A country that’s known for its natural beauty, rich culture, warm people and delicious food, Vietnam is one of the more popular destinations among tourists of all kinds. Whether looking to travel there on your honeymoon, travelling with a group of friends, keen on learning about history and culture or just looking to get away, Vietnam will not disappoint. Of all things that the country is famous for, its food certainly tops the list for me. Fresh, flavoursome and finger-licking good, definitely a winning combination in my books!
Some of the best food in Vietnam is found on its streets. Cheap, clean, fresh and delicious, you can’t go wrong with Vietnamese street food. From the ever-so-popular Pho (the national dish comprising of rice noodles in a flavoursome broth topped with meats and/or vegetables) to Bánh xèo (oyster omelette packed with crispy bean sprouts), Gỏi cuốn (fresh spring rolls filled with seafood or meat) and much much more. The experience itself is an adventure and a treat for the senses. A mixture of textures tastes and smells for just a few rupees (each meal at a street stall should cost you less than INR 100/-)
Originally brought to the country by the French, coffee has evolved into its own personality in Vietnam with different variations and combinations. Consumed for breakfast or sometimes even for dessert, coffee in Vietnam is so popular it even has its own street!
Vietnamese coffee is prepared using coarsely ground coffee beans placed in a metal filter which is then placed in a cup and filled with piping hot water. The water then drips into the cup resulting in the unique tasting Vietnamese coffee.
The variations of the coffee are:
Egg coffee – it is made by combining dark brewed coffee with a mixture of egg yolk and condensed milk to form a liquid tiramisu-like drink.
Yogurt coffee – this interesting variation is made by topping a glass of creamy yogurt with a small portion of coffee (that can then be topped off with fresh fruit, ice or coconut milk)
Condensed milk coffee – the most common variation, it is made by adding a few teaspoons of condensed milk into the cup before the filter coffee process.
Vietnamese desserts are unique not only in their taste but also in the ingredients used to make them. Ingredients like tapioca, cassava, taro, red beans are commonly used and give the desserts its unique taste and textures. Some of the more popular ones are:
Che Ba Mau: Made with red beans, green jelly and coconut milk, this colourful dessert is known as the three-coloured dessert. It can be either topped with crushed ice or customized to your liking by the dessert vendor.
Che Chuoi: A concoction of tapioca, banana and coconut cream topped with crispy cashews and sesame seeds. A mixture of flavours and textures, this dessert is a favourite among tourists and locals alike.
Banh Bong Lan: This Vietnamese sponge cake is light and fluffy and a perfect evening snack topped with either powdered sugar or the richer option- whipped cream.
From jellies to cakes to soups to drinks, the flavours of Vietnamese desserts are like no other. So try to get a sampling of as many desserts as you can because you’ll find nothing like it anywhere else!
Take a Cooking Class!
For a truly unique understanding of the Vietnamese cuisine, head to a local cooking class where you will not only be taken on a tour of the local market and guided at picking up the freshest produce but you will also be taught how to get the most out of them. The classes are inexpensive and the hosts are warm and patient and at the end of the class, you get to feast on the end products of the days cooking. A win-win if you ask me!
After all said and done, we have barely scratched the surface of what Vietnam has to offer. With its countless dishes and ever-evolving dessert menu, your sugar high will last for weeks after your trip so make sure you pack those stretchy pants because you’re going to need it on your next trip to delicious Vietnam.