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Top Five Must-Eat Foods in Vietnam
By Emma Gardiner
9 August 2010





Being invaded by a bunch of other countries must really suck but the one positive is the resulting cuisine. Such is the case in Vietnam. Chinese, Japanese, French and traditional influences come together to form a diverse, unique and produce-driven array of food.

One cautionary note to Hanoi travellers; local food is bizarrely hard to find. Yeah, there are people hanging around on the street eating broiled gizzards but finding food that doesn’t scare the bejeezus out of you is something of a challenge.

Anyway, having been to Vietnam before, I can highly recommend these things;

1. Spring rolls
Fresh or deep fried; it really doesn’t matter. Every spring roll in Vietnam is a work of art. They come served with soy sauce and are filled with a combination of bean sprouts, mushrooms, pork, cucumber, mint, shallots, prawns and vermicelli. In some places you can roll your own fresh spring rolls with the hard, round discs of rice paper they supply. Simply dunk them in water and fill them to your heart’s desire. They’re Asia’s answer to the burrito.

2. Fresh baguettes
Grab one of these crunchy bread rolls and eat it en solo or saunter up to one of the baguette wagons and go crazy with the pate, pork, coriander, lettuce, pickled carrot, chilli, Happy Cow cheese and mystery sauces. It’s all going to taste good, even if you’re not really sure what it is.

3. Fresh seafood with lime, salt and pepper
Whether it’s grilled or boiled, you can order crabs, prawns, scampi and all sorts of giant lobster-ish things at market price. Be warned, however, that market price might be the equivalent of a house deposit. Most food in Vietnam is cheap but seafood isn’t. Dunk them in a combo of lime juice, salt and pepper and you will be in protein heaven.

4. Pho (pronounced ‘fur’)
I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t actually eat any pho in Vietnam on this trip because it was too damn hot but I can still recommend it highly from my last trip and from my weekly visits to Pho Bac in Marrickville aka The Other Vietnam. This delicious broth comes with rice noodles, meat, bean sprouts and herbs and is available in every alley way in every city. It’s the national food, like biscuits are to the English or muesli is to the Swiss.

5. Salt and pepper anything
Could be calamari. Could be chicken. Could be an old sock and it would still taste amazing. Lightly powdered in rice flour and seasoning, deep friend and dishes up with aromatic garlic, shallots and chilli, you absolutely cannot go wrong.
 

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Keywords: Din, Fresh, Hot, Taste, Hanoi


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