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The Best Advice I Received Before Visiting Vietnam + 10 Local Foods to Try:

Staying active and eating healthy is not only one of the biggest challenges of travel but also one of the most rewarding aspects. Here are some practical tips, many inspired by mom, that have helped me find balance and stay healthy while on the road:Staying active and eating healthy is not only one of the biggest challenges of travel but also one of the most rewarding aspects. Here are some practical tips, many inspired by mom, that have helped me find balance and stay healthy while on the road:

For an extensive list of restaurants, activities, and more, check out my full Ha Noi Travel Guide!  

Vietnam is a country brimming with vibrant culture, beautiful scenery, and, of course, delicious food. Before my trip, the best advice I received before visiting Vietnam was to take on a local food tour. This recommendation enhanced my experience, allowing me to delve deeply into Vietnam’s rich culinary world, understand more of the culture, and connect with others, including an insightful local guide.

Here’s why a food tour should be on your Vietnam itinerary and ten local foods you absolutely must try when visiting Vietnam.


The Benefits of a Local Food Tour

Vietnamese cuisine is celebrated worldwide, but discovering the best places to eat is daunting for a first-time visitor. A local food tour takes the stress out of this process. Here’s why:

  1. Expert Guidance:  A local guide knows the best street food stalls and restaurants, ensuring you sample authentic, high-quality dishes. They can navigate the bustling streets and hidden alleys, bringing you to places you might not find on your own.

  1. Cultural Insights: Food in Vietnam is deeply intertwined with the culture. A guide can share fascinating stories and traditions behind each dish, providing a richer understanding of Vietnamese life.

  1. Meeting Locals: Food tours offer the chance to meet locals, both the guides and the vendors. These interactions add a personal touch to your journey, making it more memorable.

  1. Stress-Free Experience: With a guide handling the logistics, you can relax and enjoy the experience. They’ll know what to order and how to ensure you get the best of everything.

  1. Affordability and Enjoyment for Solo Travelers: For those traveling alone, food tours make meals more affordable and enjoyable. Sharing the experience with others can turn meals into social events, making it easier to sample a variety of dishes without breaking the bank.

10 Local Foods to Try in Vietnam

  1. Pho: No trip to Vietnam is complete without tasting pho. This noodle soup, made with beef or chicken, is a breakfast staple and a quintessential Vietnamese dish. “Dry pho,” noodles served without broth, is another must-try! 

  1. Bahn Mi: This Vietnamese sandwich combines a crispy baguette with a variety of fillings such as meat or tofu, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs. It’s a perfect example of Vietnam’s fusion of French and local culinary traditions.

  1. Bun Cha: A Hanoi specialty, bun cha consists of grilled pork patties served with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a tangy dipping sauce. It’s a flavorful and satisfying dish.

  1. Goi Cuon: Also known as fresh spring rolls, goi cuon are made with shrimp, pork, fresh herbs, and vermicelli, all wrapped in rice paper. They’re light, healthy, and delicious.

  1. Cao Lau: This unique dish from Hoi An features thick noodles, slices of pork, fresh greens, and crunchy croutons, all in a savory broth. The noodles are made with water from local wells, giving them a distinct taste.

  1. Banh Xeo: These savory pancakes are filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts, then fried until crispy. They’re usually served with fresh lettuce and herbs, which you use to wrap the pancake pieces before dipping them in a tangy sauce.

  1. Com Tam: This “broken rice” dish is a favorite in southern Vietnam. It’s usually topped with grilled pork, a fried egg, and various pickled vegetables, making it a hearty and satisfying meal.

  1. Hu Tieu: A versatile noodle soup that varies by region, hu tieu can be served with a clear broth or dry, topped with meats and seafood.

  1. Che: This sweet dessert soup comes in many varieties, often featuring beans, fruit, and coconut milk. It’s a delightful way to end a meal or cool off on a hot day.

  1. Ca Phe Trung: Also known as egg coffee, this unique drink from Hanoi combines Vietnamese coffee with a creamy, frothy egg yolk mixture. It’s rich, sweet, and delicious.

So, when you plan your trip to Vietnam, be sure to book a food tour and savor the flavors that make this country crave-worthy!

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