Top 6 ridiculously tasty destinations for diners in Vietnam

Nga Do
Vietnamese cuisine doesn't win any points for complexity. Many of the most popular dishes can be made just as well on the side of the road as in a top-end restaurant. But it's precisely this simplicity, the subtle variations by region and the fresh ingredients, that keep us pulling up a plastic stool for more. Access to the following destinations for interesting dining experiences in Vietnam.

1. Hanoi

To the Vietnamese palate, the differences between northern and southern cuisines are pronounced. For travellers, those differences are far more subtle. One thing you can be sure, is that food will be a highnight of your Hanoi travels as it will be throughout Vietnam.

Hanoi may well be the best place in Vietnam to sample street food. You can barely welk a block in the Old Quarter without stumbling across a run down opening packed with tiny plastic stools, low tables and enthusiastic diners. These places are so abundant that it would be ridiculous to list favourites. We're not going to presume to know more than the locals. Follow them and you won't go wrong. 

And if you want something a litter more comfortable than street dining, there are also plenty of choices from good quality, inexpensive Vietnamese eateries through to some impressive upscale spots. Several of Hanoi's more upmarket restaurents are lacated in spectacular colonial era villas that have been lovingly restored.

2. Hoi An

There are plenty of places to try in Hoi An, ranging from budget to extravagantly-expensive, but you’ll find something to fit your budget. You will find that everything you eat in Hoi An is locally sourced within the city. The seafood is fished from the nearest river, the rice flour is milled from scratch using rice from the nearby fields, and the alkaline water used for making noodles and dough are from the local wells.

There are so many different specialty dishes to try in Hoi An and not nearly enough time to eat them all. The three days we spent there wasn't enough, but we tried best to eat as much we could get our mouths on. Each restaurant and street food vendor specializes in specific dishes and you may find no menu available or prices listed anywhere. 

3. Hue

Tourists often come to Hue and visit restaurants which serve specialities. They find a restaurant not only because of the hunger after the excursion, visiting the scenic and historic places in Hue, but more interesting, they come to learn the culture of this place through the art of food processing and culinary philosophy.

The rustic dishes are made from the common materials in everyday life of people in Hue, simple processed and not too fussy as the dishes which are used to serve the aristocracy. There are many rustic dishes but no Hue people could forget Hue tiny mussel rice, beef noodle with pig’s leg, boiled meat – shrimp sour paste, Khoai cake, bloating duckweed-shaped cake, Nam cake, wet cake…

4. Da Nang

The best dishes in Da Nang utilise fresh seafood and various cuts of meat (and organs for the most adventurous of diners) as well as local herbs and greens, resulting in a myriad of colours and flavours that you won’t get anywhere else. As one of the most underrated cities in Vietnam, Da Nang offers a wide range of inexpensive yet unique dining options.   Great for backpackers or fuss-free travellers, a noodle or rice dish is priced between VND 10,000 and 30,000 VND, while barbecued delicacies cost about VND 30,000 onwards. The best thing about Da Nang dishes is that they are often made to order, so you can easily customise them according to your preference. Therefore, no trip to Da Nang is complete without trying out at least one of these must-try dishes in Da Nang.

5. Ho Chi Minh City

The best Ho Chi Minh City dishes are well regarded as nutritious, savoury, and hearty delights that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Some of the defining traits in Vietnamese cuisine include rice, noodles, seafood, pork and beef, as well as various fresh herbs and spices, all of which result in robust flavours and unique interpretations. Although the city is evolving into a cosmopolitan landscape with sprawling shopping malls, fine-dining restaurants and luxury hotels, you can still find plenty of roadside eateries, vibrant street market, and street food carts to satisfy your appetite for authentic Vietnamese delicacies. 

Dining in Ho Chi Minh is not just limited to Vietnamese pho and coffee, as you can also enjoy fresh seafood, noodles, rice, spring rolls, and meats prepared with an array of cooking methods. Also great for travellers on a tight budget, some of these top must-try foods in Ho Chi Minh City are not only hearty and filling, but also cost less than VND 40,000 per dish. 

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