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Travel blogs

Vietnam street food guide

Across every city and town in Vietnam you will be contronted with a similar picture, crowds of locals sitting hunched, cheek ā€“ to ā€“ jowl, on small plastic chair, roaring traffic just inches away, munching, slurping and gnawing over their meal of choice ā€“ and having the time of their lives!

Street food in Vietnam comes fast and furious, with such high demand and turnover there is little time for pleasantries. As the meal progresses ladies walk by offering goodies from baskets hanging at the end of a bamboo poles skilfully balanced over their shoulder

Yes, it is crowed, noisy, and the food service sometimes indifferent, but it is also one of the most fun and sociable culinary experiences you will have and as any local knows it’s not about the setting and all about the food!

 

DECIDING WHERE TO EAT

Most street food restaurants in Vietnam specialize in only one or two types of dish, so selecting where to eat requires you to first decided what to eat with food choices in Vietnam numerous and varying from region, the help of a good guide book, suggestions from fellow travelers, or even a chat with your hotel front desk can be invaluable with your dish chosen, your task is to then locate the best street food restaurant.in the large cities this decision is easy, with whole streets often dedicated to a particular cuisine, think: barbeque chicken street ( Chan ga nuong ), grilled fish street ( cha ca ) or sea food. From here, the adage about eating where there are lots of locals is the best guide. But then again, half the fun of choosing where to eat can just as equally be by throwing caution to the wind and trying any random place you come across! Who known is what culinary delight you might discover?

 

KNOWNING YOUR TIMES

Can not find that Bun Cha seller you saw the other day? Why has your favorite street food restaurant dropped Pho bo off the menu? Before jumping to any conclusions, check  your watch. Just like food from other countries, specific dishes in Vietnam are often only eaten at particular times of the days, or even times of the year. For example, pho bo is most commonly eaten for breakfast and dinner, Bun cha and Mi Quang for lunch, Banh Xeo for winter. Felling hungry after a night on the town? Sit down for Pho Bo, it’s the perfect fix after a big night out.

 

PLACING YOUR ORDER

With most street food vendors only serving one dish ordering is easy - all you need do is grab a seat and indicate with your fingers how many servings you’d like. If there is more than one dish or item, simply point to what someone else is having and indicate how many. Alternatively, check the walls- even the smallest stall tend to have one or two food items tacked on the wall with prices.

 

KNOWING YOUR ETIQUETTE

When visit Vietnam it will soon be clear the locals have a passion for food that goes well beyond satisfying the biological need for energy. Unrepentant about being loud eaters, the locals enjoy every morsel put before them. Eating open mouthed, slurping on noodles, crunching on vegetables, and gnawing on bones with hand is more a display of a love of the foods before you than a sign of poor manners. The rules of “proper “ street food dining are few, with the cleaning of bowls and chopsticks with napkins before the meal about the only ritual. After that, it’s all in with whatever  tools suit you best. With discarded bones and food scraps on the floor and napkin from previous diner left to be cleared when things quiet down , street food dining is not for those uptight about hygiene, but it is part and parcel of the experience, so embrace it! With such great food on offer you are unlikely to regret it.

 

ADDING IT UP

Street food as a whole is extremely inexpensive. Most dishes will not cost more than a few dollars. Whilst hotspots and barbequed meals can cost a little more, with a few friends you still not be paying much. When your meal is done, calculation and payment of bill is normally done at the front of the business, as they are often the ones who also handle the many, or alternatively giving your payment to your food server is also acceptable – if you can get their attention! In most case however, don’t expect a written bill. If you are not most case however, don’t expect a written bill. If you are not sure about the cost of your meal, watching what the dinners before you pay can provide a rough guide, or gesture for the cashier to show you the cost on a calculator.