10 Delicious Vietnamese Dishes That Aren’t Pho

When people think Vietnamese food, Pho (or phở), the rice noodle dish made of herbs, chicken or beef, is most likely the first thing that comes to mind given its popularity across America from hole in the wall joints to high-end restaurants.

However, there’s so much more delicious Vietnamese cuisine than just pho, and you’d be missing out if you never knew about them. Here are ten Vietnamese dishes that are absolutely worth trying:

1. Bánh xèo


View this post on Instagram


Banh Xeo! Xeooo…xeoooo…. it’s called “Banh Xeo” because when the batter hits the hot pan, it makes the sizzling sound, “xeooooo”. A crispy, light Vietnamese crepe filled with thinly sliced pork belly, shrimp, mung bean, bean sprouts and scallions. My dad made the crispiest and crunchiest ones growing up and I’d used to eat it with soy sauce until my mom hit my hand and told me I’d have to learn to eat it (and everything else) with nuoc mam. I still toggle between the two sauces though 😄 The secret to a crispy batter is Heineken beer. I kid you not. It’s a staple in every Vietnamese household. “Mot trai Hai-nee-kun di!” One Heineken please! 🙋🏻‍♀️🍺 #helenskitchen #SaigonSocialNYC . . . . . . . . . #banhxeo #vietnamese #crepe #shrimp #mungbean #tumeric #porkbelly #vietnameseeats #vietnamesecuisine #vietnamesefood #vietfood #comfortfood #ngonlam #justlikepapausedtomake #nyceats #eeeeeats #crispy #crunchy

A post shared by Helen (@miss_hailan) on

This translates directly to “sizzling pancake.” The crispy pancake is made out of rice flour, water, and turmeric powder. This crepe-like meal can be stuffed with meats such as shrimp, or made vegetarian. It is also full of vegetables that include a heaping amount of bean sprouts and mint leaves. No bánh xèo dish is complete without a serving of dipping sauce called nước chấm that has a fishy taste.

2. Bánh mì



View this post on Instagram


Look! My banh mi has a face. 🤪 Nom Nom Nom

A post shared by ғσσ∂ тяαvεℓ ℓιғε (@valeri_n) on

Perhaps the second most popular known Vietnamese dish in the country, this baguette sandwich is stuffed with a hearty amount of vegetables and meat. One side of the bread is coated in mayonnaise while the other is coated in pate. Layered inside are pickled daikon, carrots, cucumber and cilantro. This sandwich can also be made vegetarian, but a common meat inside the sandwich is chả, a type of Vietnamese sausage.

3. Cháo gà


View this post on Instagram


Chicken porridge: cháo gà

A post shared by Văn Công Tú (@vietnamesegod) on

If you’re looking for something to keep you warm after a cold day or need an alternative to bland chicken noodle soup, try this Vietnamese chicken porridge. Vietnamese kids had this on their sick days well into adulthood. Top it off with some shredded mushrooms and fish sauce, and this steaming bowl will keep your strength up throughout the day.

4. Xôi


View this post on Instagram


🍚BỮA SÁNG NGÀY MAI: XÔI LÁ NẾP HẠT SEN . . Trời ơi nghĩ đến sáng mai dậy được ăn miếng xôi ngọt thơm mùi dừa bào, đường thốt nốt thoang thoảng mà cặm cụi vào bếp làm món xôi không tìm được ở Hà Nội này. 😭 . . Nấu xôi không lâu, nhưng khó ở căn thời gian sôi, thời gian ủ hơi vì mình chỉ nấu bằng nồi cơm điện. Sau lần nấu xôi gà, đây là lần nấu xôi mà thực sự hài lòng vì hạt không bị nhão, dính vào nhau quá. . . Lá nếp làm gạo có màu xanh tự nhiên, rắc thêm ít mè đen rang thơm nức mũi. Đúng là đặc ân mùa đông. . . #followmyinstafood #xoilanep #vsco #vscocam #instafood #instagood #photooftheday #igers #foodstagram #foodoftam #fotd #foody #foodie #foodpic #foodporn #foodphotography #lovefood #foodlover #yummy #thehappynow #feedfeed #onmytable #tastemade #foodstyling #meal #breakfast #vietnamesefood #homemade #xoi

A post shared by By Tam Do (@cookwithxoai) on

This can be made savory or sweet for a light dessert. Glutinous rice is the main base and other toppings can be mixed in. Some popular toppings include mung beans, coconut, and durian. This very colorful dish not only tastes amazing but can be an Instagram lover’s dream to photograph.

5. Cá Chiên Sả

Move over fish and chips. This fried fish with lemongrass is best served with fish sauce or nuoc mam. This is a popular Vietnamese way to eat fish and can be served in a bed of greens and sliced tomatoes as well.

6. Bánh Tráng Nướng


View this post on Instagram


#banhtranhnuong #dalat #vietnam

A post shared by Bella 🇻🇳 (@smil3793) on

This popular Vietnamese street food is the equivalent of street food pizza. The “dough” is a round, thin flat rice cracker that is topped with scallion oil, toasted dried shrimp, quail eggs, fermented shrimp paste and fried shallots. Vendors will place the cracker on top of a personal small charcoal grill and layer the toppings on as the cracker becomes crispy. Top it off with sriracha and you’ll never go back to pizza again.

7. Canh chua


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kris (@rasianbran) on

This is a sour fish based soup. Most of the savory base of the soup comes from the catfish and the sweetness comes from the sugar. Pineapples and tomatoes contribute to the sweetness of the soup and adds texture as well. Alternatives to catfish can be fish cakes or quail eggs. The sour taste of the soup comes from the tamarind.

8. Lẩu

This translates directly to hotpot and can mostly be any Vietnamese vegetable or meat that you desire. Some common ones are fish and tofu. Common vegetables to pair it with include lotus root, kale, and baby spinach.

9. Cơm Sườn Nướng


View this post on Instagram


$1 for rice with pork chop: ✔ #breakfast #comsuongnuong #riceandporkchop #Vietnam

A post shared by Chien Dinh (@excee_d) on

If you enjoy pork chops, then you will enjoy this Vietnamese grilled pork dish. This simple meat and broken rice dish is usually served with an egg, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a side of nuoc mam.

10. Bún bò Huế

Perhaps a lesser known soup compared to pho but still as tasty is this rice vermicelli and beef soup. If you enjoy pho and like your soup a little bit more spicy, this is definitely something to try. Traditionally, the soup also contains coagulated pig blood cubes. A squeeze of lime and fresh lemongrass really ties the meal all together.

Featured image via Instagram / valerie_n (left) and viethomecooking (right)

Related Posts