My mum always says that I came out of the womb hungry and I’ve been hungry 99% of my 23 years on earth since then.
Therefore, the fact that I haven’t written any food posts about my travels through South East Asia yet blows my mind as it was definitely a highlight of the trip for me and one of my main motivators to travel is always to try all the new and tasty food (greedy but true).
So, this first post in my Asian travel food series will focus on Vietnam and it’s various delicious delicacies that have me lusting over them on a daily basis even now 5 months later.
In no particular order, these are the foods/meals that I think you’d be absolutely crazy not to try if you visit Vietnam…
FRESH RICE PAPER ROLLS
Sometimes known as fresh spring rolls, these are a Vietnamese classic that have gained popularity recently in the Western world too for obvious reasons. They’re like little pieces of heavenly freshness that are just PERFECT in the extortionate muggy heat. The best ones have prawns in FYI.
You may be fooled by it’s disguise as a regular sandwich but banh mi is far superior to your standard Subway. Crunchy baguette, succulent pork and delicious herbs (although beware of the devil himself (fennel) making an appearance, as they often squeeze that in there which is a major game changer).
GREEN PAPAYA SALAD
This one wasn’t something that I would have thought to order but when you end up in a restaurant with Vietnamese menus and waitresses that speak not one word of English, you get whatever you’re given. And so our love for green papaya salad was born. I don’t even like papaya in normal life but whatever they do to it with the peanuts and the chilli makes it go from a boring watery fruit into a culinary delight.
Which isn’t called Vietnamese pizza to the Vietnamese people, it’s actually Bánh Tráng Nướng. I believe the ‘dough’ is made of noodles topped with green veg (morning glory shoutout coming up below) and smothered with thinly sliced beef and a very delicious sauce that I can’t pin down the flavours of. Basically, it’s a complete mystery to me but it’s the very best kind of mystery.
Before Vietnam I though morning glory was something very different to this delightful vegetable. This stir fried in the insane way that the Vietnamese make it is better than any takeaway or bar of chocolate ever, I promise.
When you see it written down like that it’s a bit confusing as to how this is even a thing… However, I didn’t even like coffee before visiting Asia (criminal, I know) and now I can just about stomach it in small doses and the Vietnamese egg coffee is one of the nicest ones I’ve tried. And yes it’s made with actual egg. Strange but scrumptious.
And saving the most iconic for last…
Pho is the food of gods and it would be downright rude not to try it in it’s natural habitat of Vietnam. Although it is like a bag of revels; some of them are unbelievably good and some of them are a bit flavourless, or worse, taste like dishwater. Risky business but when you find the one, it’s something very very very special.
If you’re getting all inspired to visit Vietnam then read my post on Hoi An to induce your wanderlust even further.