Imagine sitting down to a meal that bursts with fresh flavors, tantalizing your taste buds and transporting you to the vibrant streets of Vietnam. From savory pho to zesty banh mi, Vietnamese cuisine offers a delightful array of dishes that are both delicious and packed with unique flavors. Whether you prefer the aromatic combination of lemongrass and fish sauce or the invigorating heat of chili peppers, there is a Vietnamese recipe out there waiting to become your new favorite. So, why not embark on a culinary adventure and discover your own go-to Vietnamese dish? If you’re someone who enjoys trying new and exotic dishes, then you’re in for a treat with Vietnamese cuisine. Known for its delicious and flavorful dishes, Vietnamese recipes are a perfect blend of fresh ingredients, herbs, and spices. From hearty noodle soups to tangy salads, there is something to satisfy every taste bud. In this article, we will explore some of the most traditional Vietnamese recipes, as well as some fusion recipes that combine Vietnamese flavors with a modern twist.
Traditional Vietnamese Recipes
Pho, pronounced “fuh,” is perhaps one of the most well-known Vietnamese dishes. This hearty and aromatic noodle soup is made with a flavorful beef or chicken broth, rice noodles, and tender meat. The broth is simmered for hours with ingredients such as star anise, ginger, and cinnamon, giving it a rich and savory taste. Served with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime, and chili peppers on the side, pho is a complete meal in itself.
Originating from the French influence in Vietnam, banh mi is a delicious Vietnamese sandwich that combines crispy baguette with a variety of fillings. Traditionally, banh mi is filled with layers of marinated grilled pork, pâté, pickled vegetables, and herbs, creating a perfect balance of flavors and textures. However, there are also vegetarian options available, such as tofu or mushroom banh mi. The combination of crunchy bread, savory fillings, and tangy pickles make this a truly delightful and satisfying meal.
Goi cuon, also known as fresh spring rolls, are a refreshing and healthy Vietnamese appetizer or snack. Made with rice paper wrappers filled with fresh vegetables, herbs, and a protein such as shrimp, pork, or tofu, goi cuon is a burst of flavors and textures. These rolls are usually served with a peanut dipping sauce that adds a touch of sweetness and nuttiness to complement the fresh ingredients. Perfect for hot summer days or as a light appetizer, goi cuon is a crowd pleaser.
Bun cha is a popular Vietnamese dish that consists of grilled pork served with rice vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a tangy dipping sauce. The pork is marinated in a mixture of fish sauce, garlic, and sugar before being grilled to perfection. The flavorful and tender meat is then served with the noodles and herbs, creating a delicious and satisfying meal. Bun cha is often eaten with a side of nem, which are grilled pork patties, adding an extra layer of flavor to the dish.
Banh xeo, also known as Vietnamese sizzling pancakes, are savory pancakes filled with a combination of shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and green onions. The batter is made from a mixture of rice flour, turmeric powder, and coconut milk, giving the pancakes their distinctive yellow color and a slightly crispy texture. Once cooked, banh xeo is traditionally wrapped in lettuce leaves and fresh herbs, then dipped in a savory fish sauce. These pancakes are not only visually appealing but also bursting with flavor.
Deliciously Tangy Salads
Green Mango Salad
If you’re looking for a salad that’s both refreshing and tangy, then look no further than the green mango salad. Made with shredded green mango, julienned carrots, bell peppers, and herbs, this salad is a medley of flavors and textures. The dressing, usually a mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and chili, adds a sweet and sour element that pairs perfectly with the crispness of the vegetables. Topped with crushed peanuts for some added crunch, green mango salad is a true delight.
Pomelo Salad with Shrimp
Pomelo salad with shrimp is another popular Vietnamese dish that combines sweet and juicy pomelo segments with succulent shrimp, fresh herbs, and a tangy dressing. The pomelo, which is similar to a grapefruit, adds a refreshing and citrusy flavor to the salad, while the shrimp provides a protein-packed element. The dressing, usually made from a combination of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and garlic, ties all the flavors together and creates a harmonious balance. Pomelo salad with shrimp is a perfect choice for those looking for a light yet flavorful salad.
Lotus Stem Salad
Lotus stem salad is a unique and delightful Vietnamese dish that showcases the versatility of lotus stems. The lotus stems are thinly sliced and combined with a variety of crisp vegetables, such as cucumber, carrot, and jicama. Tossed with a tangy dressing made from fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and garlic, lotus stem salad is a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and savory flavors. The crunchiness of the lotus stems adds an interesting texture to the salad, making it a refreshing and satisfying option.
Satisfying Rice Dishes
Com tam, also known as broken rice, is a popular Vietnamese rice dish that is both satisfying and flavorful. Traditionally made from broken rice grains, com tam is served with a variety of toppings, such as grilled pork chops, shredded pork skin, and a fried egg. The dish is often accompanied by pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, and a side of fish sauce for dipping. The combination of tender and succulent pork, fragrant rice, and the sweet and tangy fish sauce creates a truly delicious and comforting meal.
Caramelized Fish in Clay Pot
Caramelized fish in clay pot, or ca kho to, is a classic Vietnamese dish that showcases the art of slow cooking. The fish, usually catfish or basa, is simmered in a caramel sauce made from fermented fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and ginger. This combination of ingredients gives the dish a sweet, savory, and slightly smoky flavor. The fish becomes tender and succulent as it absorbs the flavors from the caramel sauce, creating a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Served with steamed rice and a side of pickled vegetables, caramelized fish in clay pot is a hearty and satisfying rice dish.
Fried Rice with Seafood
Fried rice with seafood is a versatile and delicious Vietnamese dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or a side dish. Made with fragrant jasmine rice, a medley of seafood such as shrimp, squid, and crab meat, and a variety of vegetables, this dish is packed with flavors. The rice is stir-fried with fish sauce, garlic, and soy sauce, giving it a savory and aromatic taste. With the combination of tender seafood and fluffy rice, fried rice with seafood is a satisfying and fulfilling option.
Delectable Noodle Soups
Bun Bo Hue
If you’re a fan of spicy and flavorful soups, then bun bo hue is a must-try Vietnamese dish. Hailing from the central region of Vietnam, this noodle soup is made with beef, pork, and a spicy lemongrass-infused broth. The broth is simmered for hours with ingredients such as lemongrass, shrimp paste, and chili peppers, resulting in a robust and fragrant flavor. Served with thick rice noodles, juicy slices of beef, and a variety of fresh herbs, bun bo hue is a complex and deeply satisfying noodle soup.
Mien ga, also known as chicken glass noodle soup, is a comforting and nourishing Vietnamese soup made with chicken and glass noodles. The chicken is simmered until tender and the broth is flavored with ginger and onions, creating a delicate and flavorful base. The glass noodles, made from mung bean starch, absorb the flavors of the broth and add a chewy texture to the soup. Topped with shredded chicken, herbs, and fried shallots, mien ga is a light and healthy option for those seeking a delicious noodle soup.
Mi quang is a popular specialty from the Quang Nam province in central Vietnam. This noodle soup is characterized by its yellow turmeric broth, thick rice noodles, and a variety of toppings such as shrimp, pork, and quail eggs. The broth is made from a combination of pork bone stock, turmeric powder, and fish sauce, creating a fragrant and savory flavor. Topped with fresh herbs, roasted peanuts, and crispy rice crackers, mi quang is not only visually appealing but also bursting with flavors. This unique and delicious noodle soup is a must-try for any Vietnamese cuisine enthusiast.
Fresh and Flavorful Seafood
Garlic Butter Shrimp
Garlic butter shrimp is a simple and flavorful Vietnamese dish that showcases the natural sweetness and succulence of shrimp. This dish typically starts with large shrimp that are sautéed in a fragrant garlic and butter sauce until they turn pink and become slightly caramelized. The combination of garlic and butter creates a rich and aromatic flavor that complements the sweetness of the shrimp. Served with steamed rice or a side of noodles, garlic butter shrimp is a quick and delicious seafood option.
Grilled Lemongrass Fish
Grilled lemongrass fish, or cha ca, is a famous Vietnamese dish that originated from Hanoi. The fish, usually catfish or basa, is marinated in a mixture of lemongrass, turmeric, and fish sauce before being grilled to perfection. The result is a fragrant and flavorful fish that is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Served with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a tangy dipping sauce, grilled lemongrass fish is a delightful and vibrant seafood dish that is sure to impress.
Crispy Salt and Pepper Calamari
Crispy salt and pepper calamari is a popular appetizer in Vietnamese cuisine. The calamari, coated in a light and crispy batter, is deep-fried until golden brown and seasoned with salt and pepper. This simple yet delicious dish allows the natural flavor of the calamari to shine through, while the salt and pepper add a subtle kick. Served with a side of lime wedges and a dipping sauce, crispy salt and pepper calamari is a perfect accompaniment to any meal or a tasty snack on its own.
Tropical Fruit Desserts
Che Thai is a refreshing and colorful Vietnamese dessert made with a variety of tropical fruits and sweet coconut milk. This dessert often includes a combination of fruits such as lychee, longan, jackfruit, watermelon, and mango, all mixed together in a sweet syrup. Topped with shaved ice and drizzled with coconut milk, Che Thai is a delightful treat that is both visually appealing and bursting with fruity flavors. Perfect for hot summer days or as a sweet ending to a meal, this dessert is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Banh Chuoi Nuong
Banh chuoi nuong, or banana cake, is a popular Vietnamese dessert that showcases the natural sweetness and creaminess of bananas. Ripe bananas are mashed and mixed with coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and a touch of vanilla before being baked to perfection. The result is a moist and fragrant cake with a tender crumb and a subtle banana flavor. Served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar, banh chuoi nuong is a comforting and satisfying dessert that is perfect for any occasion.
Mango and Sticky Rice
Mango and sticky rice is a classic Thai dessert that has found its way into Vietnamese cuisine. This dessert consists of sweet sticky rice, cooked with coconut milk and sugar, served with ripe mango slices on top. The sticky rice becomes soft and chewy, while the sweet and juicy mango provides a refreshing contrast. The combination of flavors and textures makes mango and sticky rice a perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess. This tropical dessert is a great way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Vietnamese coffee is known for its strong and bold flavor, making it a favorite among coffee enthusiasts. Traditionally, Vietnamese coffee is made using a metal drip filter, which slowly drips hot water over a layer of finely ground coffee. The result is a strong and aromatic brew that can be enjoyed either hot or cold. Vietnamese coffee is often sweetened with condensed milk, which adds a creamy and indulgent element to the beverage. This delicious and energizing drink is perfect for any time of the day.
Sinh To Bo (Avocado Smoothie)
Sinh to bo, also known as avocado smoothie, is a popular beverage in Vietnam that is both creamy and refreshing. Made with ripe avocados, sweetened condensed milk, and ice, this smoothie is a perfect blend of flavors and textures. The creamy avocado provides a rich and smooth consistency, while the sweet condensed milk adds a touch of sweetness. Sinh to bo is a great way to cool down on a hot day or to enjoy as a sweet treat.
Lemongrass tea is a fragrant and soothing beverage that is commonly enjoyed in Vietnam. Lemongrass, known for its citrusy and aromatic qualities, is brewed with hot water to create a flavorful and refreshing tea. This tea can be enjoyed as is or sweetened with honey or sugar, depending on personal preference. Lemongrass tea not only provides a calming and comforting experience but also aids in digestion and promotes overall well-being. Sip on a cup of lemongrass tea to relax and rejuvenate.
Light and Healthy Vegetarian Options
Stuffed Tofu in Tomato Sauce
Stuffed tofu in tomato sauce, or dau sot ca chua, is a flavorful and satisfying vegetarian dish that is packed with protein. Firm tofu is hollowed out and filled with a mixture of vegetables, such as mushrooms, carrots, and onions, before being simmered in a tangy tomato sauce. The result is tender and flavorful tofu with a savory and slightly tangy sauce. Served with steamed rice or a side of noodles, stuffed tofu in tomato sauce is a wholesome and delicious option for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.
Vegetarian pho is a flavorful and hearty noodle soup that is perfect for those following a plant-based diet. Instead of meat, this version of pho is made with a vegetable broth that is simmered with aromatic spices such as star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. The broth is then served with rice noodles, a variety of vegetables, tofu or tempeh, and an assortment of fresh herbs. Topped with bean sprouts and a squeeze of lime, vegetarian pho is a light yet satisfying meal that is bursting with flavors.
Stir-fried Morning Glory
Stir-fried morning glory, also known as water spinach, is a simple yet delicious Vietnamese vegetable dish. Morning glory is stir-fried with garlic, soy sauce, and a touch of sugar, resulting in a crunchy and flavorful side dish. This vegetable is known for its tender stems and mild taste, making it a versatile and healthy addition to any meal. Stir-fried morning glory is a great way to incorporate more greens into your diet and add a pop of color to your plate.
Exotic Sauces and Dips
Nuoc cham is a popular Vietnamese dipping sauce that is used in many dishes to add a burst of flavor. Made from a combination of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and garlic, this sauce is both sweet, sour, and savory. Nuoc cham is commonly served with spring rolls, grilled meats, and noodle dishes, enhancing the flavors of the main ingredients. The balance of flavors in nuoc cham creates a truly unique and delicious sauce that is loved by many.
Hoisin sauce is a thick and sweet condiment commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine. Made from a mixture of soybeans, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and spices, hoisin sauce adds depth and richness to dishes. This sauce is often used as a glaze for grilled meats, a dipping sauce for spring rolls, or as a flavoring agent in stir-fries. With its complex and savory flavor, hoisin sauce is a versatile and indispensable ingredient in Vietnamese cooking.
Fish Sauce Dip
Fish sauce dip, or mam nem, is a pungent and flavorful dipping sauce that is beloved by many Vietnamese people. Made from fermented fish sauce, sugar, garlic, chili, and lime juice, this sauce has a strong umami flavor that adds depth to any dish. Fish sauce dip is often served with grilled meats, fresh spring rolls, or as a dressing for salads. Despite its strong aroma, this sauce is surprisingly addictive and can elevate the flavors of any dish it accompanies.
Fusion Vietnamese Recipes
Vietnamese tacos are a fusion of Vietnamese and Mexican flavors, combining the freshness of Vietnamese ingredients with the satisfying crunch of a taco shell. These tacos typically consist of grilled marinated meats, such as lemongrass chicken or pork belly, served in a warm tortilla. The fillings are then topped with pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of sauce, creating a unique and delicious combination of flavors. Vietnamese tacos are a perfect example of how different cultural cuisines can come together to create something truly special.
Pho burger is a modern twist on the classic Vietnamese pho, combining the flavors of pho with the convenience of a burger. This burger typically features a juicy beef patty infused with pho spices, topped with bean sprouts, fresh herbs, and a pho-inspired sauce. Served on a toasted bun, the pho burger offers a unique combination of savory, aromatic, and fresh flavors. This fusion dish is a creative way to enjoy the beloved flavors of pho in a handheld and satisfying form.
Vietnamese pizza, also known as banh trang nuong, is a popular street food snack that combines the simplicity of a pizza with Vietnamese flavors. Instead of a traditional pizza dough, this dish uses a crispy rice paper as the base. The rice paper is topped with various ingredients such as ground pork, quail eggs, spring onions, and cheese. Grilled until crispy and slightly charred, Vietnamese pizza is a crowd-pleasing snack that showcases the creativity and versatility of Vietnamese cuisine.
In conclusion, Vietnamese cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes that are bursting with fresh flavors and ingredients. From traditional recipes that showcase the rich history and culture of Vietnam to fusion dishes that combine Vietnamese and international flavors, there is something to satisfy every palate. Whether you’re a fan of noodle soups, rice dishes, salads, seafood, or desserts, Vietnamese cuisine will surely leave you wanting more. So, go ahead and explore the delicious world of Vietnamese recipes, and let your taste buds embark on a culinary journey like no other.