While Vietnam has phở stands on every corner, it’s not the only scrumptious street food you’ll find in the country. In addition to being wildly popular, affordable, and lightning fast, the phenomenal turnover rate of the food ensures it tends to be super-fresh. Check out the five best street food dishes in Vietnam, along with the best places to find them.
The soft noodle soup is served up across the entire country, although you’re sure to get different variations by region. While phở from every region may give you the choice of having a chicken or beef broth, phở in the northern regions is likely to be more traditional while phở in the southern regions may be more experimental or elaborate.
Phở found in the southern Ho Chi Minh City, for instance, may come with side plates piled with herbs and condiments, a practice that would be considered “vulgar” in the northern Hanoi.
Chè: Hue, Nationwide
Chè is a sweet dessert-type soup that mingles different types of beans and fruit. Depending on where you are and what’s in season in the tropical country, you may find hundreds of different types of chè around the country. Chè originated in the north, is served throughout the nation, and is especially appetizing in the city of Hue.
Xôi: Hanoi, Nationwide
While Americans often turn to things like mashed potatoes or ice cream for comfort, xôi is the ultimate Vietnamese comfort food. This sticky rice dish can be enjoyed plain, or with some rich and delicious toppings, such as corn or fat. Hanoi ranks as the best place to enjoy xôi, although you’ll find it across the entire country.
Cao Lầu: Hoi An
Cao lầu is a noodle dish that gives folks a break from all the broth that comes with pho. Here you’ll find only a dollop of broth in the bottom of the bowl, with the rest of the bowl piled high with noodles, salad, barbecued pork, and crisp pork crackling. The city of Hoi An is home to the dish, and you’re not likely to find it anywhere else.
Bún Thịt Nướng: Ho Chi Minh City
Even though you won’t find cau lầu outside of Hoi An, you can find a similar dish in Ho Chi Minh City. Bún thịt nướng still gives you a dollop of broth piled with noodles, salad, and pork, but you’ll find spring rolls instead of the crackling topping the dish. Locals are particularly fond of this delicacy, and you may have to head away from the main hubbub and down the side streets to find this fabulous fare.
Vietnam street food is not only delightful, but it also ensures you can always grab a quick bite as you’re zipping around the country doing business. Just make sure to bring your passport, Vietnam business visa, sense of adventure, and a hearty appetite for authentic food. Any questions about your upcoming trip to Vietnam? Don’t hesitate to contact Swift Passport – we’re happy to help.
Rob Lee is co-founder and CFO of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.