Tue, 15 Jul 2014. Last updated Fri, 19 Oct 2018 15:56
Choosing Vietnam as a destination for this summer holiday was my very wise decision. To be honestly, I had a wonderful holiday with some new experiences. Admiring the stunning and peaceful landscapes, meeting friendly and hospitable hosts, participating in traditional festivals are some of my unforgettable experiences in Vietnam. However, the best part in my journey was enjoying Vietnam street food in a unique and comfortable way. I have to recommend that your trip to Vietnam will not be complete without tasting the street food here.
Street food is a unique culinary feature in Vietnam cuisine. Street foods are often sold in street vendors. Vietnamese street vendors are easily found in every corner of the country from the biggest cities like Ho Chi Minh City (Sai Gon), Hanoi, Da Nang, etc. to smaller ones such as Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and so on.
Street vendors are divided into three types. I do not know the exact names of these street food vendor’s types, but I can describe them. The first one I met is a very simple restaurant with plastic chairs placed on pavements. Customers will use some chairs to sit and another one to become a table. The second kind is also a simple shop in which food are sold on sidewalks. And the last one is a “moving shop” – a kind of street vendor that sellers can move around either by bike or on foot.
Street food in Vietnam are also quite diverse, however, the three types I like best including noodle soup, fermented pork roll and rolled cake.
Firstly, talking about Vietnamese noodle soup, this is a very famous food to foreigners. It contains of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles, a few herbs and meat (made from beef, chicken, pork, and snail). In one early morning in Hanoi, I got up, walked around and found a breakfast food stall in a small corner of Hanoi. I called for myself one bowl of sliced well-done flanks noodle soup. Luckily, as soon as a friendly host realized a foreigner in his vendor, he welcomed me with a warm-hearted attitude and guided me how to eat the noodle bowl like Vietnamese people. I have to emphasize that it was a very interesting experience. I felt the noodle soup is more delicious and special than the previous times. Before tasting the noodle, I took some vinegar (made from garlic, chili and water) and squeezed some drops of green lemon on the bowl. This stage will not be missed if you want to have a truly Vietnamese noodle bowl. At first, I took in a little broth with my spoon, slurped in some to get a taste of it, and then followed it up with the rice noodles using your chopsticks. Then, I selected pieces of ingredients from the bowl and enjoyed them individually or together with the broth and noodle. Slurping the noodle bowl in the noisy and crowded street stall is an unforgettable experience in my life. Some foreigners may feel a little bit embarrassing when eating like this, but this is the exact way Vietnamese people enjoying a noodle soup in the most comfortable condition. And I promise to you that eating by that way makes your noodle soup tastier than the other times you ate.
Another favorite street food of mine is Vietnamese fermented pork roll (Nem Chua). Nem Chua is a meat roll made from minced pork, sliced pigskin and a mixture of seasoning and garlic with and spicy taste including sweet, sour, salty which makes the mouth salivate with each bite. There are some kinds of Nem Chua, but I prefer the grilled and unfermented one. Eating the grilled and fermented pork roll with some chili sauce is the greatest mixed flavor that I have tried. Until now, I still salivate once thinking about this food.
Vietnam rolled cake is also a well-known street food for foreign tourists. There are a plenty types of rolled cake for different tastes of customers including egg rolls, vegetarian rolls, shrimp rolls, meat rolls, etc. However, to me, I like meat rolled cake the most. Enjoying meat rolled cake with some dry onions and Vietnamese sauce is the strangest flavor. The dish has fatty taste of dry onion and meat and a little bit sweet, sour, salty and spicy of sauce which is made from fish sauce, chili, sugar and green lemon. It has very wonderful flavor in my opinion.
Besides, there is a variety of delicious street foods in Vietnam such as stuffed pancake, shrimp in batter, young rice cake, and so on. Nonetheless, I had no chance to try all of them because there are so many delicious and eye-catching foods in this beautiful country. I myself now have a strong desire to come back Vietnam again to explore the things I have not tried.