Unusual Dishes that you MUST try in Vietnam

Unusual Dishes that you MUST try in Vietnam


Every country has some unique dishes to offer – sometimes it can be strikingly intriguing especially if you are NOT accustomed to such a meal. Vietnam offers an array of unusual dishes that will surely satisfy your tastebuds – from creepy-naming hearty meals to authentic Vietnamese cuisines you should never miss. The streets of Vietnam are also swarming with must-try dishes leaving you planning for a food trip!


  Believe it or not, this is considered the LEAST scary on this list. In Vietnam, frogs are considered the perfect partner for beer but also, it is treated as one of the main courses. 

Locals prefer the ones that are small but with long legs, these are usually found in the Mekong Delta all throughout the year but are at its peak in spring or during the rainy season. 

The frog is steamed, fried or grilled after skinning, cleaning and dressing . It is commonly served with rice on the table. 

There are several ways of cooking the frog depending on your liking, it can be barbecued with lemon, salt, and pepper. It can also be a substitute for chicken when cooking curry, or frog porridge. Others would sautee the frog together with lemongrass and chili. Once you have a taste of its meat, you will surely dig in as frog meat tastes similar to that of the chicken!

It is also packed with flavors, vitamins and minerals that makes it a healthy food – reducing malnourishment of a child. 

Pro tip: The best part of the frog is the crunchy skin.

Frog unusual dish in Vietnam


Do you have a guess as to what this dish is? It is simply fermented shrimp! This dish is essential to complete an unusual list of dishes in Vietnam – yes, the list is never complete without it! Mam tom or commonly known as shrimp paste plays a huge role in  Northern Vietnam dishes and bun dau mam tom is a well-known dish. It has become extremely popular that it has taken Saigon by a storm. 

Do you have a guess as to what this dish is? It is simply fermented shrimp! There are some who are not fond of this dish’ smell. Before you neglect this dish, it is good to note that it blends well with other ingredients such as vermicelli, fried tofu, boiled pork and some greens.

Pro tip: People usually add kumquat to the paste to make it smell better which creates a sweet and sour flavor. A few slices of chili will also add a spicy touch to the dish.

BÚN ĐẬU MẮM TÔM in Vietnam


An infusion of Vietnamese and Chinese culinary skills – this soup is made of cow intestines (pha lau bo) and has captured the hearts of the locals.

The Vietnamese utilised some of the cow’s organs instead of wasting it. The intestines are washed for several times with the help of salt and the acidity of lemon to eliminate any bacteria. It is then bathed with wine and ginger to remove unwanted smell before plunging it in milk to cook. Once done, the organs are then chopped into bite size to be served!

This dish is addicting as it deceives the senses leaving you asking for more. The taste and texture is perfected with the sweet and sour dipping served with this dish. Its dipping sauce is a combination of fish sauce, sugar, and kumquat juice. 

Should you want to make this at home to warm your cold nights, the ratio to follow for the dipping sauce is 2:1 – kumquat juice and fish sauce. This masks the smelly scent of the fish and produces a sour flavor. 

If you are headed for a food trip make sure to drop by at any street food to try this out. It is quite popular on the streets and usually ordered by teenagers.

A bowl of cow intestine soup with instant noodles or banh mi (Vietnamese baguette) will surely brighten a drizzling day. If you are not a fan of soup, you might want to try the dry version of this dish – sauteed intestines in butter and tamarind sauce (pha lau xao bo).



It might be a cliche but here’s to saving the best for last! Raw dishes are not something that is new on the menu but this is out of the typical salmon or prawns that you have tried. This dish is absolutely out of your league as the main ingredient for this course is live fat coconut worms (Asian palm weevil larvae). 

This dish is popular in the Mekong Delta region, Asian palm weevil larvae are known for its fat yellow to white body with a protruding brown head. It nests inside coconut stems and feeds on coconut tubers. To grab hold of these larvae, people will need to cut down a coconut tree as these usually live in dead trees.

Looking at it, it may turn your stomach upside down however, it actually tastes delicious especially when eaten fresh. It is commonly served in a bowl of fish sauce and some chilis. 

How does it taste? Without imagining what is inside the bowl and just immediately devouring this dish, you are up to a buttery milk goodness!

It can also be eaten while live without the fish sauce, just pair it with a bottle of your favourite beer or go with cooking them – grilled, butter-fried, steamed with coconut juice or make it as a porridge. 


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