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A Visual Glossary of Vietnamese Cuisine

Vietnamese spring rolls at the Kickstand Cafe in Arlington, MA on Jul. 20, 2015. | Photo by Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
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Considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, Vietnamese food is beloved for its fresh, bright flavors heavy on seafood and liberal with its use of herbs. We asked Chef Diep Tran of Good Girl Dinette to give us a rundown of Vietnamese dishes we should try aside from the usual phở and bánh mì. Her list while not exhaustive will certainly give readers an idea of the breadth of dishes the rich Vietnamese culinary legacy offers. 


Miến gà
An easy to prepare, light chicken noodle soup with mushrooms, shallots, garlic and chicken.

Mien ga | JaulaDeArdilla via Flickr
JaulaDeArdilla via Flickr

Canh chua cá
A sour soup similar to Filipino sinigang or Thai tom yum usually found in the southern Vietnam region. A catfish is normally cooked in sour tamarind, sweet pineapple and tomato mixed in with taro stems, bean sprouts and scallions.


Xôi gấc
A bright red sticky rice snack made with gac — baby jackfruit. Its auspicious red coloring makes it a mainstay in major Vietnamese occasions such as weddings, engagements and Lunar New Year celebrations.

Bánh rán
​A deep-friend glutinous rice ball stuffed with sweet mung bean paste influenced by Chinese culture. 

Banh ran | Mira Pangkey via Flickr
Mira Pangkey via Flickr

Bánh patê sô
A French-inspired meat pie stuffed with minced pork (or sometimes chicken) mixed with mushrooms, vermicelli noodles encased in layers of puff pastry. 

Pate chaud | Lori Kemph / Mutt & Chops
Lori Kemph / Mutt & Chops

Bánh cay
A yucca fritter deep fried with spicy additions like chili powder and spring onions.

Learn more about Vietnamese cuisine on "The Migrant Kitchen" S2 E4: Beyond Pho.
Beyond Pho

Rice Dumplings

Bánh nậm
​A flattened sticky rice dish mixed with shrimp and scallions, then wrapped in a banana leaf.

Banh nam | Kirk K via Flickr
Kirk K via Flickr

Bánh giò
A pyramid-shaped sticky rice dish with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms wrapped in a banana leaf.

Bánh ít ram
A central Vietnam regional specialty, bánh ít ram is a glutinous rice dish filled with shrimp, pork belly and mung beans that sits on another layer of fried glutinous rice.

Banh it ram | thy khuê via Flickr
thy khuê via Flickr


Chạo tôm
A shrimp paste grilled on a sugar cane stick.

Phở cuốn
Uncut phở noodles wrapped around fried beef, lettuce, coriander and dunked in fish sauce.

Pho cuon | Magalie L'Abbé via Flickr
Magalie L'Abbé via Flickr

Gỏi tôm thịt
A shrimp and pork belly cabbage slaw.

Goi thom thit | Kirk K via Flickr
Kirk K via Flickr

Gỏi đu đủ bò khô
Green papaya mixed with beef jerky.

Du du kho bo | Stu Spivak via Flickr
Stu Spivak via Flickr

Gỏi cuốn tôm thịt
Shrimp or meat wrapped in rice paper. Often, simply called spring rolls.

Gio cuon | Pelican via Flickr
Pelican via Flickr

Bánh bèo
Steamed rice cakes from central Vietnam, usually topped with dried shrimp, shredded pork and scallions.

Banh beo | The Ravenous Couple