Food plays a central role in Vietnamese culture, and special dishes are included in almost every celebration and ritual around. You’ll notice this immediately when you travel to Vietnam. Food is all around you. Most provinces have their own specialties and dishes they are renowned for. If you have an adventurous palate and like spicy food, then you’ll find that Southern Vietnamese food is the food for you.
If you are looking for the most authentic food on your vacation, stay away from sit down restaurants, as these are mainly for tourists. Instead, try one of the many street side take away stalls. Here you will find low cost and delicious food of all sorts, including meat and vegetarian options, all liberally doused in delicious fish sauce. You can even buy a bottle to take home with you.
Pho is the national dish of Vietnam, and you will find plenty of it in these street stalls. Pho is a soup which comes with your meat of choice, and delicious rice noodles that are somewhat like spaghetti. It’s served with plenty of fresh herbs like cilantro, limes, and bean sprouts that you add to the soup, along with condiments like chili paste and soy sauce. For the natives, this is the equivalent of fast food, and the vendors serve it up quick. Many travelers will tell you that the food served from these roadside vendors is both cheaper and tastier than what you can find in the more expensive restaurants.
Don’t be scared off by the fact that these street vendors do all of their cooking outdoors in somewhat dirty conditions. The food they serve is absolutely safe to eat. As long as you stay away from food that has been undercooked, you will be fine. You’ll find some of the best cuisine that Vietnam has to offer from these street vendors.