Restaurants In Vietnam: A Delicious Journey Through Local Cuisine
If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam or simply curious about the amazing culinary experiences this Southeast Asian country has to offer, you’re in for a treat. This guide is here to help you navigate the diverse food landscape of Vietnam and discover some of the best restaurants to enjoy during your visit. From bustling street food markets to upscale dining venues, Vietnam’s culinary scene is as diverse as it is delicious.
A Brief Introduction to Vietnamese Cuisine
At its core, Vietnamese cuisine is a harmonious blend of fresh ingredients, vibrant herbs, and well-balanced flavors. While regional variations do exist, some common elements include the use of fish sauce, rice, fresh vegetables, and herbs like mint, cilantro, and basil. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is also known for its emphasis on minimal oil usage and lighter preparations, making it a healthy choice for many.
Must-Try Dishes in Vietnam
Before diving into specific restaurants, let’s first explore some of the dishes you absolutely must try during your time in Vietnam:
- Pho: This iconic Vietnamese noodle soup is a staple across the country. Made with a rich, flavorful broth, rice noodles, and thinly sliced meat (usually beef or chicken), it’s a comforting and satisfying meal.
- Banh Mi: This delicious sandwich is a perfect example of Vietnamese cuisine’s French influence. Served on a crisp baguette, it’s filled with various meats, pâté, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs.
- Bun Cha: A Hanoi specialty, this dish features grilled pork served over rice noodles and accompanied by a flavorful dipping sauce and fresh herbs.
- Banh Xeo: These savory rice flour pancakes are filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and herbs, and served with a dipping sauce.
Top Restaurants in Vietnam: A City-by-City Guide
- Pho Gia Truyen: Also known as Pho Bat Dan, this modest restaurant in the heart of Hanoi serves some of the best pho in town. Be prepared to queue up and enjoy your meal at a shared table for a truly authentic experience.
- Bun Cha Ta: If you’re looking for a delicious and authentic bun cha experience, look no further. This cozy restaurant offers a warm atmosphere and delicious grilled pork served with rice noodles and fresh herbs.
- Quan An Ngon: This popular eatery combines the best of Vietnamese street food with a more comfortable, sit-down atmosphere. Sample a variety of regional specialties from the different food stations and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
- Banh Mi Huynh Hoa: Widely regarded as the best banh mi spot in the city, this humble shop offers a mouthwatering selection of sandwiches. Be prepared for a bit of a wait, but rest assured, it’s worth it.
- Secret Garden: Located on a rooftop in the heart of the city, this hidden gem offers a peaceful atmosphere and a menu featuring home-cooked Vietnamese dishes. It’s a great spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city below.
- Cục Gạch Quán: Housed in a beautifully restored colonial villa, this restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. The menu changes daily, so you’ll always find something new and delicious to try.
- Morning Glory: Owned by renowned chef and restaurateur Ms. Vy, Morning Glory offers a mix of traditional and modern Vietnamese dishes. Don’t miss the chance to try their signature dish, Cao Lau, a Hoi An specialty featuring chewy noodles, succulent pork, and fresh herbs.
- Banh Mi Phuong: Featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, this humble eatery serves some of the best banh mi in the country. With a variety of fillings and homemade sauces, you’ll want to try more than one.
- STREETS International: This unique restaurant provides vocational training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youths in Hoi An. Enjoy a meal here and not only will you be treated to delicious Vietnamese dishes, but you’ll also be supporting a great cause.
- Mì Quảng 1A: This no-frills restaurant is known for its delicious Mi Quang, a noodle dish originating from the Quang Nam province. Featuring rice noodles, flavorful broth, and an array of toppings, it’s a must-try when in Da Nang.
- Nén Restaurant: Owned by Chef Duc, a former contestant on Top Chef Vietnam, Nén Restaurant offers a modern take on traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The tasting menu is a fantastic way to sample a variety of dishes, all beautifully presented and bursting with flavor.
- Bamboo2 Bar Danang: Located on the bustling Bach Dang Street, this laid-back spot offers tasty food, refreshing drinks, and fantastic views of the Han River. The menu includes both Vietnamese and Western dishes, so there’s something for everyone.
From humble street food stalls to elegant dining establishments, Vietnam’s culinary scene offers something for every palate. This guide is just a small taste of what the country has to offer, so be sure to explore further and let your taste buds lead the way.