Five delicious Vietnamese street foods
Delicious and healthy Vietnamese street food is so popular right now
Vietnamese street food and cuisine seems to be enjoying somewhat of a popularity boom right now, and for those of us who get to eat it on a regular basis its not hard to understand why. Awesomely tasty and tremendously healthy, eating Vietnam style is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. And here in Sai Gon its also really easy on the pocket. I think these days most people know about Pho, Banh Mi and Café Da but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. See below for the Sai Gon Buddy Tours list of some less well known but utterly delicious Viet food (and one that we tried once and never again!!) On our street food tour we go for the classics – Banh Mi, Banh Xeo and Oc – but see below for some other less well known delicacies.
- Banh Canh Cua
Thick squidgy noodles, delicately spiced soup, crab meat – what’s not to like? Possibly small pieces of crab shell in your bowl. That’s what. But it’s a small price to pay for a dish like this. Literally translated as ‘Crab soup cake’, the dish has a thicker soup than Bun Bo Hue or Pho, delicious at any time of the day.
- Bun Rieu
Another crab flavoured dish, this one, unusually for Viet cooking is heavy on the tomatoes. Again it’s a noodle soup (awfully fond of noodle soup, the Vietnamese) that has about a million different ingredients. It’s not the best looking dish I’ve ever clapped eyes on that’s for sure, but it tastes great. Vermicelli noodles, banana flower, tofu and crab paste make this bad boy what it is. Additionally, most dishes of Bun Rieu will contain what I consider to be my nemesis in Viet food – Huyet. Huyet is a congealed square of jelly like pig’s blood, and if you don’t fancy it, you can ask the seller/staff to leave it off. That’s if you know the Vietnamese for ‘please don’t put a lump of congealed pig’s blood in my noodles’.
- Com Suon
Noodle Soups and Salads seem to hog the limelight when it comes to raving about Vietnamese street food. Com (rice) however is what fuels the Vietnamese day after day. And king of the com dishes is Com Suon. If Pho and Bun Bo Hue are John and Paul then Com Suon is definitely George. The underappreciated glue that holds the whole thing together, I don’t know what that makes Ringo – maybe a nice Banh Mi or Sinh To, I didn’t think the analogy through that far. Com Suon is a pork chop that has been left to marinate since 1993 in garlic, lemongrass, and herbs and spices, cooked over charcoal and served on broken rice with tomatoes and cucumber, as always to the side of the plate we have Nuoc Cham (fish sauce, with sugar, lime, lotus root and carrot), and just like George it’s a personal favourite of mine.
- Banh Khot
The less well known cousin to Banh Xeo, Banh Khot is tiny pancakes that are cooked over clay pots in in specially made cooking moulds. The basic premise is the same, a batter made from rice flour seasoned with garlic and herbs and whilst cooking shrimp, pork and onions are added. You can get the little blighters Vegetarian style and a lot of places offer this alongside the regular ones. Eaten with salad and dunked in fish sauce (there isn’t much in the way of Vietnamese street food that isn’t dunked in fish sauce) it’s easy to polish off 5 or 6 in one sitting – to be honest I could do twice that amount without blinking, but that’s my issue.
- Bo La Lot
Incredibly hard to pronounce but unbelievably easy to enjoy Bo La Lot (it’s the falling and rising tones, trying to say it right makes you sound like a spotty 14-year-old boy knee deep in the wonder of his voice breaking) is minced beef wrapped in piper lolot leaves then grilled over charcoal and served with noodles (no soup though – controversial) and salad veggies. It’s the usual deal of assemble then wrap and – you know what’s coming don’t you – dunk in fish sauce.
And the one to avoid
Hot Vit Lon
Another Viet food that is tremendously difficult to pronounce is Hot Vit Lon but that’s not really a bad thing as no one in their right mind should be asking for this. Let’s get to it – Hot Vit Lon is basically a semi formed duck embryo served inside its shell. Beak, Feathers, the lot. Probably served with fish sauce.
If you want to come with us for a street food adventure and a great evening check out our site.