foreign tourists know. However, it has a shorter name, which is Pho.

Why Vietnamese food is the best? ›

Vietnamese food is some of the healthiest in the world. Dishes are always filling. Though customizations can vary the nutritional content, in general, Vietnamese cooking is low-fat, immune system-boosting, packed with vitamins and minerals, and gluten-free. People have used Vietnamese food to help them lose weight.

Why do I feel good after eating pho? ›

Pho is a traditional Vietnamese street food and has the same magic ingredient as chicken soup — bone broth — but incorporates more herbs and spices to naturally boost your immune system, and speed up your body's recovery time. It's the perfect comfort food — warm, hearty, and healing.

What's better ramen or pho? ›

Ramen is, without a doubt, the superior soup. It packs a punch of flavour in the broth that pho struggles to deliver sans the plate of sides (mint, lemon and chilli, we're looking at you). Ramen isn't an additions dish—it's wholly complete when it lands in front of you.

What does pho do to your body? ›

Rich in calcium, iron, and phosphorus, the ingredients in a bowl of pho are essential for maintaining healthy dentin and tooth enamel, and some advocates claim it can even aid in the remineralization of teeth.

What is the national dessert of Vietnam? ›

Chè
Plastic containers of chè đậu trắng, a variety of chè made from black-eyed peas, in an Asian grocery store
TypeSoup or pudding
CourseDessert
Place of originVietnam
Region or stateSoutheast Asia
2 more rows

Which noodle is best for pho? ›

Narrow rice noodles (linguine or fettuccine size) are perfect for pho noodle soup. Wide rice noodles (think pappardelle) work best for the stir-fried, panfried, and deep-fried noodles.

What is the white stuff that comes with pho? ›

The term pho actually refers to the noodles, not the soup. There are hundreds of different soups found around Vietnam. But pho is made with pristine white rice flour noodles that are made daily and sold in markets.

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