Autumn “bánh căn”

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In Vietnam, before eating we say “Chúc ngon miệng!”-- meaning "enjoy your meal" (but of course you will.) While Vietnamese cuisine abroad still flies under the banners of phở and bánh mì, the full spectrum of Vietnamese food is a symphony of delightfully textured, bright và piquant flavours. The Vietnamese love their food & cooks make the most of each region"s abundance produce and special ingredients khổng lồ make their meals. Northern food is known for its simplicity; the dishes of central Vietnam are generous in spice & quantity; Southerners lượt thích to showroom sugar. Wherever you travel across the country, you"re sure to eat well.

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1. Phở


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With so many varieties, you"re bound khổng lồ find the perfect bánh mì on a trip to Vietnam. 

Baguettes may have been adopted from the French, but bánh mì is as Vietnamese as it comes. Paté và margarine are spread swiftly across the soft, chewy interior of a baguette & later, the sandwich is loaded with pickled vegetables, fresh cilantro, pork belly, pork floss & cucumber. Sink your teeth into the crunchy crust and watch the warm roll give way to a whole scheme of textures.

Try it: Banh My Phuong, 2B Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An

3. Cơm trắng Tấm

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Called "the greatest soup in the world" by the late Anthony Bourdain. 

Representing the legendary royal cuisine of Hue, bún bò huế is a mighty demonstration of both beauty và taste. The alarmingly red broth is the first signal of its striking flavour—the result of hours spent simmering beef bones & stalks of lemongrass to lớn produce a citrusy concoction. Flash boiled vegetables paired with tender beef shanks give this dynamic affair added vivacity. This may be a beef soup—the word  is Vietnamese for beef—but don’t be surprised when you see sausage lurking in the bowl. Chả lụa is a sausage made of mê man paste that has a texture reminiscent of tofu.

Try it: Quan Bun Bo Hue,19 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hue

5. Cao Lầu

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Thick noodles with a secret recipe, these are a must in Hoi An. 

A dish chất lượng to Hoi An, cao lầu is beyond compare. Saluting the history of the coastal trading port from where it originated, this sensuous bowl of noodles is a fusion of Japanese, Chinese & Vietnamese influences. Slices of Chinese barbecued pork are fanned over cao lầu noodles. These thick noodles, with the same heft as Japanese udon, are then doused with a spice-laden broth & topped with fresh herbs & crushed pork cracklings. Authentic cao lầu is said to be made from the water found in the thousand-year-old bố Le well in Hoi An, rumoured lớn have magical properties.

Try it: Thanh Cao Lau, 24 thai Phien St, Hoi An

6. Cơm Gà

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Chicken và rice is a foolproof combination. But in Hội An, this delicious duo is elevated using fresh ingredients from the countryside. Strips of tender chicken are shredded, mixed with flavoured fish sauce và onions khổng lồ accompany a bowl of turmeric rice. Pickled shallots, radish & herbs are served on the side. Cooks from all over the country have their own secrets to set their turmeric rice apart. Classic Hội An chicken rice is topped with a few leaves of Vietnamese coriander & hot mint to lớn balance out the zesty chicken marinade và soft, young eggs. After a day exploring the Ancient Town on foot, a plate of golden chicken rice is simply the perfect treat.

Try it: Com Ga Hien, 539 Hai bố Trung St, Hoi An

7. Mì Quảng

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Worth a slurp: try these scrumptious noodles on a trip to domain authority Nang. 

Part soup, part salad, mì quảng gracefully pulls off an identity crisis. That being said, don’t let the elegance of mì quảng fool you. This light & springy noodle dish from the Quang phái nam province in Central Vietnam is street food. The vibrantly yellow noodles owe their rich colour khổng lồ the turmeric-infused broth made rich with peanut oil. Only a ladleful is used in the making of this “soup”, which can be topped with anything from shrimp và chicken to pork belly and snakehead fish. Eat mì quảng with sliced banana flowers, Vietnamese coriander, basil and bánh tráng me, toasted sesame rice crackers.

Try it: Quan mày Quang ba Mua, 95 Nguyen Tri Phuong, Chinh Gian, Thanh Khe, domain authority Nang

8. Bánh Xèo

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Cripsy bánh xèo before it"s been rolled up in rice paper with fresh greens. 

A Mekong Delta creation, bánh xèo is widely eaten around south and central Vietnam. Watching the crispy crepe being assembled is an audio-visual experience: the batter crackles loudly when it hits the hot pan—xèo meaning sizzling—and the edges gradually curl & golden as the skilled xèo maker deftly swirls the pan to evenly spread out the dense batter. The batter, traditionally made from rice flour & coconut milk, owes its yellowish hue to the addition of turmeric. Another French-inspired delight, the savoury pancake is filled with slices of boiled pork, minced pork, bean sprouts và shrimp & then folded in the manner of a crepe. A bánh xèo shouldn’t be too soggy and is best appreciated fresh off the skillet.

Try it: Banh Xeo 46A, 46A D Dinh Cong Trang, District 3, Ho chi Minh City

9. Bún Chả 

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Hanoi"s iconic bún chả, with a side of nem rán (deep-fried spring rolls). 

Bún chả became an overnight sensation after President Obama was pictured scarfing down a bowl of these grilled pork patties with Anthony Bourdain. But this speciality of the Old Quarter in Hanoi has always been popular among the locals. Around lunchtime, the scent of pork grilling over hot charcoal wafts down the sidewalks, filling the noses of hungry Hanoians.

This classic northern dish is comprised of cold bún (rice vermicelli); slices of seasoned pork belly; a mountain of fresh herbs và salad greens; và last but not least, medallions of minced pork swimming in a bowl brimming with a fish sauce-based broth. The go-to approach is to scoop small bundles of bún into your broth bowl and rotate between eating the noodles, the pork and the greens. 

Try it: Bun phụ thân Huong Lien (also known as Bun phụ thân Obama), 24 Le Van Huu, Phan Dinh Ho, Hai tía Trung, Hanoi

10. Xôi

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Find multi-coloured xôi in the mountainous provinces of Northern Vietnam.

Xôi, Vietnamese sticky rice is a departure from other sticky rice interpretations in the region. The weighted, more dense glutinous staple is comes in a savoury or a sweet option. Xôi mặn, savoury xôi, is a popular, inexpensive breakfast fix. Hankering for something sweeter? There are over 20 types of xôi ngọt; but if you’re hoping lớn mesmerised, you’re in luck. Xôi ngũ sắc, the five-coloured xôi, is a psychedelic swirl of purple, green, red, yellow, and white, pigmented using natural plant extracts.

Try it: Xoi Yen, 35B Nguyen Huu Huan, Ly bầu To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

11. Bánh Bèo

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Bánh Bèo is a dish fit for royalty. 

More of an appetizer, bánh bèo is a quick fix from Hue in Central Vietnam. These steamed rice cakes come in bite-sized servings, akin lớn Vietnamese tapas. Each delicate, chewy disk is topped with a spoonful of creamy mung bean paste and toasted shrimps. The cakes are then trimmed with either croutons or the more indulgent tép mỡ—crunchy fried pork fat. At the centre of a good bánh bèo should be a dimple, signalling a well-steamed batch. This is paired nicely with nước chấm.

Try it: Quan Hanh, 11 Pho Duc Chinh (South Bank), Hue

12. Bún Riêu

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Hearty bún riêu is always served with shredded greens. 

The interplay between crab & tomato makes bún riêu a truly standout dish. A hearty soup bursting with acidity, the components of this meal include slippery bún, fresh crab meat, blocks of tofu và stewed tomatoes. Cooking an authentic bowl of bún riêu is a labour-intensive process. After the crab meat is separated from the body, the shell is then pulverized using a mortar and pestle & then strained through to form the base of the broth. Floating around the bowl are pillowy clusters of minced crab combined with ground pork and egg that melt in your mouth.

Xem thêm: Grilled Fish With Tangy Orange Sriracha Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce

Try it: Bún Riêu Cua Thanh Hồng, 42 Hòa Mã, Ngô Thì Nhậm, nhị Bà Trưng, Hanoi

13. Gỏi Cuốn

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Refreshing and light, gỏi cuốn dipped in fish sauce is perfection. 

An action-packed salad roll, gỏi cuốn is bursting at the seams with freshness. The semi-transparent skin is made from softened sheets of rice paper. Encased within is a stack of leafy greens, mint, coriander, some khung of protein & a stalk of garlic chive poking out from the snugly wrapped roll. The most common variety of gỏi cuốn is a surf and turf combo of pork tenderloin và shelled shrimp. The roll is either dunked in a bowl of nutty hoisin sauce or nước chấm.

Try it: Quan An Ngon, 18 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

14. Bánh Căn

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Similar to bánh khọt, but baked in the grill và eaten with broth. 

Bite-sized savoury pancakes bánh căn are a beloved south-central speciality. Made from a combination of rice batter, a cracked quail egg & green onions cooked over flame in an earthenware grill, each bite is more satisfying than the last. Traditionally served plain, bánh căn is now topped with either shrimp or pork and dipped in a bowl of broth loaded with green onions and a few floating meatballs.

Try it: Phan Rang, 106 Trương Định, Phường 9, Quận 3, Ho chi Minh City

15. Hủ Tiếu phái mạnh Vang

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A bowl of Hủ Tiếu phái mạnh Vang in best tasted in the Mekong Delta.

This is the standard street food thắng lợi in the south. The Vietnamese version of the kuy teav in Cambodia and guay tiew in Thailand, hủ tiếu is a bowl of noodles served either wet (nước) or dry (khô). Typically, an opaque broth made from pork bones is eaten with hủ tiếu noodles. The definitive rendition of hủ tiếu is Hủ Tiếu nam giới Vang. The recipe calls for pork on the bone, boiled liver, a quail egg & some shrimp. If you’re squeamish, ask them to hold off on the congealed pork blood chunks, which make their way into a bowl every now và then. The peppery broth speckled with chopped green onions also has a noticeable sweetness lớn it, coming from the addition of rock sugar.

Try it: Hu Tieu teo Huong, 152/7/2 Ly Chinh Thang, Ward 7, District 3, Ho bỏ ra Minh City

16. Chả Cá

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Aromatic & flavourful chả cá is a Hanoi staple. 

Perfumed with fresh dill, chả cá is a uniquely northern delicacy from the capital contrasting in flavours, textures & colours. Chunks of flaky white fish are marinated in turmeric before being sautéed in butter on high heat. Dill & green onion is then generously distributed across the skillet, feathering out across the pale yellow fish fillets lượt thích moss growing in wild abandon. It’s a very photogenic entrée so snap a picture while the dill is still wispy and not wilted from the blazing temperatures.

17. Nộm Hoa Chuối

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The ever-versatile nộm hoa chuối is can be enjoyed with rice or on its own. 

Nộm hoa chuối is a stunning array of shredded banana flowers tossed with pickled carrots, coriander, lotus root, & cabbage. Depending on the season, pomelo và julienned green mango or papaya can be added to lớn the jumble. In some preparations, you’ll find the addition of chicken, beef and/or shrimp although it can also be served as a vegetarian dish. The salad is bound with nước chấm sauce and decorated with crushed peanuts & bird’s eye chilli. For a refreshing punch, hit it with a squeeze of lime.

Try it: Mountain Retreat, 36 Le Loi, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho đưa ra Minh City

18. Bánh Cuốn

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A Hanoi breakfast staple, found in street stalls throughout the city. 

Made from large round sheets of steamed rice flour, gathered around minced pork & wood-ear mushroom and gently folded và chopped, bánh cuốn is a delight. This savoury treat is always made fresh-to-order, topped with dried shallots & served with a side bowl of fish sauce with pork sausage. Enjoy it for breakfast, lượt thích a local, & feel không lấy phí to showroom fresh herbs khổng lồ the mix and brighten up your bite. 

Try it:Bánh Cuốn 101 Bà Triệu, 147 Triệu Việt Vương, hai bà trưng District, Hanoi

19. Bún Chả Cá

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Be sure to try bún chả cá on a trip to the beach-side city of Nha Trang. 

Bún chả cá is a dish with many variations depending on where you find it. They all contain spaghetti-like rice vermicelli (bún), fish cakes (chả cá) & fresh herbs, with a little local twist. Pictured above, bún chả cá Nha Trang, from the central coastal city has the basic ingredients, plus bouncy squid cakes, dill, fried green onion & tomato, for a light và sour flavour. Slurp it up with a side of greens and a squeeze of lime.

Try it: Bún Cá Mịn 170 Bạch Đằng, Tân Lập, Nha Trang

20. Bún bò Cuốn Lá Lốt

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There are other variations of this dish, where water buffalo meat is used instead of beef.

A seared, crispy, leafy layer encases minced beef, garlic & shallots, sealing in juicy bites of bò lá lốt. This southern speciality is unexpected, with a merry meat phối rolled up in betel leaves like a small cigar, grilled over charcoal. The results are stupendous, peppery bursts of flavour that can be enjoyed with noodles or rolled up with rice paper & fresh herbs. Playful textures, dipped in a spicy fish sauce make bò lá lốt a must-try for meat-eaters when in Vietnam.

Try it: Cô Liêng, 321 Võ Văn Tần, District 3, Ho đưa ra Minh City

21. Chè

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Colourful varieties of cold chè are especially popular during the hot months

Chè is a sweet dessert, served either hot or cold & in the form of a pudding or dessert soup. Cold chè is filled with jellied ingredients and tropical fruits such as bananas, mangoes and longan, usually doused in coconut cream. Always a textural adventure, you"ll be surprised to lớn encounter coconut shreds, crushed ice, lotus seed và jellies in these syrupy snacks. The beautiful three-coloured dessert, chè cha màu is often called the rainbow dessert. This is a layered spectacle of red beans, mashed mung beans & pandan jelly, topped with crushed ice & coconut milk.