Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)
One of the original Vietnamese dishes in the country is calledGoi cuon has a similarity to that of the Chinese ones called “gio on” however, Vietnamese spring rolls are fresh. This dish is commonly known as goi cuon in Vietnam.
The ingredients are cooked beforehand and then wrapped in translucent rice paper and served with a dipping sauce like fish or peanut sauce. No deep frying involved here!
Originally the spring roll was brought to Vietnam by Chinese immigrants but, like with many imported foods, the Vietnamese put their own spin on it to make what is now known as Vietnamese spring rolls. Goi cuon focuses on fresh ingredients and these delicious little parcels are packed with salad greens.
As well as salad, goi cuon traditionally includes just a slither of meat, shrimp and some coriander. While they have now become a popular entree at Vietnamese restaurants, they were traditionally made to be eaten by a large group of people at home.
Known as Vietnamese pancakes, this original Vietnamese dish is basically deep-fried savory pancakes or crepes made from rice flour.
Some recipes include pork, egg, shrimp, and bean sprouts. The name Banh Xeo literally means “sizzling cake” and is so-called because of the sound the rice batter makes when it hits the pan – it sizzzzzles!
This traditional food of Vietnam is great for an afternoon snack and you’ll be able to find street vendors serving it as well as on the menu at restaurants. It’s often served with some delicious sauces that you can dunk your cut up pieces of banh xeo into, or just wrapped in banana leaves so you can eat it on the go.
While banh xeo was traditionally a working-class meal due to its portability, it worked its way up to being a delicious and famous dish of Vietnam much like pho or banh mi. While you can find it in restaurants we think the versions sold by street vendors are usually the best!
Vietnam has been colonized by France before and it’s not a surprise that some remnants of the past lingers on to this day.
The banh mi is a perfect example of French influence on Vietnamese cuisine, but just like with pho, the simple French baguette changed once it reached the shores of Vietnam. Banh mi looks like a French baguette, but it’s much lighter and more crumbly than the original.
Also similar to pho, banh mi can be found practically everywhere in Vietnam, with sandwich fillings that vary but are pretty much always delicious! The traditional filling for a banh mi usually includes pork, cucumber, pickled carrots, spring onion, coriander, and hot sauce.
Nowadays, banh mi has evolved with various fillings that can vary with anything from meatballs to fish or even ice-cream in some places.
Just like pho, nowadays banh mi can be found all around the world for sale in Asian bakeries as well as anywhere you visit in Vietnam.
It’s ideal for a quick snack or lunch on the go while you’re exploring.
Com Tam (Broken Rice)
Com tam (‘broken rice’) is a traditional street food snack from Saigon in southern Vietnam, made from fractured rice grains. Broken or fractured rice is usually what’s leftover when rice is harvested and handled so it wasn’t regarded as very good quality. However, poor farmers in the Mekong Delta would use it to eat after selling their ‘good rice’ as it still filled the stomach.
The rice is served with grilled pork, various plates of greens, pickled vegetables, an egg, fish sauce and a small bowl with broth. Broken rice has a different, softer texture than unbroken rice and absorbs other flavors more easily. It also cooks faster which makes it ideal for rice porridges.
Like many of the original Vietnamese dishes, com tam started out as ‘poor man’s food but the innovation of those poor cooks made it taste so good that it’s now a preferred dish for everyone!