Vietnamese recipes are unlike anything you’ll find in Asia. Despite their close proximity to other nations, Vietnamese cuisine uses a combination of five distinct fundamental flavors ( ngũ vị).
In recent years, Vietnamese food has become increasingly popular in the U.S. With savory soups, crunchy fresh salads, and tons of dishes that include meat and pasta, everyone can find something to love in Vietnamese food. While the spices used in Vietnamese cuisine are similar to other Asian countries, the flavors are different.
Vietnamese dishes often have a flavor or flavors reflective of one or more of these essential elements.
Vietnamese cuisine is a delightful fusion of bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and traditional cooking techniques that has won the hearts of food lovers across the globe. With its perfect balance of spices, herbs, and seasonings, Vietnamese food is a delicious and healthy option for those looking to expand their culinary horizons.
One of the key characteristics of Vietnamese cuisine is the emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a diverse range of cooking techniques. From stir-fries and soups to grilled meats and rice dishes, Vietnamese recipes often feature a unique blend of flavors and textures that make every dish an enjoyable experience. Additionally, the clever use of sauces and condiments brings out the best of each ingredient, further enhancing the overall taste.
- Vietnamese recipes offer a diverse range of dishes with bold flavors and fresh ingredients
- Cooking techniques and sauces play a crucial role in enhancing each dish
- This cuisine has a unique balance of flavors and textures that make every meal a delight
For example, many Vietnamese recipes often use mint, ginger, lemongrass, long coriander, Vietnamese mint, Saigon cinnamon, lime, bird’s eye chili, and Thai basil leaves.
Vietnamese cooking focuses more on using fresh ingredients and doesn’t rely much on oil or dairy products. This distinction creates some intriguing textures and tastes.
Below we’ve found 22 easy Vietnamese recipes you can make at home.
With traditional Vietnamese rice dinners, the meal isn’t complete without a delicious soup side dish, which they refer to as “Canh.”
While some soup recipes can be a bit complex, this recipe for Vietnamese soup with stuffed cabbage is straightforward to make.
This recipe takes ground pork and stuffs it into cabbage leaves, tying the tasty package up with green onion.
The broth uses pork stock powder, water, pepper, salt and has woodear mushrooms and shallot.
While ground pork is used in this recipe, you can not stuff your cabbage packages, use different meat, or choose a vegan alternative stuffing such as spiced potatoes.
One of our favorite Vietnamese appetizers is spring rolls. With its delicate rice paper translucent presentation, many people think this dish would be difficult to make.
Granted, if you were making the rice paper from scratch, this could be a bit more of a challenge, but for the most part, you can find premade rice wrappers at many Asian grocery stores and major supermarket chains.
Inside the clear rice paper are lots of clean and simple ingredients, such as shrimp, cucumber, carrot, vermicelli noodles (or rice noodles), mint (or cilantro, basil, parsley, or dill), and lettuce.
This recipe offers a vinegar-soy dipping sauce that has ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, water, and sesame oil.
Pok Pok wings are irresistibly sticky, crispy, garlicky wings that you can’t get enough of.
These chicken wings are marinated in a savory fish sauce and deep-fried until they are nice and crispy.
The sauce gives these wings a vibrant and unique flavor that has a slightly salty taste with just the right touch of sweetness.
Ingredients for the marinade include Vietnamese fish sauce (recipe further down), sugar, garlic, salt, and water.
You’ll also need white rice flour.
For the dipping sauce, you’ll use some of the marinade sauce from your wings plus water, and you can add that roasted chili paste (also called Naam Phrik Phao)
Many Vietnamese dishes use a special caramel sauce for both dessert and non-dessert dishes.
With this recipe, you can make your own authentic Vietnamese caramel sauce using only two simple ingredients.
This is a family recipe called Nước Màu, and it’s definitely something you’ll want to keep handy for all kinds of recipes, not just Vietnamese.
You can use this sauce on all types of meats, from chicken to pork, to beef. The flavor’s not overpowering and can add a delicious sweetness to your dishes.
This makes for a fantastic BBQ sauce base you can mix with your favorite spices.
When it comes to traditional Vietnamese food, Pho is probably one of the most popular dishes.
Just looking at a steaming hot bowl of Pho is memorizing with its savory seasoned beef broth mixed with fish sauce, onion, cinnamon, lime, ginger, and more Asian spices. The dish also has delicious chewy rice noodles, sprouts, and tender, juicy thin slices of beef.
There are also some red chilis thrown in for extra spice and color.
Now two tips, for this dish, are toasting your spices and charring your ginger and onion; doing this will give your dish a more authentic flavor.
Pandan Waffles is a unique Vietnamese dessert with a lovely aroma and a flavorful, chewy center.
Each bite has the taste of coconut, thanks to the seasoned coconut cream filling.
Now, of course, this isn’t strictly a “traditional Vietnamese recipe,” but rather a unique fusion of European and Asian culinary influences.
As you can see, the waffles are distinctly light green. The prominent flavor is derived from a unique tropical plant found in Southeast Asia with a taste comparable to coconut with a slight vanillaesque essence.
While the green appearance may be a bit offputting for those used to traditional golden waffles, like the book “Green Eggs and Ham,” once they try Pandan waffles, they’ll be hooked!
Now, here’s a dish that’s really out there for most western palettes, but trust us, it’s insanely delicious!
Peanut Stick Rice has savory, salty, and sweet flavors, and it makes for a great breakfast or simple snack.
You make this dish using glutinous rice, which gives it its stickiness. The recipe also calls for coconut milk, which gives your rice a creamier texture with more of a toasted coconut flavor.
Now, please don’t be fooled by the term “glutinous rice.” This doesn’t mean the dish contains gluten. It’s just the name given to the crop because it turns very sticky when cooked.
For your toppings, you’ll use sesame seeds, roasted chopped peanuts mixed with some salt and sugar for added flavor.
Another delicious Vietnamese staple is grilled lemongrass chicken.
This recipe hits all of the right notes with a savory, smoky flavor that has just a suggestion of sweetness. You can grill up a big or small batch and use your chicken in all kinds of recipes, such as salads, sandwiches, and noodle bowls.
For this recipe, you’ll need vegetable oil, fish sauce, freshly squeezed lime juice, chopped lemongrass or lemongrass paste, garlic, light or dark brown sugar, freshly ground black pepper, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and fresh cilantro (optional).
You can marinate your chicken up to 24 hours before grilling, and you can find lemongrass paste in the produce section of many grocery stores or online.
If you’re looking for healthy Vietnamese food, then this recipe for Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad is right up your alley!
This gorgeous and straightforward salad is made using crushed garlic, fresh, diced mango, sliced cucumber (or snow peas or red capsicum), carrot, bean sprouts (or snake or green beans), fresh basil, and peanuts.
You can also throw in some halved cherry tomatoes and use coriander instead of basil if you like.
This salad’s fantastic with boiled or grilled shrimp, poached chicken, or seasoned fried tofu.
Carmel shrimp is one of those Vietnamese side dishes you’re guaranteed to fall in love with.
This recipe’s a perfect example of what you can do with your delicious homemade Vietnamese caramel sauce.
Yes, we said it was suitable for chicken, pork, and beef, but it’s also fantastic with certain fish dishes, especially shrimp!
You’ll need two pounds of headless peel and tail-on shrimp, salt, fish sauce, mushroom or chicken stock powder, white sugar, black pepper, garlic, shallot, and vegetable oil for this recipe.
Optional ingredients include MSG and green onions.
These tasty sticky rice dumplings are known as “Banh It Tran,” They are a very popular Vietnamese appetizer or snack.
Snacks are a big part of Vietnamese culture, and these savory little dumplings are by far some of the most filling and addictive treats around.
The rice dumplings are often filled with mashed mung beans or seasoned ground pork.
For toppings, you have fried onions, scallion oil, and toasted shrimp flakes, and the dish is often served with fish dipping sauce and pickles.
The flavors and texture of these little bite-sized rice balls are incredible, and there are so many variations you can make to create your own unique version using different fillings.
12. Banh Mi
In America, we have hamburgers, and in Vietnam, there are Banh Mi sandwiches. This popular meal starts with a deliciously crusty french roll stuffed with tender, seasoned slices of grilled pork, fresh herbs, and pickled veggies for a sandwich, unlike anything you’ve ever tasted!
Like hamburgers, you can find nearly unlimited variations of this dish. Still, this recipe sticks to the basics, using ingredients such as pork tenderloin seasoned with fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemongrass, garlic, sesame oil, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper.
Then you have the veggies, which consist of daikon radish and carrots. Add mayonnaise, cilantro leaves, thinly sliced cucumbers, and sliced chilies, and you’ve got a genuinely fantastic sandwich!
13. Purple Yam Soup
If you really want to get a reaction from the dinner table, this recipe for Purple Yam soup will do the trick.
This unusual soup has a bright purple color and is made with ground pork and purple yams. This dish is usually served with a side bowl of hot rice.
Ingredients include purple yam, pork, shrimp, rice paddy herb, saw-leaf herb, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, monosodium, and fish sauce.
And cooking this dish is surprisingly easy, taking no more than about 15 to 20 minutes tops!
There’s a good reason Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc cham) is also called “awesome sauce.”
While just about every Vietnamese family has its own secret recipe, this sauce is often seen as the quintessential condiment for many Vietnamese dishes.
Some variations may use different kinds of vinegar, such as wine, rice, distilled, and so on – or lemon and lime juice.
However, for this recipe, we combine sugar, water, lime, fish sauce, garlic, and chilies to make a simple and delicious dipping sauce perfect for dishes like spring rolls.
Despite all the savory dishes, there are also lots of light and healthy Vietnamese recipes that are full of delicious flavors.
This Vietnamese rice noodle salad recipe includes fresh ingredients such as carrot, cucumber, peanuts, chile pepper, dried vermicelli noodles, lettuce, basil, cilantro, and mint.
And it also has a simple and tasty dressing made with fish sauce, water, lime juice, sugar, chile peppers (you can also substitute for Serrano, Thai, or jalapeno), and garlic.
Vegans can also enjoy delicious meatless Vietnamese meals such as this recipe for Dau Hu Sot Ca (or fried tofu with tomato sauce).
This dish is a perfect alternative to fried fish dishes and uses a few simple ingredients, such as tamari, which mimics the fermented flavor of fish sauce. You also have ingredients like garlic, onions, and shallots for more flavor.
Also, we recommend using fire-roasted tomatoes as they give the recipe a delicious smoky sweetness.
If you love crepes, this recipe for Vietnamese crepes will definitely tingle your taste buds.
This recipe for Banh Xeo (sizzling cake) combines the traditional Vietnamese rice pancake with ingredients like sprouts, shrimp, leafy greens, and tons of fresh herbs.
This dish is often dipped in nuoc cham (fish dipping sauce).
Best of all, this savory dish is super easy to whip together using just a few ingredients, such as cornstarch, rice flour, turmeric powder, salt, coconut milk, water, and vegetable oil for your crepe mix.
Then you’ll add in onion, shrimp, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro, and your favorite leafy greens.
Finally, sit down and enjoy this masterpiece with some sweet and savory fish dipping sauce. Yum!
This unique take on Mexican street tacos adds a distinct Vietnamese twist that will get you hooked!
First, you have diced chicken thighs seasoned with aromatic bold Vietnamese Banh Mi marinade consisting of fish sauce, lime juice, jalapenos, and garlic before being fried to golden, crispy perfection.
Then, wrap your chicken in a flour tortilla and top it with carrots, English cucumber, radishes, jalapenos, and fresh mint (or cilantro).
Finish off this dish with a homemade spicy mayo sauce made with mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sugar, and sriracha.
When we promised unique tastes, we weren’t kidding. These shrimp and sweet potato fritters are like nothing you’ve ever tasted!
First, you’ve got fried sweet potato hash in a batter of rice flour, all-purpose flour, water, sugar, salt, turmeric powder, and baking powder (or two beaten eggs).
For your shrimp, you’ll need small white shrimp and season them with pepper, salt, chicken stock, minced garlic, and vegetable oil (for frying).
Serve with fresh greens such as lettuce or mint, cucumber, pickled carrots, green papaya, and fish dipping sauce.
Garlic butter noodles known as “Mi Xao Toi” are the perfect complement to many Vietnamese dishes.
There’s an excellent chance you’ve had these savory noodles at your favorite Asian restaurant, and now you can make these delicious noodles at home with this Vietnamese recipe.
Garlic is, of course, the main ingredient, but aside from that, it’s the parmesan cheese that gives these noodles a distinctive flavor. Not only does the cheese melt into the noodles, but it also changes the texture to smooth and silky.
However, you want to be careful not to add too much parmesan, just enough to give it that little flavorful boost.
Traditionally, garlic noodles are made using thick egg noodles, commonly used to make thick chow mien, but you can use all kinds of noodles, such as spaghetti or rice noodles.
For a sweet and healthy treat, try this recipe for Vietnamese mango fruit salad made with juicy slices of fresh mango, lime, honey (or maple syrup), cayenne pepper, toasted coconut chips, cilantro, and Maldon sea salt.
Finally, we have a fantastic recipe for Spiced Braised Pork with noodles that feature lemongrass, shallots, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice noodles, salt, mung bean sprouts, boneless pork shoulder, skin-on pork belly, and much more.
If you’d like more tips on how to cook Vietnamese food recipes, you can check out this helpful video below.
25+ Easy Vietnamese Recipes (+Vietnamese Caramel Sauce)
- 3/4 pound Asian brown sugar clumps
- 1/2 cup fresh water
- Melt the brown sugar clumps for 15 minutes on low heat, just until it caramelizes.
- Once the sugar turns dark brown, pour the water into the saucepan and slowly stir to combine.
- Store in the fridge in a jar.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.