Vietnam has long been known as a country with many scenic spots. Going beyond that, this beautiful country also pampers visitors with unique and irresistible delicacies that anyone who has once been here could not deny their love for Vietnamese cuisine. And right now we are excited to take you on an introductory tour of 17 must-try Vietnamese dishes.

1.  Bun Dau Mam Tom (Fermented Shrimp Paste Sauce With Fried Tofu And Vermicelli) 

Wherever in Vietnam, Bun Dau Mam Tom can be easily found in every corner of streets because of its simplicity but surprisingly great taste. However, it is said that only in Ha Noi can you savor the most original version of this street food. In the hustle and bustle of this big city, sitting down and enjoying a plate of Bun Dau Mam Tom in a beautiful corner of this thousand-year capital will make your heart warm. 

In the past, this famous and irresistible must-try Vietnamese dish is made up of just three main simple ingredients: golden fried tofu, fresh rice vermicelli and the stinky delicacy “mam tom”. To get the tofu pieces that are still crispy, hot and not burnt, the chef must be very skillful. Each piece of tofu must be selected very carefully so that it is soft and white enough. When fried, the inside must remain soft, the outside is golden brown, crispy and fragrant. However, as demand grows, Bun Dau Mam Tom nowadays includes many side dishes: pig’s trotter meat, fried spring rolls, pork intestines and Hanoi’s specialty Cha Com. Just enjoying such a serving of it, diners already feel they have had a delicious, cheap and full meal. 

A tray of Bun Dau Mam Tom will satisfy customers
A tray of Bun Dau Mam Tom will satisfy customers

The perfection of this dish lies not only in the pieces of fried tofu or the chewy, soft and white vermicelli, but also in the harmonious combination of the bowl of shrimp paste dipping sauce. Actually, not everyone can eat shrimp paste, especially international tourists who enjoy this dish at first are very uncomfortable with this taste. But once familiar with it, they can only be addicted. Visitors will feel the sourness of lemon, spiciness of chili, sweetness of sugar, and salty taste of shrimp sauce. All blend together so that they just need to be eaten with other dishes along with vermicelli to be found both strange and irresistible. People who try this dish once will never forget its incredible taste. 

2. Bun Thang (Thang Vermicelli)

In terms of sophistication and beauty, perhaps Hanoi Bun Thang deserves to be in the top ranks. As a delicate dish, expressing the elegant style of Ha Thanh cuisine, Hanoi Bun Thang has a perfect combination of color, aroma and taste. These will attract diners at first sight.

The ingredients to make a bowl of Bun Thang are very simple, anyone can imitate and make it. The thing is, to bring up the essence and traditional flavor of this speciality takes a lot of dedication and subtlety. Therefore, Bun Thang is considered the most sophisticated dish of Hanoians. 

In order to make a bowl of Hanoi Bun Thang the right style, the chef must be very picky and careful in every step, from choosing ingredients, preliminary processing, processing to presentation. It is said that to make a bowl of Bun Thang requires 12 types of ingredients. That is to say, the bowl is a synthesis of every small part in a subtle way to create the perfect taste.

Bun Thang - a symphony of colors
Bun Thang – a symphony of colors

The main ingredient for making Bun Thang is a kind of vermicelli that is untangled and soft. The chicken is carefully torn to small slices but still has a little golden skin. Other components such as thinly sliced ​​pork rolls, thinly sliced omelet, sweet but not fishy shrimp rolls, and sweet and sour shredded dried radish. There are also indispensable ingredients like shiitake mushrooms, spring onions, and finely chopped laksa leaves. One final important determinant of deliciousness is the broth. The broth is the core and soul of Hanoi Bun Thang. During cooking, the chef must skim the foam continuously and evenly so that the water does not turn cloudy. 

Hanoi Bun Thang is delicious in taste and attractive in appearance. In the middle of the bowl is a circle of dark yellow salted egg surrounded by golden fried eggs, lean pork pie, white chicken slices, slightly yellow radishes, going with brown shiitake mushrooms and shrimp paste. On top is a layer of fried onion, scallions and attractive slices of red chili. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Bun Thang is the harmony of heaven and earth when it includes all the bright colors of the four seasons. This also is another beautiful must-try Vietnamese dish that you don’t want to miss.

3. Bun Moc (Meatball Noodle Soup)

Bun Moc appeared in Hanoi about a few decades ago. It was a high-class dish at that time with ingredients such as shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms and meatballs. Bun Moc is a delicacy for its high standards. It is difficult to successfully make a bowl since the broth has to remain clear and fresh with lots of ingredients within the dish.

A bowl of Bun Moc in a cold weather will warm your heart
A bowl of Bun Moc in a cold weather will warm your heart

According to the sellers, the broth is cooked from two separate parts, z and riblets. During the stewing process, the foam is regularly picked up so that the broth has a clear, natural taste and sweetness. Coming to the special character of the dish, standard meat balls are made from clean, finely ground pork, mixed with wood-ear mushrooms and seasoning. The balls are very well and evenly made that it feels like sellers put all their heart into making them. 

The finished flavor of Bun Moc depends on some more different ingredients according to different shops such as pork bologna, chicken meat, dried bamboo shoot, quail egg and herbs but it will be all delicious, combine each of them together. 

It is not hard to come across a crowded stall in a small corner with people sitting pretty close to each other, savoring their bowl of Bun Moc in the cold weather in Hanoi. It has become a special feature in the locals’ heart and is an indispensable part of Vietnamese cuisine. Come and enjoy this must-try Vietnamese dish once to never forget the bold but sweet taste.

4. Xoi Xeo (Xeo Sticky Rice)

Being top 5 must-try Vietnamese dishes in Ha Noi, Xoi Xeo is a perfect mix and match breakfast for all walks of life, especially students and manual laborers for its low price (about 10.000vnd) and exceptionally delicious taste. 

Thanks to its beautifully bright yellow color, Xoi Xeo is described as early sunshine in the morning. Not only attractive by the color, it is also palatable in taste. When opened, the aroma of fried onion and liquid fat will immediately hit the nose of tasters. 

Xoi Xeo is more delicious and completely different from other types of sticky rice
Xoi Xeo is more delicious and completely different from other types of sticky rice

In order to get a truly fragrant package of Xoi Xeo, the steps are quite sophisticated. It is considered the hardest sticky rice to make in Vietnam. The rice used to cook Xoi Xeo is a type of rice that is glutinous but not crushed, eaten when hot not flabby, when cooled does not harden. After washing, the rice is soaked with turmeric water to produce a golden color.

Mung beans are what make Xoi Xeo more delicious and completely different from other types of sticky rice. The bean, after being carefully chosen and peeled, is steamed, mashed, and then rolled into small balls. The seller will use a knife to cut it into thin slices and drop directly into a handful of Xoi. To finish the taste, a spoonful of liquid fat and crispy fried onion is spread evenly on the top of a Xoi Xeo, wrapped in banana leaf and old newspaper. 

Xoi Xeo has now become the pride of Northern cuisine when presenting in high-class restaurants. However, it is a traditional Vietnamese street food that Hanoians still prefer to eat this food sold on the sidewalk, like in the old days. In the cold weather of the autumn wind, enjoying a simple, fragrant pack of Xoi Xeo on a corner of Hanoi has become a special feeling for Hanoi lovers. 

5. Banh Dau Xanh Hai Duong (Hai Duong Mung Bean Cake)

Each territory of Vietnam has its own specialties representing each region. Mung Bean Cake in Hai Duong, a Central North province in Vietnam, has long been a famous treat within the country and abroad for its sweet and fragrant taste which has become popular in gift baskets and on plates of cakes to invite guests visiting. 

Making a Mung Bean Cake is not too fussy, but the cake contains the unique heirloom secrets of the Northern countryside. The ingredients for making this cake are mung beans, sugar, and fat or cooking oil must be carefully selected. Although there are few ingredients, it is very difficult to successfully make the cake. 

Hai Duong Mung Bean Cake is very popular and loved by many people
Hai Duong Mung Bean Cake is very popular and loved by many people

From the beginning, the ingredients are managed very closely. Raw materials such as mung beans and sugar must be of clear origin, quality assurance and follow standard requirements. The beans must be equally ripe, not moldy; usually, the type with the yellow core is the best. Mung beans are roasted in a modern production line to ensure cleanliness. After roasted, the beans will be separated with the shells, grounded into a fine powder, and mixed with other ingredients to make cakes.

Currently, Hai Duong Mung Bean Cake has been exported to many countries around the world and is popular with local consumers. The cake has a sweet and fatty taste with the fragrant scent of mung beans. Once you put one piece in your mouth, it dissolves immediately and leaves an interesting and unsatisfied feeling of wanting to get more. You just simply do not want to miss a chance of trying this special dish while traveling to Vietnam. 

6. Lau Cua Dong (Freshwater Crab Hotpot)

Freshwater Crab Hotpot, as its name suggested, is a hotpot with field crabs as the main ingredient. Minced crab is a source of rustic food and very popular throughout Vietnam. In addition, the nutritional composition in field crabs is very rich, especially calcium. Therefore, each place in Vietnam has its own processing methods according to regional taste. Previously, using field crabs in making hotpot can only be found in Hai Phong where people especially like dishes made from the ingredient. However, this kind of hotpot has now crossed the border of Hai Phong to be introduced to everywhere in Vietnam and is warmly received by diners.

Freshwater Crab Hotpot is a delicious dish that is so flavorful to eat, especially on cold days. Similar to the usual way of cooking Bun Rieu, the preparation of ingredients is the most elaborate and time-consuming stage. The cook has to choose crabs that are approximate in size and shape, accompanied by necessary ingredients such as tomatoes, vinegar, fish sauce, shrimp paste, seasoning powder, gac fruit color, crispy fried tofu, vegetables (such as spinach, banana flower, banana stem, shredded water spinach, lettuce), vermicelli, and a pot of broth.

Freshwater Crab Hotpot looks extremely attractive when served on dining table
Freshwater Crab Hotpot looks extremely attractive when served on dining table

When it comes to crab hotpot, it is impossible not to mention the accompanying meat side dishes such as beef, pork, or seafood. The sweetness of the crab permeates into each fiber of the meat, creating a sweet aftertaste on the tip of the tongue. In addition, we can also use pork intestines, duck eggs, mushrooms to dip into. Looking at those dishes displayed around the hotpot in a harmonious and beautiful way, full of colors and seductive flavors is enough to affect all senses.

Freshwater Crab Hotpot has the rich sweetness of field crabs and the fragrant smell of crab roe combined with the mild and elegant sour taste of vinegar and the bright red color of tomatoes. Sitting beside an emitting steam crab hotpot with thin smoke rising from the ethereal sweet smell of crab roe mixed with salty and spicy broth is enough to make people eager to eat and sweat. The dish must be on the list of must-try Vietnamese dishes. 

7. Com Hen (Hue Clam Rice)

Have you ever heard of Ancient Capital Hue? This place used to be Vietnam’s Capital in the past and is absolutely one of the most worth visiting places in Vietnam. Besides many tourist attractions such as Hue Imperial Citadel – one of Vietnam’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Thien Mu pagoda, and many historical relics, Hue is also famous for its cuisine which used to be served for the royal dynasties. Nowadays, Bun Bo Hue is the most mentioned dish when thinking about Hue, but there is one dish that local people here cannot live without, which is Com Hen, a simple but stunning dish of rice. 

Com Hen includes overnight leftover cold rice, stir-fried clams, and clam broth, that’s all. However, do not rush to disregard. To make the famous ancient capital’s soul dish, the preparation stage is very meticulous. From clams, chili sauce, pickled chili, fish sauce to dozens of other flavors, all must be carefully prepared to make a bowl of harmonious clam rice. 

Com Hen is rustic and simple but also very delicious and attractive
Com Hen is rustic and simple but also very delicious and attractive

People soak clams to get rid of the dirt, thoroughly clean, and boil them before removing the shell. The flesh is then marinated with spices and stir-fried with oil, chopped onions, chili powder, and fish sauce. The broth is boiled again and seasoned with Hue shrimp paste, sugar, ginger, and salt. Stir-fried clams are put into a bowl with rice, herbs, roasted peanuts, star fruit slices, sesame seeds, and topped with pork cracklings. Shrimp paste and chili can be added to enhance the taste. 

The perfect combination taste of freshness and sweetness of clams, spiciness of chili, aroma of herbs, crispiness of pork cracklings and peanuts with rice will melt your heart. There is nowhere in the country you can find this strange and fascinating flavor of rice dishes. It is the pride of Hue locals in particular and of the country in general. Do not leave Vietnam until you try this specialty. 

8. Mi Quang (Quang noodles)

Referring to the cuisine of Central Vietnam, many people often think of Quang noodle, a specialty which is named after a tourist attraction province, Quang Nam. This is a dish that can cause nostalgia and attachment for diners while enjoying it. 

Just like Pho, vermicelli or other kinds of noodles, the Quang noodle is also made from rice but has its own special nuances and flavors. The rice should not be supple and soaked for at least 1 hour. After that, it will be put in a mill then coated into thin layers. Finally, the layers will be stacked on top of each other and sliced into stalks of noodles. Next comes many different ingredients to make a bowl of Quang noodles more interesting: shrimp, chicken, pork, beef, snakehead fish, crab, etc. These ingredients will appear in the dish depending on each cook. Despite many variations, Quang noodles cannot be savored without roasted rice paper, green chili, lemon slices, roasted peanuts, and an accompanying plate of raw vegetables. Mixed greens to eat with Quang noodles are usually baby cabbage with thinly sliced ​​young bananas, cilantro, Vietnamese mint, and Thai basil. 

Quang noodles are always in the top of must-try Vietnamese dishes
Quang noodles are always in the top of must-try Vietnamese dishes

Quang noodles should be eaten at noon. Pick up a chopstick of noodles into your mouth, bite a piece of hot chili, take a sip of the broth to make a delightful sound and you will understand why Quang Nam people cannot live without this dish. However, to enjoy the dish to the fullest, it must be savored together with rice paper. This special ingredient gives a crispy and fragrant taste, the fat of the grease mixed with the nuttiness of the baked rice perfectly finishes the taste of Quang noodles. 

The Quang noodle has its reputation now all over the South and the North of Vietnam. It has become a typical dish of the whole Central region and always presents in every daily meal of the people here as a habit, a lifestyle. It is also a unique attraction that attracts tourists every time they have the opportunity to visit this dear land.

9. Banh Canh Ca Loc (Snakehead fish noodles soup)

Banh Canh Ca Loc is one of the most popular and must-try Vietnamese dishes in the Central North of Vietnam, especially in Quang Tri province. It is loved and enjoyed by all local residents at any time in the day. 

As the name has already mentioned, this local dish consists of banh canh (noodles), ca loc (snakehead fish), broth from the fish, and some kinds of herb especially scallion and cilantro. For banh canh, Quang Tri people use both plain rice flour and brown rice flour. They are soaked together until soft, then grinded, kneaded well. People then use thin bamboo tubes to cut them into small threads. That is why the noodles when cooked are somewhat opaque, tougher than other kinds.

How can you resist this delicious fatty Banh Canh Ca Loc?
How can you resist this delicious fatty Banh Canh Ca Loc?

After that comes snakehead fish. This kind of fish is usually found in rivers, fields, or ponds. In the dish, it will be steamed until just cooked, after that the fish will be deboned. The next step is to stir-fry the meat to an attractive golden color. Fishbones are used to puree into the pot of broth. Therefore, the broth has a natural sweetness of the fish.

Snakehead fish noodles are best when eaten hot right after being scooped out from the pot. While preparing a bowl of noodles, sellers often sprinkle a little spicy chili powder to enhance the flavor. The standard bowl of Banh Canh Ca Loc must meet these requirements: soft, chewy noodles, fatty and golden color fish meat, especially the rich broth must still retain the freshly sweet taste but not fishy.

Nowadays, you can enjoy snakehead fish noodless everywhere in big cities across the country. However, the taste in Quang Tri still has its own characteristics. If you have a chance to stay in the Central of Vietnam, spending a little time savoring a bowl of Banh Canh Ca Loc will make your trip to this beautiful country unforgettable. 

10. Com Ga Tam Ky (Tam Ky Chicken Rice)

If you are traveling to the South Central Coast of Vietnam and looking for some famous dishes there, Com Ga Tam Ky must be the top one on the list. Tam Ky chicken brand in Quang Nam province has its reputation all over the country. The way of cooking the chickens is very typical and full of Central flavor.

Along Tam Ky town, there are dozens of chicken rice stalls and almost every place is busy with customers coming in and out. Because it is a chicken dish then obviously the main ingredient is chicken, but it must be Tam Ky chickens. Chickens in this hot and sandy area have to struggle to find food, so the meat is firm, the skin is thin. The chicken after being processed has golden skin, each muscle fiber is sweet and fragrant. The chicken broth is for cooking with rice, that is why the finished rice turns golden yellow and has a very attractive shine.

Tam Ky Chicken Rice carries the quintessence of Quang Nam province
Tam Ky Chicken Rice carries the quintessence of Quang Nam province

A Tam Ky Chicken Rice plate has all eye-catching colors: turmeric yellow of rice, ivory color of chicken, red of tomato, green of cucumber, purple of onions, all of which are local products. Therefore, the delicious plate of chicken rice contains the quintessence of Quang Nam.

It is indispensable to enjoy the dish with sour and sweet pickles that even the pickiest eaters can hardly ignore. The pickles neutralize the greasy taste of chicken rice, making the dish more delicious and attractive. Non-spicy eaters may be afraid of the red color of chili being spread all over the plate. However, for local people, the spicy taste of chili is indispensable in the dish.

Currently, Tam Ky Chicken Rice is very famous and available in many big cities, but it is not until Quang Nam can diners fully feel the special taste of this dish. Is that why anyone who has the opportunity to set foot in the Central region always tries to linger a little bit longer just to enjoy this extraordinariness?!

11. Banh Dap (Dap Cake)

Along the central provinces of Vietnam from Da Nang to Khanh Hoa, from street vendors to district markets, you will have a chance to come across Banh Dap, a rustic but unique and delicious cake.

In spite of being a rustic dish, it has a very elaborate way of processing. If you enjoy this dish from street vendors, you will be able to see first-hand the process of making the famous Banh Dap. 

A plate of Banh Dap is a delicious and attractive snack for people in the Central of Vietnam
A plate of Banh Dap is a delicious and attractive snack for people in the Central of Vietnam

The owners of these shops are often elderly mothers. The reason for that, according to many people, is that the processing of this dish requires a lot of experience and sophistication. In addition to the pre-baked rice paper, steamed thin rice pancakes are always made instantly to serve diners because only when it is still hot can the dish retain all the delicious flavors. 

The flour mixture to make steamed thin rice pancakes is from soaked and pureed rice. Before being steamed, rice flour is mixed with water in a certain ratio so that the slurry is not too thin or too thick. In addition, the mixture must be gently stirred by hand so that the products will be soft and silky. The seller will then scoop out a spoonful of flour mixture and spread it evenly on the cloth of the boiler. It only takes about 2 minutes to cook a pancake, then it will be skillfully unloaded by using a thin bamboo stick.

The pancake is then spread on top of the baked rice paper with onion fat put evenly on top. At this time, you finally can enjoy a hot, both crispy and soft, fatty and delicious Banh Dap. Nowadays, people also eat the dish together with grilled meat, boiled meat, or pig’s intestines. When savoring the cake, it is indispensable to have it with a cup of fish sauce seasoned with the typical spicy taste of the coastal land. Fold the cake in half, dip it into fish sauce, and there you go. The crispiness of the rice paper, the softness of the steamed thin rice pancake blended together in the richness of the seasoned sauce and the fragrant grilled meat bring a very unique and interesting taste that you will never forget.

If you have the opportunity to travel to the central coastal provinces in Vietnam, in addition to visiting gorgeous sceneries and enjoying rich seafood dishes, keep in mind to look for and taste this rustic Banh Dap once. 

12. Ca Phe Sua Dua (Coconut Coffee) 

Vietnam is well-known for its coffee. In spite of its reputation for the unique Ca Phe Sua (coffee with condensed milk), Coconut Coffee also has its special place in the hearts of its citizens. This must-try drink is often encountered in many major cities, especially Sai Gon and Ha Noi. 

Coconut Coffee - a unique and delicious drink of Vietnamese people
Coconut Coffee – a unique and delicious drink of Vietnamese people

Traditionally, this drink is made by combining these three ingredients: Vietnamese ground coffee, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. It’s a blended coconut slushy topped with some strongly brewed Vietnamese coffee. Coconut Coffee straddles the line between a drink and a dessert. The creamy sweetness of coconut milk does not lessen the richness or bitterness of coffee, but creates an attractive flavor symphony, attracting coffee lovers to enjoy it again and again. 

If you are a coffee and coconut lover, try one sip of this aromatic drink and you will be in heaven. 

13.  Hu Tiu Go (Street Noodle Soup)

Coming to Vietnam without trying noodle soup, especially the kind of noodles carried on trolleys in every corner of the Central South of Vietnam, is a huge regret. The word “go” means the sound that all Vietnamese growing up listening to “knock knock knock” of the noodle trolleys, the sound of people making money, the sound of bustling life. 

A bowl of Street Noodle Soup looks simple, but the taste is irresistible
A bowl of Street Noodle Soup looks simple, but the taste is irresistible

People usually sell this kind of noodles in the afternoon and evening at a surprisingly low price, about 15.000vnd per bowl. The main ingredients of this dish are noodles, pork, meatballs, wontons, broth, and some coriander. There are two special toppings that make this food irresistible: scrap and fried onion. These two are put on top of the bowl for the decoration effect but taste really amazing. The broth is clear but very flavorful. To enjoy the dish to the fullest, people often taste the soup first, then add on some fresh chili, lemon and soy sauce, after that the noodle bowl is ready to be savored. 

Street Noodle Soup attracts everyone by its simplicity but boldness, it is hard to resist and addictive. This dish can be found on nearly every street in Saigon. It is one of some must-try Vietnamese dishes. If you really want to explore all the essence of Vietnam, you simply cannot ignore this specialty. 

14. Bun Rieu Cua Dong (Minced Crab Vermicelli)

In Vietnam, regardless of the cold weather or hot summer days, freshwater minced crab vermicelli still can satisfy the most fastidious customers because of its rich flavor with slightly sour broth and subtly smell of field crab. You can easily find the dish wherever you are in this S-shaped country.

Bun Rieu Cua Dong is a rustic dish. It is easy to make but requires meticulousness. In order to serve a delicious bowl of Bun Rieu Cua, it often takes a whole day of ingredient preparation and processing. For delicious crab noodles soup, people must catch crabs from paddy fields. Field crabs after being caught must be washed and peeled off. Next, people will use a chopstick or a small spoon to get roe out from the crab’s shell. It is said that male crabs have a lot of meat while female crabs often have more roe. 

Bun Rieu Cua Dong is always the first choice of many diners
Bun Rieu Cua Dong is always the first choice of many diners

After the roe is taken out, the crab body is pureed with water. Then the crushed crab juice will be filtered into a cooking pot and put on medium heat. While waiting for the crab pot to boil, the cook will mix and put the ground meat, egg yolks, onions, garlic, and spices into the previously removed crab roes to make delicious crab paste. After the crab pot is boiled, the result we have is floating crab meat (Vietnamese people call it “rieu”) which is extraordinarily tasty and makes the dish one of a kind. 

A delicious bowl of Bun Rieu Cua Dong is often served with a plate of raw herbs. The taste of sweet and savory crab broth blends into each and every thread of vermicelli makes people feel light and refreshed in every kind of weather. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is one of the national spirit dishes in Vietnam. 

15. Ca Loc Nuong Trui (Grilled Snakehead Fish)

Favored by nature, the Southwest of Vietnam is very rich in terms of countless freshwater fish species. There is a saying that this is a place where rivers are full of fish, fields are full of shrimp. And regarding the most popular among the fish, snakehead fish must be mentioned. 

Snakehead fish is a very popular freshwater fish in Vietnam, also favored by Vietnamese people and very often used in daily meals. Although there are many dishes with the delicious fish, to experience the fullest flavor of it, only Grilled Snakehead Fish wins. 

Grilled Snakehead Fish is a rustic dish but extremely loved by people in the West Vietnam
Grilled Snakehead Fish is a rustic dish but extremely loved by people in the West Vietnam

Grilled Snakehead Fish is a rustic dish, so the way to prepare it is very simple. However, to have a delicious grilled dish, the chef needs to have some certain sophistication and ingenuity. Firstly, they only pick extremely fresh snakehead fish caught from the river, without fussy preparation, without dissection, without scaling, without even seasoning. After that, what is needed is a clean bamboo skewer. The fish will be skewed straight from the mouth to the full of its length. Next, the bamboo stick with the fish attached will be planted to the ground and then covered with dried straw. The amount of straw used to cover must be proper so that when it burns out, the fish is just cooked. 

After cooking, it is time to enjoy the delicious Grilled Snakehead Fish. Brushing off the ash from the fish, putting it in a large tray then splitting the fish body in half along the back. From here, the smell of grilled fish permeates the nose of tasters with an extremely fragrant aroma and a subtle bitter smell of straw smoke. Soft and fatty grilled fish meat which has a very delicious taste, dipped into sour and spicy fish sauce, eaten together with rice paper, vermicelli and raw vegetables create an irresistible experience. 

Grilled Snakehead Fish is a simple dish made from everyday ingredients, but this dish is the taste of the countryside, of the river, of people in the Southwest of Vietnam. Sometimes, just by gathering around a tray of Grilled Snakehead Fish in the afternoon, sipping a cup of spirits, and chatting about everyday life is already so meaningful and heart-warming. 

16. Bo Bay Nui An Giang (Beef From An Giang Seven Mountains)

Bay Nui cow or Bay Nui racing cow is a domestic breed of Vietnamese cattle raised in the Bay Nui area of ​​Tri Ton, An Giang. It is a purebred cattle breed of the Bay Nui region. At present, due to the practice of castration of bulls before adulthood in addition to the program of artificial crossbreeding with beef cattle, Bay Nui racing cows are in danger and on the way to extinction.

The cattle breed of Bay Nui An Giang is familiar to the people of the Southwest and has entered the tradition with martial spirit races in the Bay Nui bull racing festival. In tradition, the winning pair of bulls brings the whole family a lot of joy and luck. After winning, the pair will not be killed nor sold but kept as a valuable asset of the family. 

Specialty "Seven-course beef" of Sam mountain, An Giang province
Specialty “Seven-course beef” of Sam mountain, An Giang province

Walking along the streets at the foot of Sam mountain, one of many famous mountains in Chau Doc, visitors can’t just pass by but be attracted by eateries hanging the sign “Seven-course beef”. This is one of the specialties that attract tourists when coming to Chau Doc, An Giang. “Seven-course beef” includes dishes that any An Giang skilled cook must know: boiled beef intestines, boiled beef with banh hoi (a vermicelli dish), beef head porridge, sliced ​​beef with bread, stir-fried beef with wine leaves, steak and sauté diced beef.

The main ingredient to make this “Seven-course beef” is beef from the Bay Nui region. Bay Nui beef is soft and sweet. For that reason, no matter how the beef is processed, it is easy to make people want to eat more. A special feature when making “seven-course beef” is that people rarely buy ready-made beef at the market but buy a whole heifer. It is said that Sam mountain’s Seven-course beef is famous partly thanks to the source of fresh ingredients, in addition to the unique flavor of the sauce. Fish sauce used for dipping must be seasoned sauce mixed with minced pineapple along with the secret of rich seasoning. However, this dish will be less delicious without the accompany of vegetables such as celery, onion along with various and regionally mountainous vegetables.

Although each of these Seven beef dishes is different in some auxiliary ingredients, they all have the typical flavor of beef from the Bay Nui region. Many tourists travel to the Southwest and visit An Giang only to have a chance to witness this sacred land and also to enjoy the specialty of Sam mountain seven-dish beef.

17. Dua Sap (Macapuno Coconut)

About 130km away from Ho Chi Minh City, Tra Vinh is a coastal province of the Mekong Delta which specializes in the cultivation of specialty fruit farms. One of the most well-known fruits of this land is Dua Sap, a very special type of coconut since its entire inside has very little juice, filling with dense jelly-like flesh instead. 

Tra Vinh, Cau Ke district has long been known as the unique “Macapuno capital” in the Southwest. Bestowed by nature, only this district can grow many Macapuno Coconuts and is famous for the delicious taste of the coconut. Experienced growers in Cau Ke recount that when a tree has dozens of fruits, only 1 to 2 ones are Macapuno Coconuts. Therefore, growing this kind of coconut requires huge luck, some people become billionaires but there are also people who cannot make it. 

Externally, Macapuno Coconut appearance is not much different from normal kinds of coconut. When opened, the first interesting thing you will notice is that its flesh is very thick and has a rich aroma. If you are lucky enough to come across a delicious one, the jelly-like flesh will spread almost all of the coconut. In addition to flesh, this special type of coconut also has a layer of very soft wax that is made from coconut juice. 

Macapuno Coconut - an expensive and rare kind of coconut
Macapuno Coconut – an expensive and rare kind of coconut

Macapuno Coconut is not for people to drink to quench their thirst in the sweltering weather, also not to be eaten in a hurry to quench hunger. To fully enjoy it, you must know how to savor the essence of this unique fruit. Local Southwest residents have a rustic way of eating with bold regional imprints. After removing the shell, they will use a spoon to scrape the jelly-like flesh into a glass, add some Vietnamese condensed milk, shaved ice and sprinkle peanuts on top. Unlike smoothies in which all ingredients are mixed together making it hard to savor different flavors, a cup of Macapuno Coconut will have a distinguished taste from fatty flesh which gives off a sweet and rich aroma, the nutty taste of peanuts and the thrill of shaved ice. Once you eat it, you will be nostalgic and just cannot wait to jump right into the second cup. 

Because it is a rare specialty of Tra Vinh, the price of Macapuno Coconut is quite expensive for food lovers. However, anyone who has ever eaten this type of coconut has the same comment: it is not exaggerated to say that Macapuno Coconut is indeed the pride of Tra Vinh.

After being led from the North to the South to savor some of the must-try Vietnamese dishes, which dish do you like the most? As for Vietnamese people, these dishes are the national spirit of the country, the very traditional and sacred treasure that our ancestors have passed on to next generations and have been preserved until now. They are the pride of the whole nation.


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