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What Do Vietnamese Have for Breakfast?

vietnamese-breakfast-style Beef Stew and Banh Mi

Breakfast is considered an essential meal since it provides a considerable amount of energy for a whole hard-working day. There is a wide diversity of breakfast, ranging from noodles to sticky rice, which is depending on different regions’ cultures in Vietnam. Have a look at our Vietnamese breakfast guide and suggestions for having the best local breakfast in Vietnam.

Vietnamese Breakfast Culture

vietnamese breakfast

Vietnamese food is known as one of the healthiest cuisines all over the world, which encompasses a wide range of food for breakfast. In the past, breakfast in Vietnam was often cooked by the women in a family. In today’s modern society, since a growing number of Vietnamese women enter the labor market and do not have enough time to prepare breakfast on a daily basis, many Vietnamese opt for going to street food stalls and restaurants for breakfast.

Traditional Vietnamese cooking is mainly based on fresh ingredients, herbs, and vegetables. You can easily find the balance between the herbs and the meats in the taste of any Vietnamese breakfast. While following the same feature, the Vietnamese culinary tradition is highly diverse and dependent on different regions.

The foods in Northern Vietnam are often less spicy than those in other regions, which is not bold in any certain taste but subtly combining different flavors including salty, spicy, bitter, sweet, and sour. The breakfast specialties of this region are Bun Rieu, Banh Cuon, and Pho, which are also signature dishes of Vietnam.

Vietnam Central, by contrast, is especially well-known for spicy food. Being the former capital of the last dynasty of Vietnam, Hue often produces colorful decorative food considerably influenced by the ancient Vietnamese royal cuisine. A famous breakfast in this region is Bun Bo Hue (vermicelli with beef).

In Southern Vietnam, foods are likely to be more vibrant and flavorful, especially sweeter than those in the northern and central regions. Some signature breakfast dishes in Southern Vietnam are Banh mi and Com tam (broken rice).

Here is a List of Favorite Breakfasts in Vietnam:


pho vietnamese breakfast

Originating in northern Vietnam and got introduced to other parts of Vietnam through Vietnamese migration, Pho has become the most popular breakfast in Vietnam. Pho is a kind of soup with rice noodles flavored with a meat broth such as beef, chicken or pork. Fresh herbs including basil, garlic, chili, bean sprouts, cilantro, and Vietnamese parsley are added to the soup to enhance its flavor as well as create a healthy balance of the dish. Vietnamese can have Pho for every meal of a day including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Read more on the Best Places to Eat an Authentic Pho in Ho Chi Minh City

Bun (Rice Vermicelli Soup)

vietnamese breakfast rice noodles

Rice vermicelli soup with fish cakes

Similar to Pho, Bun is another kind of rice-based noodle, but instead of the flat shape, Bun has a circular shape. There are plenty of tasty breakfast dishes made using Bun including Bun Rieu (vermicelli and crab meat soup), Bun Bo Hue (vermicelli with beef) and Bun Ca (vermicelli with fried fish).

Mien (Cellophane Noodles/Glass Noodles)

vietnamese breakfast glass noodles

Being a Chinese-originated noodle, Mien had a similar shape to Bun but was made of seaweed or cassava flour instead. This ingredient makes Mien contain fewer calories compared to other kinds of noodles. The broth of Mien is relatively similar to Pho, but more flavors are added like spicy and sour depending on different types of meat preferred. There are several versions of Mien such as Mien Luon (Mien with eel), Mien Ga (Mien with chicken), and Mien Cua (Mien with crab meat).

Xoi (Sticky Rice)

Vietnamese breakfast sticky rice 1 Vietnamese breakfast sticky rice 2

Xoi is one of the most typical breakfasts in Vietnam. You can find many street stalls or cart vendors selling Xoi with several baskets of them wrapped by banana leaves everywhere in Vietnam from roadside vendors to traditional restaurants. Here are some popular types of Xoi:

Xoi Xeo

Vietnamese breakfast xoi xeo

Xoi Xeo is a traditional special dish for breakfast in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, with attractive bright yellow color and grounded mung bean. Xoi Xeo is especially preferred by students and manual laborers due to its low price and palatability.

Xoi Gac

Vietnamese breakfast xoi gac

Made of a kind of fruit grown exclusively in Asia named baby jackfruit, Xoi Gac is well-known for its unique red color and sweet flavor. This sticky rice plays an important role in Vietnamese culture since it often appears in a Vietnamese wedding and New Year party with the meaning of good fortune and happiness.

Have a look at our Ho Chi Minh Food Tour to try other delicious dishes and explore the Vietnamese food culture thoroughly.


Banh Cuon

banh cuon vietnamese breakfast

Considered as Vietnamese crepe, Banh Cuon is another breakfast specialty made of rice flour with ground pork and wood ear mushroom wrapped inside the thin rice rolls. This Vietnamese breakfast dish is often served with boiled bean sprouts, chopped cucumber, Vietnamese basil, fried onion, and special fish sauce.

Banh Mi

vietnamese breakfast banh mi

Originating during the colonial period in Vietnam, Banh Mi is known as the Vietnam baguette with plenty of flavors coming from the local combination of meat and fresh vegetable. Depending on your preference, you can choose pork, chicken, fried eggs, or meatballs for your Banh Mi.

Com Tam (Broken Rice)

broken rice vietnamese breakfast

Com Tam is a real signature street food dish of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). A plate of Com Tam is often served with Suon Nuong (marinated grilled pork chops), Trung Op La (fried eggs), Cha Trung (a steamed pork and egg quiche), Bi (shredded pork skin), and a special fish sauce. Besides Banh Mi, Com Tam is a top favorite dish for a Vietnamese breakfast.

Read more on Vietnamese Classic: Broken rice.

Ca Phe (Coffee)

vietnamese white coffee vietnamese breakfast

Ca Phe is one of the unique parts of Vietnamese breakfast, especially in Saigon. A morning cup of Ca Phe with or without condensed milk has become a local habit of many Vietnamese for years due to different strengths, flavorful coffee, which can be found only in Vietnam.

Read more on our Guide to Drinking Vietnamese Coffee.


Summary of the Vietnamese Breakfasts

Vietnam is a real paradise for food lovers with several types of traditional breakfasts that are undoubtedly worth a try. When you visit Vietnam and wish to try these local meals outside of your hotel, we recommend these Vietnamese breakfasts listed above that will be sure to give you the local experience.

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Guest - Rainey Rodney on Thursday, 30 January 2020 11:46

I tried the Banh Cuon from your guide and it was very delicious, thanks for recommending!

I tried the Banh Cuon from your guide and it was very delicious, thanks for recommending! :D:D:D:D:D
Guest - Yusha Melendez on Saturday, 05 October 2019 11:40

A quick bite of banh mi is the best breakfast

A quick bite of banh mi is the best breakfast
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