Street foods are in every corner in Vietnam, a paradise of flavorful and delicious food. Trying the food from vendors and eating them when sitting down on the streets are said to be a must when coming to Vietnam, giving you an unforgettable experience.
There are loads of Vietnamese snacks and street eats in the 3 regions, the North, the Center, and the South. The distinct culture and cuisine somehow create signature street snacks for each region.
Vietnamese Snacks and Street Eats in Nothern Vietnam
As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a place to go for street food eaters. Sightseeing around and trying snacks in every corner of Hanoi Old Quarter brings you a great eating experience. There are many names of Vietnamese snacks served here that you can list.
Goi cuon (summer rolls)
Vietnamese spring/summer rolls
Vietnamese summer rolls are made by rolling rice vermicelli with stir-fried or steamed peeled shrimp, boiled meat, and herbs in rice paper. The dipping sauce with a brownish color and a bold taste, made with peanut, is important to the flavor of the snack. This is a healthy snack with fresh ingredients and a nutty sauce.
Banh gio (pyramidal rice dumpling)
Vietnamese pyramidal rice dumpling with meat and mushroom added
This hot snack cannot be missed especially on cold or rainy days because of the savory minced meat, mushroom, and especially soft rice coat. To enhance the flavor, many vendors serve the pyramidal rice dumpling with Vietnamese pork sausage, chili sauce, and sliced cucumber. You can easily get full but still want a second helping because of its great taste.
Banh goi (pillow-shaped cake)
Scrumptious Vietnamese pillow-shaped cake
With the crispy yellow coat and the cake inside filled with different ingredients including rice vermicelli, mushroom, minced pork, kohlrabi, egg and onions, the cake is really savory and appetizing. All preprocessed ingredients, the complicated coat made with all-purpose flour and the seasonings make a great combination. In addition, the sauce which is made with garlic and chili helps to enhance the bold taste.
Tao pho (sweet tofu)
Sweet tofu served in a small bowl
This kind of snack made of soybean with a sweet gingery soup can be seen in small bike vendors in Hanoi. This cool Vietnamese snack is a good dessert in summer. Different flavors of coffee, strawberry, mung bean and toppings such as lotus seeds are added to the syrup so that the snack can be more attractive and luscious.
Banh duc (steamed rice-tapioca cake)
Vietnamese steamed rice-tapioca cake
Banh duc is made of rice flour, served with fried ground onions, some stir-fried mushroom, and a special sour and sweet sauce from fish sauce to cover the cake. This dish is perfect when you want to taste something savory and a bit sweet at the same time.
Vietnamese Snacks and Street Eats in Central Vietnam
The snacks and the food in Central Vietnam are quite spicy and there is a handful of good snacks in the area for you to try.
Nem lui (lemongrass skewer)
Lemongrass skewer is eaten with vermicelli and vegetables
The seasoned meat wrapping the lemongrass stalks is grilled on charcoal makes the snack super mouthwatering. Having the food with the taste of grilled meat and lemongrass is something you will want the second try. Also, the sauce eaten with the skewer is said to be more special than others that people cook the mixture of ground peanut, ground pork, fish sauce to make the sauce condensed. The dish was served a lot in the imperial city of Hue and now, the snack is still a big part of the Hue cuisine.
Banh beo (water fern cake)
Vietnamese water fern cake as a famous snack
The water fern cake is a signature snack with rice flour, chopped shrimp, pork, fried onion and rather sweet sauce from the formal royal capital, Hue. The snack is put in a small bowl and steamed so you will not feel the oily taste.
Banh bot loc (tapioca dumpling)
Vietnamese tapioca dumplings
The rectangle-shaped cake is covered by banana leaves and stuffed with stir-fried shrimp or stir-fried pork inside. It is okay to go without the fish sauce because the ingredients are already flavored. You just need to peel off the leaf and taste the cake then.
Banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake)
Crispy Vietnamese pancakes
Banh xeo is one of the most popular street foods. You can have it in the main meals as well as a hearty snack. The yellow color of turmeric powder and the texture of rice flour creates a crispy and toothsome taste. The inside part consists of pork belly, mushroom, shrimps or other kinds of seafood and bean sprouts. The vegetables wrapping such as mustard greens, lettuces, and fish sauce are really needed to complete the flavor of this dish.
Banh can (mini Vietnamese pancake)
Vietnamese mini savory pancake with prepared sauce
The snack is most popular in South Central Vietnam. With a small round shape, the pancake consists of the grilled rice flour, eggs, and green onion oil. Banh can is often used with sliced green mango and the dilute sauce of garlic and chili oil.
Vietnamese Snacks and Street Eats in Southern Vietnam
Southern Vietnam with Saigon as a representative is a street snacks planet. There are vendors everywhere and you can try tons of kinds of snacks they serve.
Banh trang tron (mixed rice paper)
Delicious Vietnamese mixed rice paper
In Banh trang tron, you can taste a party of spiciness, sweetness, and a bit of sourness coming together. The local ingredients include rice paper, peanut, beef jerky, quail egg, dried shrimp, sliced unripe mango, green onion oil, soy sauce, and tangerine. Trying the food with chopsticks must be a really fun experience. A little warning, you can easily get addicted to the snack.
Banh trang nuong (Vietnamese pizza)
Vietnamese pizza on a charcoal grill
Coming from Da Lat, Banh trang nuong has become more popular in Saigon, and the Vietnamese pizza vendors are seen in every corner, on every street in the city, especially in amusement places. It is made from thin rice paper with beaten egg, green onion oil, ground pork, and the snack. All are grilled on charcoal, letting out an attractive smoke. The crunchiness of the rice paper and the flavor of the egg, and pork inside make this interesting snack a must-try one.
Pha lau (Vietnamese offal stew)
A set of Vietnamese offal stew with Banh mi
The dish is special when being made from beef organs like the intestines, liver, and stomach. The cook uses pineapple to hide the smell of the organs and bring the sourness to the food. You can simultaneously feel the good savor of coconut juice, pork, beef and rice wine in the tempting broth. It can be eaten with bread or noodles.
Sup cua (crab soup)
A cup of Vietnamese crab soup
The snack is served in a small bowl with a condensed and gluey texture from the cornstarch. Other ingredients are crab, mushroom, quail eggs, and a chicken bone broth. You will just need a few minutes and sips to finish one portion.
Bo bia (Vietnamese fresh spring roll with jicama and egg)
Vietnamese fresh spring roll with jicama and egg
It is another Vietnamese snack made with rice paper. The ingredients including dried shrimp, jicama, egg, carrot, Chinese sausage, and Vietnamese herbs are wrapped together in a piece of rice paper. A sweet and savory peanut sauce is used to enhance the flavor of the dish as a whole.
Banh bo (Vietnamese steamed honeycomb cake)
Colorful Vietnamese steamed honeycomb cakes
The catchy look of the cake will attract you, and the flavor of rice flour, tapioca starch, coconut milk will not make you disappointed. If you have had enough oily fat snacks, this steamed rice cake may be a perfect option. The inside part looks like small honeycombs, and thus the translation of the name in English. Besides, to increase the appetite, you can choose to eat this kind of soft and spongy cake with sesame seeds or peanut salt.
Goi kho bo (beef jerky salad)
A portion of such delicious beef jerky salad
The snack is a mixture of strips of unripe papaya, beef jerky, white vinegar, peanuts, soy sauce, pepper, and Thai basil. It is much loved here in Vietnam to any food gourmet. You can order from the street vendor and then take it with you to enjoy on the go.
Find out Why the Beef Jerky Salad is Hanoi’s most Favorite Snack!
Chuoi nep nuong (Vietnamese grilled banana)
A dish of Vietnamese grilled banana with coconut milk dressing
Originating from Ben Tre, grilled banana is now an irreplaceable snack in Saigon and Vietnam as a whole. People grill peeled bananas wrapped in sticky rice on charcoal and pour the cooked coconut milk on the plate. The seasoning can be different among vendors and in general, but it is one of the most delectable street snacks in Vietnam you must try.
Xoai lac and Trai cay lac (shaking mango and fruits)
Mango is ready to be shaken and stirred up
Shaking fruit is everywhere in Saigon. The sliced of sour fruits like unripe mango are shaken in a small plastic container with fish sauce, sugar, chili powder, beef jerky, and fried squid. You take the snack and shake, stir up to mix the different flavors of spiciness, sourness, and sweetness.
Trai cay dam (macerated fruits)
Diced Vietnamese fruits, shaved ice, syrup, and condensed milk
Basically, it is like a version of Vietnamese shaking fruit but this kind of snack doesn’t need shaking as it is already seasoned. The snack also has beef jerky, chili powder, sugar, and fish sauce. You can also have it sweet by mixing the sliced fruits with yogurt, milk, and ice as well.
Banh trung nuong (grilled egg cake)
Vietnamese grilled egg cake divided into equal parts
There are 2 kinds of grilled egg pancakes which are sweet cake and salty ones. The first one requires preparation when processing the batter by mixing with egg yolk, sugar, and milk cream. Grilled on charcoal in molds, you can get really luscious egg pancakes. As for the kind version, people use quail eggs, sausage, cheese, seasons, and onions for a great mixture grilled on burning charcoal.
Banh tieu (Vietnamese hollow donut)
Some Vietnamese hollow donuts
Banh tieu is made of self-rising flour, and the flour is preprocessed before by being kneaded. The floating hollow donuts when getting deep-fried is so appetizing and it is served in a lot of eateries in Saigon.
These are just the most common snacks in Southern Vietnam and other parts of Vietnam. To the others, the list goes on with grilled cassava cake, Vietnamese sesame balls, grilled Vietnamese honeycomb cake filled with coconut, and deep-fried sticky rice. But just wandering around the districts in Saigon and then you will catch sight of the food streets with vendors serving such interesting and scrumptious snacks.
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Summary of Vietnamese Snacks and Street Eats
Vietnamese snacks are served on streets and in small stores as well. They reflect greatly Vietnamese culture and cuisine. There are different kinds of snacks in 3 areas and most of them are portable, tasty and fun to try. Find out more delicious foods and travel information in Vietnam in our guides here.
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