Vietnamese street food
Vietnamese street food is inexpensive, any resident of the country can afford to buy it. Street vendors offer the simplest dishes that are cooked quickly. You can always ask for a take-out in a plastic bag or container.
Perhaps this baguette filled with meat, vegetables and herbs is the most common Vietnamese snack. Fried eggs or grilled cheese can also be ingredients in banh mi. The Vietnamese discovered baguettes during the French colonization. They fell in love with French bread and began to eat it almost daily.
The buyer is the one who determines what ingredients to use in his baguette. Banh mi is usually sold from trays on the street. The cost of such a burger starts from 15 thousand Dong (less than $1). In large cities chain restaurant that cook banh mi with a variety of fillings are also a thing. In these cafes the cost of this dish is higher than on the street.
The easiest and fastest snack. Fried corn is carried in carts on the streets or in closed pots at the beaches to keep it hot. The price for corn starts from 10 thousand Dong ($0.5).
Rice flour pancake with filling. When cooking the dish, turmeric is added to the dough, so the pancake turns yellow. Banh xeo is filled with shrimps, pork, soybean sprouts, garlic, shallots and fish sauce. The pancakes are served hot, they are divided into pieces and eaten with lots of greens and the sauce that resembles soup. It’s a very tasty dish, prepared on a huge cast iron pan, on the fire right at the street.
Steamed rice flour pies stuffed with minced meat and quail egg. Banh bao are usually sold on the streets in glass shelves, but sometimes the merchants carry cakes on bicycles, informing others about their appearance by shouting or using a loudspeaker. In cafes, banh bao can be served in beautiful bamboo pots, covered with a lid, so they remain hot. You can also find racks with banh bao in mini-markets. The price for banh bao starts from 10 thousand Dong ($0.5). Usually they are white, but some cooks add dyes to the flour, so the banh bao turn green or, for example, lilac. However, they might not be banh bao in this case, as the filling in this rice cake may be different, perhaps sweet.
This is the most famous Vietnamese dish. It’s served everywhere, including in expensive restaurants. But you can get some tasty pho soup even in the cheapest cafes with plastic furniture. Initially, this soup was just street food. The merchants carried (and still do carry) two containers containing the ingredients for soup on the yoke gan. The Vietnamese liked pho soup so much, that they started to cook it in restaurants.
Pho soup is cooked with beef broth. Some rice noodles are added, and the soup is served on the table with a plate of herbs and sprouted soybeans. The Vietnamese squeeze lime juice and add spicy seasonings to pho before eating it. The price for pho starts from 25 thousand Dong ( about $1). This soup is prepared not only with beef, but also with chicken, pork or seafood.
These are rolls maid with thin rice paper, stuffed with meat, shrimp, rice noodles, vegetables, green mango and herbs. Spring rolls can be served ready-made in restaurants for tourists, and in traditional Vietnamese cafes the visitors roll them by themselves. Rice paper, a bowl of water (to lightly moisten the paper), the ingredients for the filling and some sauce are served on the table. First, you put the filling of your taste on the paper, and then you roll it up and eat, dipping in the sauce. Spring rolls are quite often fried in oil and served hot.
It must be the most popular Vietnamese lunch. The price for this dish at street cafes starts from 20 thousand Dong (a little less than $1). The lunch includes pork, chicken or fish, rice to garnish, light soup or broth and iced tea. Some eateries offer fruits, for example, a banana or a half of dragon-fruit for dessert. There is also a popular variation of the dish served with fried rice, not boiled.
We recommend everyone to try street food and not be afraid of infections. In Vietnam, intestinal diseases are not common, it’s not India. If your stomach tolerates unfamiliar dishes, feel free to try everything you find, but keep in mind that there are exotic dishes that are not up to everyone’s taste. However, you can’t always recognize such food, except the boiled eggs with embryos.