VietnamFood & DrinksWhat Do Vietnamese Have for Breakfast?

What Do Vietnamese Have for Breakfast?

Breakfast is considered an essential meal since it provides considerable energy for a hard-working day. There is a wide diversity of breakfasts, ranging from noodles to sticky rice, which depends on different regions’ cultures. Have a look at our Vietnamese breakfast guide and suggestions for having the best local breakfast in Vietnam.

Vietnamese Breakfast Culture

vietnamese breakfast

Vietnamese food is known as one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide, encompassing a wide range of food for breakfast. In the past, the women in a family often cooked breakfast in Vietnam. In today’s modern society, since a growing number of Vietnamese women enter the labor market and do not have enough time to prepare breakfast daily, many Vietnamese opt to go to street food stalls and restaurants for breakfast.

Traditional Vietnamese cooking mainly uses fresh ingredients, herbs, and vegetables. You can easily find the balance between the spices and the meats in the taste of any Vietnamese breakfast. While following the same feature, the Vietnamese culinary tradition is highly diverse and dependent on different regions.

The foods in Northern Vietnam are often less spicy than those in other regions. It is not bold in any specific taste but subtly combines different flavors, including salty, spicy, bitter, sweet, and sour. The breakfast specialties of this region are Bun Rieu, Banh Cuon, and Pho, which are also signature dishes of Vietnam.

Vietnam Central, by contrast, is especially well-known for spicy food. Being the former capital of the last dynasty of Vietnam, Hue was considerably influenced by the ancient royal cuisine. Bun Bo Hue (vermicelli with beef) is a famous breakfast in this region.

In Southern Vietnam, foods are likely to be more vibrant and significantly sweeter. Some signature breakfast dishes in Southern Vietnam are Banh mi and Com tam (broken rice).

Here is a List of Favorite Vietnamese Breakfasts:

Pho

pho vietnamese breakfast

Originating in northern Vietnam and introduced to other regions through migration, Pho has become the most popular breakfast in Vietnam. Pho is a soup with rice noodles flavored with a meat broth such as beef, chicken or pork. Fresh herbs, including basil, garlic, chili, bean sprouts, cilantro, and Vietnamese parsley, are added to the soup to enhance its flavor and create a healthy balance in the dish. Vietnamese can have Pho for every meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Read more on the Best Places to Eat Authentic Pho in Ho Chi Minh City

Bun (Rice Vermicelli Soup)

vietnamese breakfast rice noodles
Rice vermicelli soup with fish cakes

Similar to Pho, Bun is another kind of rice-based noodle, but instead of a flat shape, Bun has a circular shape. There are plenty of tasty Vietnamese breakfast dishes using Bun, including Bun Rieu (vermicelli and crab meat soup), Bun Bo Hue (vermicelli with beef), and Bun Ca (vermicelli with fried fish).

Mien (Cellophane Noodles/Glass Noodles)

vietnamese breakfast glass noodles

Being a Chinese-originated noodle, Mien had a similar shape to Bun but was made of seaweed or cassava flour instead. This ingredient makes Mien contain fewer calories compared to other kinds of noodles. The broth of Mien is relatively similar to Pho, but more flavors are added depending on the different types of meat preferred. There are several versions of Mien, such as Mien Luon (Mien with eel), Mien Ga (Mien with chicken), and Mien Cua (Mien with crab meat).

Xoi (Sticky Rice)

Xoi is one of the most typical breakfasts in Vietnam. You can find many street stalls or cart vendors selling Xoi with several baskets wrapped in banana leaves everywhere in Vietnam, from roadside vendors to traditional restaurants. Here are some popular types of Xoi:

Xoi Xeo

Xoi Xeo is a traditional special dish for breakfast in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, with an attractive bright yellow color and grounded mung bean. Students and manual laborers especially prefer Xoi Xeo due to its low price and palatability.

Xoi Gac

Made of a kind of fruit grown exclusively in Asia named baby jackfruit, Xoi Gac is well-known for its unique red color and sweet flavor. This sticky rice appears at Vietnamese weddings and New Year parties and is associated with the meaning of good fortune and happiness.

Banh Cuon

banh cuon vietnamese breakfast

Considered Vietnamese crepe, Banh Cuon is another breakfast specialty made of rice flour, ground pork, and wood ear mushrooms wrapped inside the thin rice rolls. This Vietnamese breakfast is often served with boiled bean sprouts, chopped cucumber, Vietnamese basil, fried onion, and fish sauce.

Banh Mi

Originating during the colonial period in Vietnam, Banh Mi is known as the Vietnam baguette, with plenty of flavors from the combination of meat and fresh vegetables. Depending on your preference, you can choose pork, chicken, fried eggs, or meatballs for your Banh Mi.

Com Tam (Broken Rice)

broken rice vietnamese breakfast

Com Tam is Saigon’s authentic signature street food dish (Ho Chi Minh City). A plate of Com Tam is often served with Suon Nuong (marinated grilled pork chops), Trung Op La (fried eggs), Cha Trung (a steamed pork and egg quiche), Bi (shredded pork skin), and a special fish sauce. Besides Banh Mi, Com Tam is a top favorite dish for a Vietnamese breakfast.

Read more on Vietnamese Classic: Broken rice.

Ca Phe (Coffee)

vietnamese white coffee vietnamese breakfast

Ca Phe is one of the unique parts of Vietnamese breakfast, especially in Saigon. A morning cup of Ca Phe with or without condensed milk has become a local habit of many Vietnamese for years due to the different strengths and flavorful coffee, which can be found only in Vietnam.

Read more on our Guide to Drinking Vietnamese Coffee

Summary of the Vietnamese Breakfasts

Vietnam is a real paradise for food lovers, with several types of traditional breakfasts that are undoubtedly worth a try. When you visit Vietnam and wish to try these local meals outside of your hotel, we recommend these Vietnamese breakfasts listed above that will surely give you the local experience.

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