Exotic Eats: Vietnam

Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 in Exotic Eats, Vietnam | 2 comments

Known as some of the healthiest food on the planet due to its fresh ingredients, focus on veggies, and lack of oil in cooking, Vietnamese cuisine is not only delicious but leaves you feeling both satisfied and healthy. Lemongrass, ginger, mint, lime, and basil liven up every meal and have a way of adding flavor without the fat. Vietnamese dishes may even be my favorite thus far on the trip (even rivaling Thai food). And the unbeatable hospitality at restaurants seems to make each bite taste even better. 

Another reason that I wish Mike and I had more time in Vietnam was to sample more of the local dishes. But, I managed to make a dent in a few of the most popular/recommended:


Pho: Pho is an extremely popular dish in Vietnam sold by street vendors and fancy restaurants alike.  It is even gaining popularity around the world (which means that thankfully, I know I can find it in Chicago!).  Pho is a noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and a meat (beef or chicken). The crisp, yet mild flavors account for its popularity, but half the fun is making the dish suit your specific tastes with the condiments.  The dish is served with onions, chili peppers, lime, bean sprouts, and a variety of colorful sauces.  Mike and I enjoyed Pho on our first night in Vietnam at a recommended restaurant by our hotel.  We walked into the open air, well lit, cafeteria style restaurant and sat down at a free table.  There were no menus and no English spoken but when the waiter came over, we held up two fingers indicating we wanted to bowls of pho.  He went over to a huge vat of boiling liquid and spooned out two heaping servings of some of the most delicious pho we have eaten.  




Bia Ho’i:  This is the name of a popular, brandless draft beer that can be found throughout Vietnam. The beer is cheap ($.25 per glass), light (3% alcohol), and available at many small bars and street corners (it is brewed daily and always fresh).  We enjoyed bia ho’i in Hanoi and it brought me back to my college days: keg beer that tastes just good enough to have a second (or third or fourth) glass. 
Nem Chua Ran (fried fermented pork): You cannot take part in the bia ho’i experience without sitting on a tiny blue or red stool and indulging in some snacks.  We enjoyed a plate of Nem Chua Ran while sipping street-side beers at a crowded restaurant.  The crispy pork dish was fried to perfection, flavorful, and complemented by a dipping sauce made of chili, garlic, and Vietnamese coriander.  

Nem Chua Ran- Fried Fermented Pork

Egg coffee (Cafe Trung): Everyone has heard about the strong Vietnamese coffee, but I would guess that few have sampled the Hanoi specialty called egg coffee.  While it sounded bizarre to me, our tour guide assured us that it was not only safe (if somewhat labor intensive) to drink but also incredibly delicious.  I read a food blog that described egg coffee as a cadbury creme egg with a hint of mocha and I think that about sums this beverage up.  

Egg Coffee




  1. Now I see what egg coffee is.. Sorry, I viewed your pics before reading this blog. Glad you enjoyed it

  2. Again….love the food blogs! Haha. It’s all about the food. No, seriously…..enjoy ALL blogs. You two are excellent descriptive writers. I am traveling with you……

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