Comfort food is cathartic and rejuvenating to the tired soul, exhausted from daily business and work issues. Therefore, businessmen and executives like to find food that is delightful or pleasing to eat, such as local delicacies. These include foods like caviar, but not all such dishes are necessarily costly. In Vietnam, you can find eight delicacies to enjoy, after toiling for hours in the office or outside.
But, you need not be working in an office all day to enjoy these specialities. Any traveller can enjoy these tasty and luxurious meals to get a true taste of authentic Vietnamese culture and fine dining. The best part of travelling in Vietnam is its wide selection of street foods and delicacies.
1. Bánh cuốn: A steamed, rice roll-like dish
When you hear the word “Bánh,” in Vietnam, it means the ubiquitous steamed rice rolls. Bánh cuốn typically consists of batter that is a combination of rice flour, tapioca flour, and a pinch of salt and water. The ingredients are whisked until a smooth batter forms, and they are placed on a cloth, to form a layer of ‘skin’, which becomes the wrapper.
In Vietnamese cuisine, bánh cuốn is made from a thin, wide sheet of this steamed rice batter, wrapped around a mixture of cooked, seasoned minced pork, shallots and strips of sliced Chinese black fungus (wood ear mushrooms). It is garnished with cut strips of green vegetables, shallots and steamed bean sprouts, on the side.
Banh Cuon Gia Truyen
Address: 12 Hàng Gà, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
2. Bún chả: A rice vermicelli dish
‘Bún chả’ is a dish that features round, fine, rice noodles, or vermicelli, served with a bowl of dipping sauce. It is usually paired with vegetables and some meat, for a fuller, wholesome meal, with vitamins from the vegetables or salad, carbohydrates from the 'Bún chả’, and protein from the meat like chicken, beef or pork. It can also be served with fried meat rolls or meat patties, in soup with vegetables. Depending on the talent of the cook, 'bún chả’ can be paired with a variety of other dishes and is a local delicacy, in Vietnam.
Bun Cha 34
Address: 34 Hàng Than, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
3. Phở: A noodle soup
Phở is a noodle soup, served piping hot, straight from the kitchen and cooked by local chefs in Vietnam. People who love meat dishes, especially pork, love this dish, in which the boiled meat is cooled first and sliced thinly, before it is added to the white noodles and garnished with chopped spring onions and cilantro. Finally, a chicken or pork broth is poured over the steamed noodles and it is served hot to customers.
Address: 13 Lò Đúc, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
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4. Bánh mì
Bánh mì is a Vietnamese sandwich. It is like the local version of the famous franchise Subway and it is made from a Vietnamese baguette, cut into halves and filled with chicken liver pate, mayonnaise and seasoning sauce, as well as lemongrass chicken, cucumber, chilis, pickled radish, carrots, cilantro and onions. Finally, it is drizzled with tomato sauce. For variety, cold cut lunch meat can replace the lemongrass chicken bánh mì and there is also a bacon and egg bánh mì, sprinkled with black pepper.
Banh Mì 25
Address: 25 Hàng Cá, Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Website: Banh Mì 25
5. Ca Kho To: Caramelized fish in clay pot
Ca Kho To is caramelized or salted fish, cooked in a clay pot. A generous portion of salted fish is first rinsed under water to clean it while removing excess salt from preservation. Garlic is then sauteed until brown on a hot pan, before onions and the salted fish are added and stirred together. Finally, seasonings, with the option of chilis are added to taste, with a savoury soup base, that is brought to a boil and simmered for about 20 minutes. In this meal, the type of fish used is usually catfish.
Dong Hoa Xuan Restaurant
Address: 49 Nơ Trang Long, 7, Bình Thạnh, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
6. Gỏi cuốn: Fresh spring rolls
Gỏi cuốn are spring rolls with vegetables, wrapped in an almost transparent rice-based skin. Consisting of pork belly, chicken breast, or braised shrimp, they also contain fresh greens, like lettuce, mint leaves, cilantro, perilla, garlic, chives and julienned cucumber. Gỏi cuốn are served with dipping sauce, garnished with crushed roasted peanuts. They provide a tasty, yet healthy delicacy. Discerning diners savour the crunchy succulent ingredients in small bites.
Quan An Ngon
Address: 18 Phan Bội Châu, Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Website: Quan An Ngon
7. Canh: Vietnamese soups
Canh is basically the name for Vietnamese soups, found in abundance throughout the streets of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. For instance, Vietnamese vegetable soup is called Canh Cải, where pork, chicken or beef make up the broth base and vegetables are added to a boil for a delicious, piping hot meal, paired with steamed, white rice. Julienned ginger is also added to the soup to add zest to the soup flavour, that is infused with meat and vegetables, mixed together.
Banh Canh Ghe Ut Coi
Address: 2B Quang Trung, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
Website: Banh Canh Ghe Ut Coi
8. Bánh xèo: Vietnamese crepes
Bánh xèo are Vietnamese crepes, made from rice flour, sugar, a pinch of salt, and turmeric, mixed together in a large bowl. Coconut milk is then added to make a thick batter, which is then poured over cooked chicken, shrimp, mung beans and bean sprouts. It looks like an omelette with the outsides crispy and the insides soft, yet tender.
Banh Xeo Zon Pancake
Address: 5 Lò Sũ, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm Lý Thái Tổ Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội, Vietnam
Website: Banh Xeo Zon Pancake
Scrumptious delicacies in Vietnam
Vietnam is famous for its many street foods and delicacies, that can be found in abundance in the market places and streets. The food is usually healthy and cooked in less oil or prepared with no oil at all. A variety of vegetables are used, with rice as the main staple, whether it’s rice flour, vermicelli noodles or rice, itself. Vietnam also has other delicacies, like chicken liver pate, spread on a cut baguette with many sauces added, for a sumptuous meal. It is a simple life here, and development is at a moderate pace.
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