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.
An easy to prepare, light chicken noodle soup with mushrooms, shallots, garlic and chicken.
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.
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.
A deep-friend glutinous rice ball stuffed with sweet mung bean paste influenced by Chinese culture.
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.
A yucca fritter deep fried with spicy additions like chili powder and spring onions.
A flattened sticky rice dish mixed with shrimp and scallions, then wrapped in a banana leaf.
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.
A shrimp paste grilled on a sugar cane stick.
Uncut phở noodles wrapped around fried beef, lettuce, coriander and dunked in fish sauce.
Gỏi tôm thịt
A shrimp and pork belly cabbage slaw.
Gỏi đu đủ bò khô
Green papaya mixed with beef jerky.
Gỏi cuốn tôm thịt
Shrimp or meat wrapped in rice paper. Often, simply called spring rolls.
Steamed rice cakes from central Vietnam, usually topped with dried shrimp, shredded pork and scallions.