Central Vietnam is an area with an extreme climate and barren. Therefore, the ingredients, such as meat and vegetables, are not diversified. People in Central Vietnam prefer salty and spicy dishes. Sometimes, they even consider whether a dish is good or not based on whether this dish is spicy enough or not. See below for what to eat in Central Vietnam.
Banh Khoai or Banh Xeo Mien Trung
Banh Xeo in Central Vietnam is not as colorful as the pancake of the Southern people. It is just a bit bigger than an adult’s hand and cooked in a mold. Banh Xeo Mien Trung has shrimps, a few pork slices, squid, and bean sprouts. Meanwhile, Banh khoai has herbs on the side, but the special peanut sauce distinguishes it from Banh xeo in the South.
Average Price: VND 20,000 – 60,000
Com/Mi/Bun Hen (Rice/Noodles/Vermicelli with Basket Clams)
Com hen is the traditional dish of people in Hue province, which used to be served to the royal in the Thanh Thai King period. Nowadays, it is a harmonious combination of rustic and royal characteristics. Com hen has a bit of heat from peppers, a strong smell of garlic, the crunchy and freshness of herbs, and the lightly sweet taste of basket clams. It is usually served with the broth used to boil the clams. Besides rice, the dish also has noodles or vermicelli noodles variations.
Average Price: VND 25,000 – 55, 000
Mi Quang is one of the most popular dishes in Quang Nam Province. Like Pho or rice vermicelli, Mi Quang noodles are also made from rice, but they are a bit chewier and softer than vermicelli. Its yellow color is usually from ingredients like anatto oil or food coloring. Another unique thing about Mi Quang is the broth, as it is almost a braised sauce instead of a soup.
Because of its tasty flavor and convenience, visitors can easily find a bowl of Mi Quang in almost all provinces of Vietnam nowadays. This popular dish is convenient because people can consider it in all meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even late dinner.
Average Price: VND 15,000 – 30,000
Banh Beo (Water-fern Cakes)
Banh beo is the soft white steamed rice cake eaten with green onion, ground shrimp, or pork, dipped in sweet and spicy fish sauce. Because of its round, flat shape like a water fern, people started calling it “beo”. Banh beo is perfect for breakfast or a light meal to fill your stomach during the day. You can find it at street vendors or in fancy restaurants, accompanied by sausages, banh bot loc (shrimp tapioca dumpling), and banh nam (ground pork steamed cake).
In Central Vietnam, each piece of Banh beo is served in a small dish. You will have to use a spoon or bamboo stick to scrape it out of the dish and dip it in fish sauce. However, in South Vietnam, you will usually see all the pieces taken out of the mold, placed on one dish, and served with a mung bean paste and shrimp flakes.
Average Price: VND 25,000 – 40,000
Bun Bo Hue
In terms of what to eat in Central Vietnam, Hue beef noodle soup has to be the most popular. It is famous from the South to the North, but only in the dreamy Hue City can you feel the full flavor and unique taste.
The noodles are thick, round, and white, with tender slices of beef tenderloin, a sweet and fragrant broth. Sometimes, pork is added to your soup, creating a flavor you may not forget.
Both Bun Bo Hue and Pho have the main ingredient, beef, but the soup and the noodles differ. Bun Bo Hue’s flavor is more decadent than Pho because the seasonings have more spices. As soon as you have the first taste, you will recognize it immediately.
Average Price: VND 35,000 – 70,000
Speaking of the ancient town of Hoi An, besides the architecture, everyone would think of the famous Cao Lau. This dish is extraordinary, from its name to how it was made. It is necessary to go through many complicated stages to have a silky yet a bit chewy and tough noodle.
Fresh noodles, thin, crispy fried noodles, and some sliced pork pieces are added with a bit of sweet broth and eaten with bitter vegetables. Every ingredient is combined to make the one-of-the-kind taste. After visiting beautiful Hoi An, stop at a street-side restaurant, serve yourself a Cao Lau bowl, and enjoy the particular taste of one of the most excellent choices for what to eat in Central Vietnam.
Some people may confuse Mi Quang with Cao Lau. If you focus more on the details, you will see a lot of differences between them. According to the cook, these two dishes have soup and noodle recipes. Also, the difference in topping foods may create a different taste.
Average Price: VND 25,000 – 40,000
Thanks to its flavor, Tre is a good choice for you to buy as a specialty of this region. It is pork sausage with pork, pig ear, tail, nose, galangal, fermented rice powder, and spices. Made from pork, Tre is considered a simple dish to make, and you can try it with many different dishes. Most people recommend trying Tre in Da Nang for its authentic flavor. Tre looks like a roll folded by several pieces of leaves, so you can store it for many days in the fridge or at room temperature and use it for lunch or dinner during the week.
The cake is made of flour, and more eggs, pork, and dried beef are added. And then, with a unique method, it is pressed between 2 pieces of aluminum plates on a charcoal stove.
Banh ep is served with a few herbs, a slice of lemon, cucumber, and fish sauce for anyone who wants the flavor to be more flavorful.
Average Price: VND 20,000 – 30,000
You can easily find this cake in the street vendors or local markets in many provinces and cities of the central region. The cake is an exciting combination of grilled rice and wet cake served with boiled and grilled meat. The name of this cake came from the way people eat it. People usually smash and break it into smaller pieces before eating. A piece of cake with a little spicy fish sauce will give you a great sense of delight when you eat.
Average Price: VND 15,000 – 25,000
Other Honorable Mentions for What to Eat in Central Vietnam
Popular in: Da Lat, Phan Thiet, Da Nang
Popular in: Vietnam’s central mountainous areas (Da Lat, Dak Lak, Buon Ma Thuot, etc.)
Popular in: Phan Thiet, Nha Trang
Popular in: Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Da Nang
Popular in: Hue, Da Lat
Summary of Vietnamese Food Tour: What to Eat in Central Vietnam
Besides the beautiful natural scenes, Vietnam is unique because of its diverse cuisine. Each region has its touch on food, which makes them one-of-a-kind. To add more flavor to your Central Vietnam trip, you must try these specialties to keep the memory of this land and experience a local taste.
Part 1: What to Eat in Northern Vietnam
Part 3: What to Eat in Southern Vietnam
Find Where to Stay in Central Vietnam: