With its bright, clean flavours and generous use of herbs and vegetables, Vietnamese food is widely considered one of the world’s healthiest and most delicious cuisines. What I didn’t know is that Vietnamese food differs widely from region to region, thanks to the country’s unique geography and diverse culture, including Chinese, French and Japanese influences.
Inspired by centuries of Japanese influence and trade, Hoi An’s signature dish is cao lau, combining thicker udon-style noodles with fresh herbs, roast pork and crunchy croutons – this was my favourite dish! I was feeling very adventurous and tried a bowl of lemongrass and chilli-steamed snails. It was a lot nicer than it sounds!
I spent most of my time in Hanoi lost in a haze of delicious street-side grazing. Alongside the street food, I visited some bricks-and-mortar eateries. One was Cafe Duy Tri, a classic 80-year old Hanoi cafe. Ca Phe Sua Chua (iced coffee with yoghurt) became my favourite combination of drink and dessert.
I ventured from Hanoi to Hue, which was also a haven for delicious food. Some of Hue’s most beloved delicacies include steamed banh beo – delicate, bite-sized rice cakes topped with dried shrimps – and banh khoai, robust mini-pancakes crammed with prawns and pork belly.