Beyond Pho: 5 Local Dishes to Try in Vietnam

Many of you might hear about Pho - a beautiful specialty full of Vietnamese flavours. However, Vietnam does has a lot of local dishes that can definitely make you fall in love once tasting for the first time. Let's have a look at my post of 5 must-try local dishes for your excursions in Vietnam

Bún chả
You might see some Bun Cha shops in your country or many big cities in the world, but the original, cheapest and absolutely the best Bun Cha comes from Hanoi. Together with Pho, Bun Cha is an charming dish that can conquer every gourmet travellers thanks to its harmonious fusion of different flavours. The broth of Bun Cha is not like others of its kind, it is a bit more salty because 60% of it is Vietnamese fish sauce, which helps balance the flavours of the entire dish. What is more, the broth bowl is not too big but simply enough for you to grap some amazingly delicious barbecue meat balls and dip the rice noodle, herbs, lettuce and spring rolls at the same time. It will be even better to taste Bun Cha with a cup of Tra Da (Vietnamese Tea) and you will understand why this culinary culture is becoming a typical routine in Hanoi for years.

Chả Cá

Cha Ca is a harmonious combination of different local ingredients and condiments. Grilled fish is marinated in a mixture of turmeric, ginger, garlic, then fried until it turns to be a cripsy and fleshy ball. Onions, scallions, peanuts and handfuls of fresh dill are quickly sauteed and tossed with the fish, which is served on a bed of rice vermicelli noodles. The whole thing is then topped with a smattering of fresh herbs including mint and coriander. Dip each mouthful in nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and red chilli.

Bún riêu cua

Due to the fact that northern Vietnam has a interlaced system of rivers and canals, charming dishes from crabs are unmissable in Vietnamese people’s menu. Indeed, when you set foot in Hanoi, you should try Bun Rieu Cua - a nutritious bowl of crab soup that will not dissappoint you. The broth of Bun Rieu Cua is made by pounding local river crabs then straining water through their shells, creating an attractive crab’s smell that will sure delight you. Bun Rieu Cua offen goes with Vietnamese sausages, shirmps, Cha Ca and some healty Vietnamese vegetable such as Rau muong, Rau Can etc.

Cá Kho Tộ

This is a must-try specialty in the southern provinces of Vietnam. Ca Kho To is the dish from fresh catfishes cooked in clay pots with ginger, shallots, garlic, herbs and local ingredients. Once giving a try, you will experience a favorsome piece of fish which is both spicy, sweet, fleshy. The dish is also salty, because it always goes with jasmine rice as an essential dish in every meal of Vietnamese families.

Chè Bắp

Che Bap, a specialty of Hoi An, must be the one that you will never forget once tasting. This charming rice pudding with sweet corn is considered the best classic dessert in Vietnam, which will sure guarantee you the chance to freshen up your mind and body after your parties of meat and calories. Depending on each person’s tastebud, Che Bap can be used with ice, sugar, coconut milk, jelly or fresh fruits, creating a gorgeous mixture of flavours – absolutely the one for hot summer days.

>> Eager about these dishes, check out our Vietnam culinary tours for more:

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