Gaining international popularity, a steaming bowl of flavoursome pho is one of Vietnam's most celebrated and iconic street foods - an absolute must on the list of things to eat in Vietnam. This noodle soup usually features clear noodles in a broth with beef or chicken and some vegetables and herbs and is pronounced more like “fur” than “foe”. Regionally, phở is divided between "northern pho" (phở bắc) which tends to be meatier and less garnished and "southern pho" or "Saigon pho" (phở Sài Gòn) which tends to be both sweeter and laden with fresh herbs. Vegetarian pho (phở chay) exists, but you might need some assistance from your tour leader to find it.
2. Banh Mi
The French influence in the region is obvious when considering the popularity of the fresh baguette in Vietnam. Take crusty bread and stuff it with meat, coriander, daikon or green papaya and pickled condiments and you've got a favourite lunch or breakfast treat for locals and travellers alike. Look out for banh mi trung in Hanoi, a no frills banh mi filled with an omelette with ngai cuu (mugwort leaves) served on the streetside for breakfast and the less traditional Vietnamese/Middle Eastern fusion food, banh mi doner kebab.
3. Bánh xèo
This delicious crepe-like savoury pancake is filled with shrimp, fatty pork, bean sprouts and green onions, and is served with lettuce. Its name (literally "sizzling cake") comes from the intense sizzling sound the crepe makes when the turmeric and rice flour batter hits the frying pan.
4. Bún mắm
Bún mắm is the pungent essence of southern Vietnamese food: a vermicelli noodle soup prepared with a heady fermented fish paste, topped with an assortment of meats like squid, prawns and pork, and a slice of eggplant.
5. Bún bò Huế
Hailing from the central Vietnamese town of Hue, this rice noodle beef soup packs a spice and lemongrass filled punch. Often served with pork knuckle, slices of beef, Vietnamese sausage and onions, this soup is citrusy, hearty and warming.
6. Bún chả
That smell of charring meat that permeates Hanoi is probably bun cha, patties of fatty pork served in a thin soup alongside assorted greens, herbs and fresh rice vermicelli noodles. Add noodles to the pork patty soup, garnish with greens, garlic and chilli, repeat until full.
7. Fresh Fruit
When in Vietnam, take the opportunity to try exotic fruits not widely available elsewhere in the world. Rambutan, persimmon, mangosteen, dragon fruit, jackfruit and durian are all delicious snacks that can be bought cheaply from markets and roadside stalls.
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