Vietnam can steal someone’s heart not just for its magnificent landscapes; it also found its way to everyone’s food satisfaction. Let’s take Pho out of this list (not because it’s not good, we all know how addicting Pho is!), shall we talk about bites that are made out of rice? If you haven’t been in Vietnam, you will be surprised how many dishes they could make from rice. Here are my top 5 bites you definitely have to try when you visit the Northern Vietnam.
Bun Dau Mam Tom:
A set of dishes with rice noodles, fish cakes, fried spring rolls, pig’s intestines, tofu and vegetables. Enjoy Bun Dau Mam Tom with shrimp paste and/or sweetened vinegar as dipping sauces. All these dishes will be placed in a big round basket (made out of wooden splints); each person will have their small bowls where they have their dipping sauce. It’s a great food to share with your new found friends in Vietnam.
Where to eat: You can easily find it everywhere in the Northern Vietnam, but the best I had was in, Tran Hung Dao, Sao Do, Hai Duong.
Goi Cuon – Fresh Spring Rolls:
Let’s switch to something healthy. Vegetables such as coriander, cabbage and carrots, roll in rice paper which is perfect for vegetarians and vegans. However, if you prefer with meat; chicken, pork, beef and seafood can also wrap with the other vegetables. Some people even put the rice noodles inside. Make sure to dip the fresh spring rolls with the peanut sauce!
Where to eat: Noodle and Roll at 39 Ly Quoc Su, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
A great cold dessert after a long walk under the sun! This bite is made out of boiled glutinous rice balls. This is also called Banh Chay, which literally means “floating cake”. It is also stuffed with sweetened mung bean and it is served together with ice-cold sweetened water or simply sweet sauce.
The best place to try this is by sitting on a plastic small chairs right at the side street.
Where to eat: An Nam Parlour at 24 Hang Vai St. Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Banh Bot Loc:
A rice dumplings made with a clear rice flour stuffed with shrimp and ground pork. What makes this dumpling special? It is steamed whilst wrapped in a banana leaf. Dip it with soy sauce or sweetened vinegar with chilli. Hue is the best place to get this mouth-watering dish.
Where to eat: Quan Hanh at 11 Pho Duc Chinh, Hue, Phu Hoi, Vietnam
This is a popular rice cake that is traditionally served during the Vietnamese New Year or also known as Tet Holiday. A squared-shaped steamed glutinous rice wrapped in Phrynium placentarium leaves. Depending on the cook, Banh Chung can also be stuffed with pork inside to balance the sweetness of the cake itself. Take note that this cake is sticky more than any dessert I ever had!
Where to eat: When I had this, it was with a local Vietnamese Family, however, this could be found in any market.
Try these bites at the local places to have the best experience. After enjoying these bites, wash it down with the popular coffee with coconut milk or egg coffee, this is a special and delightful drink!