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Top street foods in Vietnam

Vietnam street food and peddle wares is Vietnamese people’s own cultural characteristic. It reflects the lifestyle and the social development of the country. Eating several kinds of Vietnam street food is a common habit of many Vietnamese people. The development of the Vietnam street food services is an essential need of life because street food is very convenient, inexpensive, and it also helps to solve the job concern of many people, especially for ones in the countries which are in the process of industrialization and modernization.

Especially, in densely populated urban areas, the rise of living cost forced many people to accept using street food in their daily life. According to a survey data of the Nutrition Center of Ho Chi Minh City, 95.5% people living here use street food: 51% use street food for daily meals, 82% use for breakfast. In Vietnam, there are many delicious dishes such as fried sour meat pie in Hanoi. Besides, the street cuisine is extremely diverse and plentiful, including many dishes, such as rice noodles, vermicelli, porridge, Quang noodles, soup cake, Vietnamese sandwiches…We’d like to recommend famous street foods in Vietnam as below :

1. Vietnamese Noodle Soup (Pho)

Pronounced ‘Fu’ as in Furby this scrumptious noodle dish is synonymous with Vietnamese food. It is also everywhere; from the moment you step foot in Vietnam to the second you leave. From breakfast tables to the curbside. Pho is easily Vietnam’s most common street food, found day through to night, locals hunker down on tiny plastic chairs to slurp Pho at tiny plastic tables. Slightly bizarre but truly unique. Pho generally comes as Beef (Pho Bo) or chicken (Pho Ga) served in coinciding broth over flat rice noodles and flavourings of herbs. Optional garnish of sliced red chillies, squeeze of lime, bean sprouts, holy basil and cilantro. Shloop. Pho makes the base of endless numbers of soups in Vietnam.

2. Xoi – Vietnamese Sticky Rice

Not as noodles, but just as popular as pho, this sticky rice dish is one of the most widely eaten street foods in the whole of Vietnam. Though usually eaten at breakfast for its cheap and filling goodness, xoi can be found at mobile vendors and open-front stalls alike throughout the day and night.

Xoi comes in both sweet and savoury versions with, like most Vietnamese street foods, an almost infinite degree of variations. Whether with mung beans or black beans, peanuts, chicken or pork, whether with red bean or with coconut all mixed in, xoi is not an accompaniment to something more substantial, xoi is the dish. If you are in Saigon, take a walk around Ben Thanh market any time after dark, and you will see the carts of steaming, multi-coloured xoi on sale waiting to give your blood sugar levels a magnitude 9 spike. It’s a Vietnamese street food classic. Don’t leave without trying.

3. Summer Rolls / Fried Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon / Nem Ran)

Sorry to bunch these two together. First is the Summer Roll (fresh spring roll or Salad Roll) which, when matched with the right dip, is hard to beat. Easily my favourite Vietnamese food snack which is unusual. Not only are they healthy but summer rolls come packed with fresh greens. Traditionally tightly wrapped in a thin rice paper and include ingredients of vermicelli (rice) noodles, fresh herbs, and choice of meat (fresh prawns please). While sauces vary a phenomenal favourite is the peanut sauce (Nuoc Leo). Summer rolls also come meatless / vegetarian. Fried spring rolls need less of an introduction; meat and veg rolled in rice paper before deep frying to crisp. An unhealthy alternative to summer rolls. Both are found in most Vietnamese food menus.

4. Vietnamese bread (Banh Mi)

Obvious colonial French influences? Banh mi is another of Vietnam’s staple street foods generally found sold at small, street side stalls. As with all baguettes you can put pretty much anything in them. That being said with the Vietnamese Banh Mi I generally find a set filling. A filling of a pork liver pate, Vietnamese sausage (Boiled Pork, Cha Lua), shredded radish and carrot, cuts of cucumber and squeezes of mayonnaise and the all important chilli. Makes for a hearty feed following days of soup and veg.

5. Grilled Pork (Thit Nuong)

Marinated pork, grilled roadside, over smoking charcoals. For fellow barbecue lovers Thit Nuong is the one street food hard to resist. While perfect eaten skewered as a quick, meaty snack; Thit Nuong is also found in many of my favourite Vietnamese foods. Stuffed in a baguette (Thit Xien Banh Mi), wrapped in spring rolls (Banh Uot Thir Nuong) and the Vietnamese favourite topping noodles (Bun Thit Nuong).

6. Bún riêu (crab paste vermicelli)

Bún riêu cua (crab paste vermicelli) is Vietnamese vermicelli, served in a tomato broth and topped with crab or shrimp paste. In this dish, various freshwater paddy crabs are used, including the brown paddy crab found in rice fields throughout Vietnam. These freshwater crabs are pounded in the shell until they consist of a fine paste. This paste is strained and the crab-infused liquid is a base for the broth called “riêu cua” (along with tomato). Other ingredients include: fried tofu, mẻ (ferment) or bỗng (fermented grains), Garcinia multiflora Champ., annatto seeds (hạt điều màu) to redden the broth, pig's blood, split water spinach stems, shredded banana flower, rau kinh giới (Elsholtzia ciliata), spearmint, perilla, bean sprouts and chả chay (vegetarian sausage). It is one complex dish

7. Banh Cuon

Banh cuon is a popular breakfast item in Hanoi and is one of the most famous dishes to try for people visiting the city. The dish is a mixture of a pale creamy rice sauce mixed with a filling of seasoned ground pork, mushrooms, and shallots. Rice noodle rolls are served with a bowl of dipping sauce, called nước chấm, or fish sauce. Banh Cuon can be found almost anywhere that there are street food vendors in Hanoi.

8.  Vietnamese sweets ( Che )

The most popular dessert in Hanoi is sweet. Vietnamese sweets are different from famous Thai sweets. They tend to be purer and less sweet than Thai’s. When most of Thai sweets have a lot of greasy coconut milk, Vietnamese traditional sweets are more “gentle” with beans, lotus seed, jellies, etc. There are more and more new recipes of sweets with colorful jelly and different ingredients, however, the traditional sweets such as green bean, black bean, and longan lotus seeds sweet are still keeping their own attraction with Hanoians. I’d like to recommend some kind of che such as:

Che Chuoi – A sweet soup made by boiling a mixture of bananas, tapioca pearls, coconut cream, and peanuts. This rich and creamy pudding is the perfect end to a thoroughly Vietnamese meal

Rau Câu Trai Dùa – This simple jelly made from fresh coconut juice and agar agar. It’s probably the most refreshing dessert you’ll ever have. Definitely our favourite!!

Sua Chua – Traditional Vietnamese yogurt, usually made with some sugar or condensed milk in addition to milk. The resultant Sua Chua is delicate and scrumptious – the tartness of traditional yogurt is balanced by the sweetness of condensed milk/sugar. Its light texture is perfect for Vietnam’s hot weather. Vietnamese people love having Sua Chua throughout the day – who are we to say no? :-)


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