All right, so this post is rather straightforward as all food posts should be. So, you read the title of this post right. I’m listing down all the food that I tried while I was in Vietnam for about a year. Well, obviously, this is not EVERYTHING that I’ve ever tried while I was in Vietnam. (I wished I was sensible and responsible enough to have documented EVERYTHING that I stuffed my mouth with while I was there. But, too late for this old little blame game, now.) Instead, you’ll see just a chunk of the many wonderful flavors that I was blessed to have experienced while I was there.
So, anyway, take a look at some of the many delicious food that I tried (and some truly, deathly love) in Vietnam. Have you tried some of them too?
Before we begin, lemme just introduce myself a bit. I’m Ley, a Filipino from Cebu City, Philippines. Like a lot of people my age (and from my region), my daily meal consists of fast food, things Filipinos usually love to eat, and things prepared at home by my mom or dad. Simply put, I’m very ‘simplistic’ when it comes to world flavors and tastes.
Now that we’re done with that, let us please proceed.
The very first time I arrived in Hanoi, I must say that everything was a blur. There was this need to blend in right away and I just remembered that the very first thing that we did was act like locals when it came to ordering Vietnam food. I’m sure this serving would taste so much better today, but I remember almost shedding a tear when my boss ordered me to finish my plate. This was only VND35,000 and already had soup, rice, three types of meat, and hard coconut meat (for dessert?)
Since I was exposed to the academic world, I often had to stay on campuses and try the different ‘campus food’ that most students also ordered. My translator was particularly proud of this set meal which consisted of chicken, rice, pickled papaya, rice, lots of greens, and peanuts.
The next few days were very difficult for me. From Hanoi where everything was busy and hectic and available, I had to move to a more quiet and toned-down Bac Ninh City. Worse, I had to stay close to a small university that was basically miles away from the big city. Good thing I quickly befriended the university chef and he tried to give me as much variety as he can on a daily basis. He even cooked noodles for me whenever he felt that I couldn’t ‘take’ the food for the day.
Now alone in a new city, I knew that I had to discover new Vietnam food. And fast. And that was when I was first introduced to pho. I didn’t like all the greens at first, but I quickly adapted. I soon became a daily pho eater.
There were also a lot of local fried rice stores that I truly loved. I noticed that people ordered tons from these stores so I knew that I had to give it a try.
Eventually, I started to widen my search areas. I then discovered bit-tet, a local version of beef steak which is served with egg, liver, fries, bread, tea, and a side of pickled cucumber. It was heaven!
After a while, I began discovering the beauty of nearby food stalls. I discovered a lot of great eats. Just like these dumplings.
More fried rice (which I really thought was fake rice at first because of its unique texture. I was wrong. Hehe.)
I even discovered ‘lechon’ or grilled pig in one of the stores near my place. The taste was of course different but I was just so happy to have found one of my favorite Filipino dishes ever!
Day by day, I tried to expose myself to dishes that I don’t normally eat back in the Philippines. I ate tons of greens.
And even corn.
I never really knew what this dish was. But I gobbled up plate loads of these.
All of a sudden, I discovered that a nearby restaurant was also serving lechon. I was ecstatic. Until I found out that it wasn’t really pork.
I never would have thought that I would actually enjoy eating doves. But I must say I did.
In between, I frequented the local Jollibee for this sense of home. The taste was completely different, however, and I just enjoyed my time staying there and staring at the big giant bee.
Slowly, I also traveled to Hanoi on weekends to explore. I discovered that gelato was just so good during winter.
Then, I discovered the beauty of Korean restaurants. Samgyupsal became like a daily thing for me.
I also had ramyeon and kimchi regularly.
There was a particular Vietnamese-owned Korean restaurant that I visited often because of the variety of dishes that they served. They served chicken with rice.
They even served pasta.
And, of course, the delicious GYERAN JJIM which was served for free kept me coming back for more.
I began to be more exposed to the idea that there were tons of great-tasting dishes to try in Vietnam!
And since Bac Ninh was basically a small Korean town, delicious Korean dishes were just everywhere!
Just like this one!
I also discovered a meat buffet close to our apartment. At first, all the greens pushed me away.
But when I discovered all the meat products they had, I kept coming back for more!
As I got to spend more time alone, I also discovered more food options that I could try even with little experience. This great local dish (I forgot the name) was super delicious!
There were those that I couldn’t stand, though. This one looks like a Filipino budbud but the actual taste is just too different.
I totally loved the local deserts, however. They were just awesome!
Finally, my translator took me to this lovely food alley right next to the Cho Dong Xuan Market. It was pure heaven!
This was where I discovered my most favorite Vietnamese dish of all time! Have you guys tried the Char Siu Pork? I super duper highly recommend it!
Near the end of my stay in Vietnam, I also widened my search area and discovered restaurants located miles away from where I usually roamed.
I discovered these great desserts along the way!
And some delightful tea bars that just served delicious drinks!
I also started looking at local markets a little more differently. The street bbq was just heavenly!
This lady serves amazing afternoon snacks that you can just munch on until supper time.
I’ve never tried chestnut in my life but I ate tons of it in Vietnam!
I even survived a full Vietnamese feast complete with rice wine during a family pilgrimage that I crashed.
If you’re a big lover of fruits, you will love Vietnam. Fruits are literally everywhere. And they’re very affordable!
A serving of fruits, tea, and moon cake as we welcomed spring in Vietnam!
Not a very ‘spicy’ person? Be prepared as almost EVERYTHING is spiced up there!
My most favorite hotpot in Vietnam was served in this small restaurant near my school. It was just heaven on earth!
Not a very big fan of ‘steamed’ dishes. But this actually turned out to be a great favorite!
Of course, I kept coming back to fast food favorites like Popeyes.
And this lovely chicken place just a few blocks from my place. They just serve the best-tasting chicken ever!
So that was it. Which of these Vietnam food choices have you tried? Let me know in the comments below!