Vietnam is famous for not only for beautiful sceneries but also delicious street foods. Each region in this country has its specialities, through the coastal to the mountainous area. However, do you know how to eat street food in Vietnam in a professional way? Keep reading this article to understand how Vietnamese locals enjoy their street foods.

Special Skills To Eat Like A Local

  • Using Chopsticks And Spoon
Pho Vietnamese street food
Eating pho.
Image credit- J. Nguyen~commonswiki

Vietnamese people often hold chopsticks on the right hand and spoon on the other to eat, mainly when they eat “Pho” – a famous traditional food of Vietnam. The chopsticks are used to twirl up noodles, while the spoon is used to place the broth. It seems to be difficult the first time; however, you should practice it to enjoy Vietnamese street food correctly.

  • Eating Right Foods At Right Hour

The Vietnamese often spend one hour in the morning having breakfast, from 07:00 am to 08:00 am, with foods such as bread and “Pho.” Their lunch lasts from 11:30 am to 01:00 pm and the duration from 05:00 pm to 06:30 pm is for dinner. The first advice is that you should have meals at this time. You can eat at a different time, but it is not like a local.

Lunch and dinner are the main meals of Vietnamese people with four vital nutrients, including sugar, protein, fat, and vegetables. A traditional meal in the Vietnamese family is lovely thanks to diversified colours and good decoration. Therefore, if you have a chance to enjoy a traditional family meal in Vietnam, you must be fortunate.

  • Sitting On Tiny Plastic Chairs
plastic chairs Vietnam
Sit in tiny plastic chairs

If you have been familiar with eating in luxurious restaurants, sitting on a tiny plastic chair to eat street food will bring you special feelings. You may wonder why you have to stay in this kind of uncomfortable chair. The answer is that it is a part of the street food culture in this small but beautiful country. It will not be street food if you do not choose such a sitting.

  • Drinking Iced Tea (Trà Đá) Together

In Vietnam, there is a kind of drink for everything that is iced tea or “trà đá.” Never think about drinking beer if you want to be a local eater as Vietnamese people all drink “trà đá.” Moreover, this tea is very safe because it is boiled before being served. If you do not like iced tea, you can order the hot one. It is also worth trying.

  • Following The Crowd

A significant rule for eating like a local in Vietnam is to follow the crowd. The crowded stores often go with a good reputation; therefore, you will enjoy the best flavour of food here. Moreover, because of the humid climate of Vietnam, food becomes stale very quickly, you may get a stomach-ache after eating in the less-crowded restaurants.

Northern Vietnam

  • Noodle Soup (Phở)
Vietnamese ice tea
Vietnamese phở beef noodles from the Pho 24 restaurant on Mac Thi Buoi street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Image credit- Kham Tran,

Among the list of Vietnamese specialities, noodle soup should always be listed as the top one. This dish is made from fresh rice noodle, salty broth, herbs, chicken or beef, and so on. A bowl of cheap but tasty “Phở” nowadays becomes a familiar food for every tourist arriving in the North of Vietnam.

  • La Vong Grilled Fish Pie (Chả Cá Lã Vọng)
La Vong Grilled Fish pie- Vietnam travel
La Vong Grilled Fish Pie
Image credit-

La Vong grilled fish pie was created at the time of the French. It is the combination of sliced snakehead, turmeric, galangal, pepper, ferment, and fish sauce. This eating will be of the most delicious when it is hot. You can eat La Vong grilled fish pie together with vermicelli, toasted rice pancake, shrimp paste, and fresh chopped small onions. It is said to be one of the most worth-trying dishes in Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam.

  • Vietnamese Grilled Meat Vermicelli (Bún Chả)
Vietnamese Grilled Meat Vermicelli, street food Vietnam
Vietnamese Grilled Meat Vermicelli

“Bún Chả” can be made from grilled chopped roll meat pie or pieces and vermicelli. This dish uses pig shoulder meat, which is marinated in fish sauce, pepper, salt, sugar, vegetable oil, and chopped dried onions. To make it more sophisticated, some people even wrap meat pies in banana leaves. You can enjoy Vietnamese grilled meat vermicelli with fresh vegetables and herbs. Also, combine with fried spring rolls (which is called Nem in Vietnamese) if you like.

  • West Lake Crispy Shrimp Cake (Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây)
Shrimp fried pancake of West Lake-Vietnam
Shrimp fried pancake of West Lake-Vietnam
Image credit-

Crispy shrimp cake is made from shrimp caught in West Lake and flour. After wrapping shrimp in flour, they start to fry in a hot pan full of cooking oil. It is ready to eat when the cake becomes yellow and soufflé. This cake is served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce made with sliced thin green papaya and carrot. You can eat this cake with vermicelli, but it is best to drink beer while enjoying “Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây.”

Central Vietnam

  • Hue Beef Noodle (Bún Bò Huế)
Hue beef noodle soup Da Nang - Bún bò Huế Đà Nẵng | by HoianFoodtour Vietnam street food
Hue beef noodle soup Da Nang – Bún bò Huế Đà Nẵng | by HoianFoodtour

This is one of the most savoury Vietnamese noodle soup. Hue beef noodle is made from braised beef, vermicelli rice noodles, green vegetables, and herbs. Although it is popular among central Vietnamese province, Hue is the best place for you to enjoy the original taste of this eating.

  • Quang Noodle (Mì Quảng)
Mi Quang at Ngoc Mai (with noodles uncovered)

Quang noodle is a speciality from Quang Nam province, Vietnam. Like “Phở” or vermicelli, “Mì Quảng” is also made from rice, but it is a little bit softer than vermicelli. Quang noodle has a yellow colour, which comes from food colouring or annatto oil. Broth to make Quang noodle is also unique with some shrimp, meat, and peanut. Nowadays, you can easily find this eating in every province of Vietnam. So, remember to give it a try when you have a chance to go to Vietnam.

Southern Vietnam

  • Mixed Rice Paper (Bánh Tráng Trộn)
Mixed rice paper salad, street food Vietnam
Ngo Saigon Street Cafe: Bánh tráng trộn / Mixed rice paper salad
Image credit -Tripadvisor

Mixed rice paper is a rustic dish of the youth in Ho Chi Minh City. Materials to make mixed rice paper are straightforward, including sour mango fibres, laksa leaves, kumquat juice, dried beef, shrimp salt, and of course, julienned rice paper sheets. All of these ingredients are mixed well together until rice paper becomes soft. “Bánh tráng trộn” is not only delicious but also eye-catching thanks to the red colour created by dried beef and shrimp salt. For every Saigon citizen, mixed rice paper is a street food of the lifetime.

  • Vietnamese Southern Crispy Pancake (Bánh Xèo Nam Bộ)
Vietnamese Southern Crispy Pancake, street food Vietnam
Vietnamese Southern Crispy Pancake

Vietnamese southern crispy pancake, which is also called sizzling cake is a traditional dish from the South of Vietnam. Its name “sizzling” or “xèo” starts from the sound created when people make this cake. Through many years of development and cultural transferring, “Bánh xèo” is changed in each area to fit the flavour of local people. For example, “Bánh xèo” in Ho Chi Minh City is crispy and rolled with fresh vegetables and herbs, while the one in Binh Dinh province is quite soft and crispy in the border only. Vietnamese people eat sizzling cake all year round but the most wonderful time to enjoy is autumn and winter when the weather is cold.

Above is some useful advice for you on how to eat street food in Vietnam like a local. Also, there are some suggestions on what you should eat when arriving in this beautiful country. Remember that these foods are nowadays available in big cities of Vietnam, so you can enjoy southern specialities in Hanoi or other northern provinces and vice versa.

Have you ever been to Vietnam? If yes, share with us your experience on what you have done or eaten. If no, hope our article was useful to you. Thanks for reading!

I am Emily Pham. I was born in Vietnam – a country with many unknown beaches, historic sites, and tourist attractions. Understanding that Vietnam nowadays is a famous destination, I establish the blog site with the purpose of introducing the elegant beauty of Vietnam to friends around the world. If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, our blog will provide you with essential information on where to go and what to do in our country.

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