A short guide to Vietnamese food
The list below paints a picture of the popular Vietnamese culinary options. Go ahead and have your fill...it is experiences such as this one that you will remember long after you have left Vietnam.
You will hardly walk through a block in any city in Vietnam without finding a food stand serving the local staple - pho. This dish consists of salty broth, fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef. If you can find a healthier, simpler, better balanced and affordable dish than Pho anywhere in the world, I would love to know it.
2. Cha Ca
This is a Hanoian delicacy that is so popular that there is a named after it. It is made of fried morsels of fish that are seasoned with garlic, ginger, turmeric and dill on a pan. It is simple to prepare the delicacy, yet it is one of the sweetest things you will ever taste...and it is affordable.
3. Banh xeo
This is one of the favorite dishes for the residents of Ho Chi Minh City. It comprises of crepe bulging with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. Like many authentic Vietnamese food, it will be sprinkled with a garnish of local herbs to bring out its flavor.
4. Cao Lau
This delicacy has its roots in Hoi An. It is made of pork and noodles. There are some variations of the dish that feature Japanese noodles and Chinese touch on the pork; but the broth and herbs are clearly Vietnamese.
5. Rau Muong
Despite the 'River Weed' tag that this dish has acquired, you will find huge populations of Vietnamese lining up at the restaurants that serve it. It consists of morning glory which is stirred fried and seasoned with garlic. The delicacy is mostly served in beer dens and Vietnamese restaurants.
The most common denominator of all the above dishes is their affordability. With less than $5, you can have 90% of Vietnamese delicacies. Vietnam is one of the cheapest vacation destinations in the world. You have no reason not to visit the country.