This delicious aromatic breakfast soup has a broth that is often cooked for over 10 hours to really allow all the flavours to seep out. Bones are boiled with a mix of spices such as cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, roasted onion and garlic. Served with rice noodles, beef and a mix of herbs like coriander, mint and chilli it’s the best way to start the day! Anyone who knows me knows that I love waking up to a savoury breakfast so I was in heaven in Vietnam eating pho every morning!
2) Sugar Cane Juice (Nước mía)
Everywhere you go in South East Asia you’ll find little street carts pressing giant stems of sugar cane into what I believe it the best drink in the world. The frothy sweet drink is incredibly refreshing during a day under the hot sun. Beware the sugar rush though, I have definitely overdone it!
3) Grilled Seafood
There’s no better meal than a plate of grilled seafood at one of the many night markets in Vietnam. Charred prawns doused with lime juice anyone?
4) Pork Spring Rolls (Chả giò)
Personally I think the Vietnamese are winning when it comes to the spring roll competition. The tasty minced pork filling is wrapped in rice paper and then deep fried to create the golden crispy crust. Wrap your spring rolls in lettuce and drizzle with hot sauce for pure perfection .
5) Grilled Pork (Thịt heo nướng)
Anywhere you wander in the cities, you’ll see meat being grilled on the street and it somehow always is filled with chargrilled flavour and tastes. Served with vermicelli noodles or in the famous banh mi…
6) Bánh mì
This term actually means the baguette bread that was brought over by the French, however it is now synonymous with the Vietnamese sandwiches, spread with chicken liver paté and filled with grilled meat, pickled carrots, cucumber, fresh herbs like coriander and spices. Perfect meal when you’re on the hoof.
7) Cassava Root
Not so much an every day treat anymore, this was a source of energy for the Vietcong fighters in the tunnels during the Vietnam war. Steamed or boiled and served with crushed peanut and chilli to coat the Cassava sticks with, it was a great pick me up when wandering around the Cu Chi tunnels.
8) Pancake (Bánh Xèo)
Made from rice flour, water and tumeric powder for the yellow colour and subtle flavour. Bánh Xèo actually means ‘sizzling cake’ because of the sizzling noise when the batter hits the hot pan. Can be filled or topped with whatever you like!
9) Fresh Fruit
Again, anywhere you go in Asia you’re bound to have some of the freshest, juiciest fruit you could possibly imagine and Vietnam is no exception. Even dragon fruit is delicious here, and everyone knows dragon fruit can be so bland, despite its fierce name and beautiful colour!
10) Puffed Rice Ball (Xôi chiên phồng)
A very unusual dish that I only had the chance to try once, this bizarre dessert is a puffed up grain of rice, cooked with cane sugar and coconut milk. It’s soft so you can deflate it to get a kind of sweet pancake in texture. Though it looks more like some sort of Dinosaur Egg – I promise it’s worth trying!
11) Com Ice Cream
Com is the term for the young green glutinous rice, before it has matured, and it makes the best flavour for ice cream. Subtle but really refreshing and creamy.