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Origins of Our Famous Vietnamese Foods


In diverse Vietnamese cuisine, aside from the traditional dishes, many famous Vietnamese foods are adopted from other countries and cultures through the course of history. They are easy to find and some of which have become must-try Vietnamese foods and must-try Vietnamese drinks.

Banh Mi - Vietnamese Baguette (France)

France is one of the countries that play a noticeable role in the origin of Vietnamese foods, and Banh Mi would be one of the most obvious. The dish is a combination of a crunchy baguette, mayonnaise, pâté, different types of toppings like ham, pork sausage, sunny-side up eggs, fresh vegetables, and pickles. This delectable food which was once considered to be luxurious are now surprisingly affordable and also a good option for Vietnamese people to have for breakfast.

origin of vietnamese foods banh mi

Banh Mi is a healthy dish

Banh Flan - Creme Caramel (France)

Banh Flan, or Flan, is a favorite dessert of many Vietnamese children and it is also originated from France. The creamy, eggy, and soft pudding with sweet liquid caramel can be easily found in local markets or sold by street vendors. You can try it independently with some minced ice or as a topping in some drinks like bubble tea.

origin of vietnamese foods flan

Idyllic yet delicious Banh Flan

Ca Phe - Coffee (France)

During the colonization, the French have brought coffee beans to Vietnam, which has led to the development of the coffee-growing industry and the popularity of Ca Phe, or coffee, among local people. The taste of Vietnamese coffee and how it is served as well as drank are quite different from other places in the world, so try it yourself for authentic experiences.

origin of vietnamese foods coffee

Ice coffee is the favorite of many Vietnamese people

Hu Tieu - Clear Rice Noodles (Cambodia and China)

Hu Tieu is one of the famous Vietnamese types of noodles. One of its versions is Hu Tieu Nam Vang or Phnom Penh clear rice noodles, which is named after the capital city of its original country, Cambodia. A serving of Hu Tieu usually includes a bowl of chewy, almost transparent, thin noodles with slides of pork, shrimps, fried onions and shallots.

origin of vietnamese foods hu tieu nam vang

Hu Tieu can be served with or without the soup

Another version with char siu and dumplings, which is also popular in Vietnam, came from China when the people immigrated to Vietnam centuries ago. Both are popular breakfast dishes, especially in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ca Ri Ga - Chicken Curry (India/Malaysia)

For centuries, the land from Central Vietnam southward was the mighty Kingdom of Champa, and thus, many of Southern Vietnamese foods inherited the cultural influence from countries like India and Malaysia. In fact, Chicken Curry, or Ca Ri Ga in Vietnamese, has become so popular that it is usually found in Southern Vietnamese important ceremonies, more likely in rural places, such as weddings or death anniversaries.

origin of vietnamese foods ca ri ga

In Vietnam, Ca Ri Ga is eaten with vermicelli or bread

Banh Bao - Steamed Bun (China)

China is another country that has a strong impact on the origin of Vietnamese foods. Lots of our traditional dishes are influenced by the Chinese cooking process and seasonings, and some of the genuine Chinese food traveled to Vietnam a long time ago and went through little or no adjustment. Banh Bao, the Vietnamese version of Baozi, is one of which. You can either try it in restaurants or buy one at the street food shop. It is a suitable choice when you do not have much time for a proper meal but still want to treat your stomach with good food.

origin of vietnamese foods banh bao

The stuffings of Banh Bao usually include minced pork and quail eggs

Nuoc Tuong - Soy Sauce (China)

Soy sauce is a type of seasoning coming from China. Besides fish sauce, it is a common ingredient in Vietnamese cooking process and is served separately next to main courses to enrich the flavor. Since it is made from soybean, it is suitable for vegetarians to use and enjoy.

origin of vietnamese foods nuoc tuong

Soy sauce, or Nuoc Tuong

Pho - Beef Noodle Soup (France and China)

The origin of Vietnamese foods can be either apparent or unspecified, and Pho is an example of ones that do not have an obvious home country. Although Pho is an internationally well-known Vietnamese dish, there are still many arguments about how it was brought to this country or by which cuisine it is influenced.

Some say the original version is L’eau de pho of the French, others believe the Vietnamese chef used similar ingredients and cooking process of the Chinese recipes. All sides might come up with a conclusion one day, but no matter the result will be, Pho will continue to be recognized as a good representative of Vietnamese cuisine.

origin of vietnamese foods pho

A bowl of Pho in Ho Chi Minh City

Banh Xeo - Vietnamese Crispy Pancake (Indian)

Banh Xeo, or Vietnamese pancakes, is also a dish without a clear origin. There is a theory that it was a creation of the Chams, influenced by Indian cuisine, but some people hold the belief that Central Vietnam was actually where it came from. From South to North, the size and stuffings vary. The crunchy crust and aromatic fillings wrapped in fresh, lush vegetables and dipped into fish sauce would make you just want to keep eating.

origin of vietnamese foods banh xeo

Many tourists give thumbs up to Banh Xeo

Dua - Chopsticks (China)

Obviously being inedible, chopsticks are still crucial parts of Vietnamese cuisine. They are hardly absent from Vietnamese family meals, and with the dishes of noodles, these Chinese-originated tools seem to be the most suitable ones to be used. Compared to several other countries that also prefer using chopsticks, the ones in Vietnam is relatively easier to be familiar with thanks to their size and materials.

origin of vietnamese foods chopsticks

The better your chopsticks-using skill is, the more Vietnamese dishes you are ready to try

Learn more about the Chopsticks Etiquette in Vietnam for more enjoyable meals.

Fancy some Vietnamese dishes? Join our Private Motorbike Food Tours in Ho Chi Minh

Summary of Origins of Vietnamese Foods

France, China, and some other Asian countries have the origins of Vietnamese foods. Those dishes have been adjusted to match with the local staged and also developed to create other variants that are able to be found nowhere besides Vietnam.

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© Written by Mai Bui for



Guest - Lorrie Diana on Tuesday, 07 April 2020 13:47

Vietnam is the master of adopting other cultures and making them their own

Vietnam is the master of adopting other cultures and making them their own
Guest - Courtney Fernandez on Saturday, 26 October 2019 15:14

Lots of Vietnamese food has French origin

Lots of Vietnamese food has French origin
Guest - Starlight kira on Thursday, 03 October 2019 00:18

You forgot the famous fish sauce? What's the origins of that?

You forgot the famous fish sauce? What's the origins of that? :)
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Sunday, 28 November 2021

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