James Travel

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese food is a cuisine that is extremely popular all over the world!

The delicious flavors and freshness of the food have made it a beloved type of cuisine that can often be found no matter where you live.

Whether you’re a Vietnamese food fan or have never tried it before, you may find yourself with a few questions regarding the cuisine.

This is where I come in! Today, I’ll be taking a look at the top ten most frequently asked questions about Vietnamese food. In this article, I’ll cover:

Let’s go ahead and jump right into it!

1. What Makes Vietnamese Food so Delicious?

There are a wide range of reasons why Vietnamese tastes so good.

One of the most important parts of Vietnamese cooking (and one of the reasons why it often has such strong and complex flavors) is the herbs!

An abundance of fresh herbs is often used in Vietnamese cooking, giving it a distinctive taste.

Another reason why Vietnamese food has such interesting and unique flavors is due to the way that it follows the five fundamental tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and spicy.
This is what leads to most Vietnamese food possessing strong, balanced flavors!

Vietnam is also a melting pot of culture, which is another reason why the food is so unique and flavorful.

Being occupied by both France and China (as well as having influences from India), Vietnamese food has a rich multicultural history – giving it a distinctive taste.

Vietnam is also a place that is extremely fortunate when it comes to the availability of ingredients.

Vegetables and herbs flourish year-round, the meat industry is stable, and seafood is easily accessible. This means that fresh ingredients are always available, really elevating Vietnamese cuisine!

While there are many other reasons why Vietnamese food is so delicious, the above are a few of the most prominent ones.

2. Is Pho The Most Popular Dish in Vietnam?

While Pho is certainly the most popular Vietnamese dish in the West, within Vietnam it is far more popular in the capital city of Hanoi in comparison to other regions. 

In the South, dishes such as Cơm Tấm and Hủ Tiếu are the most popular, despite them hardly being found in the West.

Along with Pho, Banh Mi is another extremely popular dish all over Vietnam. While this dish can also often be found in the West, it is not nearly as common or popular as Pho!

At the end of the day, Pho certainly can be considered the most popular dish in Vietnam (but only in particular regions).

The belief that Pho is the most popular dish all over Vietnam likely stems from the fact that Pho is the most popular Vietnamese dish in the West.

3. Is Vietnamese Food Healthy?

For the most part, Vietnamese food is healthy due to both the ingredients that are often included in dishes, as well as the way that the food is prepared.

Most Vietnamese dishes will include a large quantity of herbs and vegetables, making them quite healthy.

Most Vietnamese foods are also boiled or steamed rather than deep fried, which is another major reason why Vietnamese food is significantly healthier than many other cuisines.

Deep frying includes the use of vast amounts of oil and often salt. By avoiding deep frying, Vietnamese cuisine eliminates high-calorie and high-sodium foods from the menu.

Along with this, Vietnamese food that is made within Vietnam is often made using exclusively fresh ingredients!

The accessibility of fresh ingredients greatly cuts down on the need for preservatives, contributing to the overall healthiness of Vietnamese cuisine.

While there are of course some Vietnamese dishes that can be considered ‘unhealthy’, they are few and far between.

4. Is Vietnamese A Hygienic Country Food-Wise?

While Vietnamese food is undeniably delicious, there are often many concerns regarding hygiene when it comes to food.

Truth be told: this concern isn’t unfounded! Vietnam has one of the highest rates of foodborne illness.

While the cautious traveler might think steering clear of Vietnamese street food is a wise choice, that’d unfortunately also mean missing out on a huge part of the experience!

Vietnam’s street food scene, like its fellow Southeast Asian neighbors, is one of the most vibrant in the world.

If you want in on all the flavors without worrying about an unwanted trip to the toilet, stick with hot dishes like Pho and noodles! Fresh-off-the-grill Vietnamese pizza or a hearty stack of banh xeo is also great street food to try for that authentic experience.

Also, go for busy food stalls with higher turnovers! You’ll get quick bites that are also very popular with both locals and tourists while being safer to eat.

5. Is Vietnamese Food Spicy?

Vietnamese cuisine is primarily focused on creating balanced flavors, meaning overly spicy food is not common. Spicy food certainly exists in Vietnamese cuisine, but it is far from the most popular type of dish in Vietnam.

The spicy dishes that you will find in Vietnamese cuisine tend to have more sweet and sour style flavors or a mild curry flavor, due to the subtle influence of Indian cuisine that often can be found within Vietnam.

This is vastly different from the rather sharp, intense spice that can be found in other types of Cuisine such as Korean.

Much of the limited amounts of spice that can be found in Vietnamese cuisine often come from toppings such as sliced chili peppers.

This is great news for those who cannot tolerate spicy foods, as these toppings can often be picked off and set to the side when ordering Vietnamese food or omitted entirely if you are making the dish at home!

6. What Are The Best Vietnamese Street Foods?

When it comes to Vietnamese street food, there are many incredible dishes to choose from.

By far the most underrated dish (in my opinion) is Bún thịt nướng. This is a dish that consists of cold rice noodles topped with grilled pork, fresh salad, and an array of herbs.

This dish has a hint of freshness and flavor that is hard to beat and is difficult to find in any other type of dish or cuisine!

Some popular and common Vietnamese street food dishes are Bánh mì and Vietnamese spring rolls.

If you want to try some less common dishes, some other extremely underrated Vietnamese street foods include Bún Chả, Bún bò Huế, Bánh xèo, Mì Quảng, Cơm tấm, and Bánh cuốn.

If you are traveling to Vietnam or even just visiting an authentic Vietnamese food stand in your area, I would strongly recommend branching out and ordering something other than Pho or a standard Bánh mì!

There are so many incredible Vietnamese dishes that some people never discover because they do not order them.

7. What Do Vietnamese People Eat?

While most people know about Vietnamese cuisine due to restaurants, the types of food that Vietnamese people will typically eat at home differ slightly.

While the key components often remain the same, you are unlikely to see Vietnamese people eating pho or Bánh mì for every meal.

The theme of balance does not stop at the flavors of Vietnamese cooking; it also extends to the number and types of dishes they eat.

At home, a standard Vietnamese meal will typically consist of rice along with one meat or fish dish, one vegetable dish, and a bowl of soup. Often, a large amount of fresh herbs will be included in the meals.

While the foods that are consumed may differ slightly depending on whether they are being served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, one common theme is rice! This is a staple part of Vietnamese food and will often be served with every meal.

8. Are Vietnamese rice noodles gluten-free?

Vietnamese vermicelli rice noodles are made using a very simple recipe of rice and water.

Since rice and water are both gluten-free, Vietnamese vermicelli rice noodles are also gluten-free!

While it is possible that the rice noodles could come into contact with some form of gluten during the manufacturing process, if this does happen it is most likely to only be trace amounts.

That being said: if you are gluten intolerant, you always want to be cautious. For example, if you are purchasing some Vietnamese vermicelli rice noodles in the West, there is no guarantee that they will follow the traditional recipe of rice and water.

As such, it’s always a good idea to check the ingredients list before purchasing or consuming.

9. Is Vietnamese Cuisine Overrated?

While Vietnamese cuisine is quite popular in the West, the two dishes that are ordered the most are pho and Bánh mì.

In fact. it’s uncommon to see people in the West ordering any other type of Vietnamese dish!

For this reason, I think that while some may say pho or Bánh mì is overrated, it is unfair to say this about Vietnamese cuisine as a whole.

At the end of the day, whether or not you believe Vietnamese food to be overrated or not depends entirely on your personal taste and opinion.

That being said, ‘overrated’ refers to something that has a large amount of fanfare but is in reality not as good as it is made out to be.

Since most Vietnamese dishes are not overly popular in the West in the first place, it’s difficult to label them as ‘overrated’.

10. What Are The Differences Between Thai Food and Vietnamese Food?

Both Vietnamese food and Thai food are extremely delicious and contain fresh and complex flavors. That being said, there are many key differences between these two popular cuisines.

When comparing Thai food and Vietnamese food, one of the key factors that set them apart from one another is spice.

Thai food will often include a great deal of spicy chili peppers, while Vietnamese food favors balance and will rarely be all that spicy.

Jumping off that point, you’ll quickly notice that Thai cuisine is rich with more curry-based dishes. That’s all thanks to Indian and Malaysian influences, resulting in a diverse range of food choices that rely on coconut milk and fish sauce.

On the other hand, Vietnamese dishes are noticeably lighter. You’ll get your fill of brothy noodle soups, stir-fried or grilled snacks, and fresh spring rolls!

Another key difference between Thai food and Vietnamese food is the use of vegetables and herbs. While both of these cuisines include large amounts of vegetables and herbs, they differ when it comes to how these ingredients are included in dishes.

Thai cuisine’s arsenal of herbs mostly revolves around basil, mint, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. Vietnamese dishes, on the other hand, pack a distinct quality because of their huge range of herbs!

Still, on the topic, Vietnamese dishes enjoy a hearty addition of raw vegetables and herbs. Thai dishes, meanwhile, prefer them stir-fried or boiled.

Related Posts