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At the fish market in Hoi An.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Vietnam

Vietnam Restaurants & Eating

  
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Food sits at the very centre of Vietnamese culture: every significant holiday on the Vietnamese cultural calendar, all the important milestones in a Vietnamese person's life, and indeed, most of the important day-to-day social events and interactions - food plays a central role in each. Special dishes are prepared and served with great care for every birth, marriage and death, and the anniversaries of ancestors' deaths. More business deals are struck over dinner tables than over boardroom tables, and when friends get together, they eat together. Preparing food and eating together remains the focus of family life.

Vietnamese cuisine

Vietnamese cuisine varies slightly from region to region, with many regions having their own specialities. Generally, northern Vietnamese cuisine is known for being bland while southern Vietnamese cuisine is known for being spicy.
At the same time, the Vietnamese are surprisingly modest about their cuisine. (And old proverb/joke says that a fortunate man has a Western (French) house, Japanese wife, and Chinese chef.) High-end restaurants tend to serve "Asian-fusion" cuisine, with elements of Thai, Japanese, and Chinese mixed in.

The most authentic Vietnamese food is found at street side "restaurants" (A collection of plastic outdoor furniture placed on the footpath), with most walk-in restaurants being mainly for tourists. Definite regional styles exist -- northern, central, and southern, each with unique dishes. Central style is perhaps the most celebrated, with dishes such as mi quang (wheat noodles with herbs, pork, and shrimp), banh canh cua (crab soup with thick rice noodles) and bun bo Hue (beef soup with herbs and noodles).

Food hawkers ply the streets in Ho Chi Minh City.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Eateries

In rural and regional areas it is usually safest to eat the locally grown types of food as these are usually bought each day from the market. It is not uncommon, that after you have ordered your meal a young child of the family will be seen running out the back towards the nearest market to purchase the items.

Most restaurants/cafes in Vietnam will have a bewildering variety of food available. It is very common for menus to be up to 10-15 pages. These will inlcude all types of vietnamese food, plus some token western food, possibly some chinese and maybe a pad thai as well. It is generally best to stick with the specialty of the area as this food will be the freshest and also the best prepared.

Vegetarian food

Vegetarian food is quite easy to find anywhere in Vietnam due in large part to the Buddhist influence. These restaurants will run from upscale to street stall. Basically any Vietnamese dish with meat can be made vegetarian with the abundance of fake meats. Besides the Buddhist influence of 2 vegetarian days a month, Cao Dai people eat vegetarian 16 days, and followers of the bizarre Quan Yin method eat vegan daily. Look for any sign that says Com Chay or simply remember the phrase An Chay.

Vietnamese spring rolls. Also available as a fried version.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Coffee, bread and pastries

Coffee, baguettes, and pastries were originally introduced by the French colonials, but all three have been localized and remain popular contemporary aspects of Vietnamese cuisine. More on cà phê below, but coffee shops that also serve light fare can be found in almost village and on multiple street corners in the bigger cities.

Bánh mì Hanoi are French bread sandwiches: freshly baked white bread baguettes filled with grilled meats or liver or pork pâté, plus fresh herbs and vegetables. Most pastry shops serve a variety of sweets and quick foods, and are now owned by Vietnamese.

Seafood

If you like seafood, you may find heaven in Vietnam. The ultimate seafood experience is traveling to a seaside village or beach resort area in the south to try the local seafood restaurants that often serve shrimp, crab, and locally-caught fish. Follow the locals to a good restaurant: the food will still be swimming when you order it, it will be well-prepared, very affordable by Western standards, and often served in friendly surroundings with spectacular views.

Restaurants in Vietnam

International Daluva
Wine and Tapas Bar/Restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food caters for all tastes including vegetarians. Ranging from small tapas plates to main courses of hearty Western and Asian fare. It's a modern p... more
 1 Fans, Mid Range, in Hanoi
Cafe, Light Food, Soups, Tea Milano Planet
It's a restaurant-coffee. Located in the one of most animed street, you could enjoy vietnamese ambiance of the district 3. Milano Planet is specialised in fresh italian pasta, lasagna, paella and beefsteak, cake (pate à chou, fruit cake, chocolate cake), ... more
in Ho Chi Minh City
 
Local Dong Ba
This is a shop that sells Hue food including Hue beef noodles and traditional banh beo rice cakes.
in Ho Chi Minh City
Cafe, Light Food, Soups, Tea Pao Restaurant & Caffe
This restaurant is just open on May 2009 but very unique decor with all small instruments, traditional dress, hats, of the minority ethnic group in North of Vietnam. Truly Vietnamese food like Spring rolls, Hot pot, Pho with reasonable price 35 000 -60 000 VND. ... more
in Ho Chi Minh City
 
Local Pho Bo Vien Quoc Ky
A nice and cheap place for a soup. Try the sate version of the usual Pho or My: a spicy delicacy!
in Ho Chi Minh City
Middle Eastern Doner Kebab
Inside the backpacker area, you could easily find this small hawk. 18,000d for each Turkish Kebab.
in Ho Chi Minh City
 
Dessert Dream Cones
What a great respite in such a hot and heaving city. Gelato ice cream for less than 16,000 dong a scoop. Nice quirky and cool neon atmosphere, with lots of white leather seating. Free unlimited (unsweetened) iced tea served with your ice cream they pour at your table.
in Ho Chi Minh City
Middle Eastern Falafellim
Homemade falafel, tahini and hummus in soft pita bread pockets. Sadly it has closed, but has reopened (in a sense) in the guise of a small Kosher restaurant down the alley at 121/37 Le Loi.
in Ho Chi Minh City
 
Local Pho 2000
3 locations, one sharing space with I Love Burger, one right next to Ben Thanh Market, and the last toward the end of Le Thanh Ton Street. Was honored by a visit from Bill Clinton. Has excellent pho (including a seafood version), along with the usual V... more
in Ho Chi Minh City
Local Pho 24
Clean modern chain found everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City. Excellent beef noodle soup, very cheap.
in Ho Chi Minh City
 
These are just 10 of 214 Restaurants in Vietnam. Show more.




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