vietnam travel covid 19 updates

Stay updated with the latest news of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam and information for traveling to Vietnam. Read more here.

Vietnam Travel Information

i Tour Vietnam | Top-rated private Ho Chi Minh City tours and Vietnam travel guides.

Vietnamese Dishes That Scare Most Westerners

bun-dau-5 Bun Dau Mam Tom

Vietnamese food is well known as one of the best foods in the world. You might have heard of Phở (Vietnamese noodles), Bánh mì (Vietnamese baguette), and Nem (Vietnamese spring rolls). Besides the delicious dishes, some Vietnamese foods still challenge most Westerners. Do you dare to try them one day when traveling in Vietnam?

Mắm Tôm - Shrimp Paste

Shrimp paste - as the name suggests - is made of fermented shrimps, unlike fish sauce which is made when they ferment fish with a lot of salt for a period of time. Although shrimp paste is not a dish, it is a critical dipping sauce in many Vietnamese cuisines such as Bún đậu mắm tôm (a combination of vermicelli noodles, fried tofu, boiled pork, herbs, and shrimp paste), and Bún thang (a noodle soup with noodles, sliced fried eggs, tared chicken, herbs and sliced Vietnamese sausage), etc.

mam tom

Shrimp paste is notorious for having a particularly pungent smell, which put off a lot of people on their first try, especially non-Asian people. However, once you've acquainted with the smell, you will learn to enjoy shrimp paste with a myriad of Vietnamese food and appreciate why many locals fall in love with this exotic dipping sauce.


Balut is called Trứng vịt lộn in Vietnamese. It may look like a harmless boiled egg on the outside, but there's actually a duck embryo inside. For those who are unfamiliar with Vietnamese, eating a baby duck inside an egg may not sound so appetizing.

balut vietnamese food

Vietnamese people believe that balut is incredibly nutritious, and the locals can casually have balut as a snack or make it into an entire dish. People usually eat balut with some salt, sliced ginger, and Vietnamese coriander (or Persicaria odorata). Others would prefer to elevate the dish a bit more by making some tamarind sauce or a herbal-infused broth to cook with balut. Balut is also seen in a great many of Vietnamese hotpots.

If you're curious enough to try the dish, lucky for you, balut can easily be found at street vendors at a fairly low price. To build up your courage to try balut, you can consider going with a Vietnamese friend or a local guide.

Thịt Chó - Dog Meat

Contrary to the mentioned dishes, dog meat is not widely consumed in Vietnam, but some people enjoy it as a drinking food.

They usually boil the dog meat, cook with some herbs like ginger, galangal, chilis, or cook soup with bamboo. Shrimp paste is an important ingredient for dishes made from dog meat because as compared to pork and chicken, dog meat has a stronger flavor.

Dog meat consumption has always been a heated debate among Vietnamese. For dog lovers, it is so disheartening to see their dog friends are killed and cooked. On the other hand, dog meat consumption has always been a piece of Vietnamese culinary culture. Therefore, there's no need to feel pressured into trying the food if you don't want to, but it is advisable to respect that dog meat is an option for food among some Vietnamese.

Đuông Dừa - Coconut Worms

Coconut worms served in fish sauce is a special dish in the South-East provinces in Vietnam, such as Ben Tre or Can Tho. In case eating bugs doesn't sound terrifying enough, you'll also have to eat the worms when they are still alive. The worms usually live inside coconut trees and live off the tree's nutrition, so it is completely safe to eat, but the idea of eating worms alone is what most Westerners cannot get behind. For a less "lively" version of the food, coconut can also be grilled or fried with butter before eating.

unusual vietnamese foods coconut worm

Learn Vietnamese To Have The Best Experience In Vietnam

If you are a person who loves exploring the life of local people and eating their local food, you should learn some Vietnamese because not many people can speak English. Don’t let the language barrier stop you from having the best experience in the country. You can learn Vietnamese online with the help of native speakers or download a learn Vietnamese app and bring it with you during your trip. If you are brave enough, remember to try the dishes mentioned in this article and share with your friends how you feel.


© Written by Kim Pham for i Tour Vietnam

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Sunday, 14 August 2022

Captcha Image



This Vietnam travel information page is written by a team of professional tour guides in Vietnam. More about us or visit home page

Private Ho Chi Minh Tours

private ho chi minh tours

All tours are private, customizable, and led by professional English-speaking guides. For more reference, read our customer reviews or see below for the tour package in Ho Chi Minh that works for you.

Half-day City Tour

Night Tour

Food Tour

Saigon's Other Side

Shore Excursions

Vietnam Travel Information

Check out the necessary information for traveling to Vietnam

First Time in Vietnam

To Pack List for Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Adaptors

Major Cities in Vietnam

Family & Elderly Travel

LGBT Travel

Vietnam Festivals and Holidays

Best Vietnamese Dishes

UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam

Responsible Travel in Vietnam

Vietnamese Culture

Religions in Vietnam

Ethnicities in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam

Vietnamese Currency Guide

Best Dishes to Try in Vietnam

20 Must-try Vietnamese Dishes

Unusual Foods to Try in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

Vietnamese Grilled Dishes

Rice Dishes in Vietnam

Pho Dishes in Vietnam

Holiday Dishes to Try during Tet Holiday

Chinese Dishes in Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Northern Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Central Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Southern Vietnam

What to Eat in Ho Chi Minh City

What to Eat in Hanoi

What to Eat in Hue

What to Eat in Hoi An

What to Eat in Da Lat

What to Eat in the Mekong Delta

Traveling to and within Vietnam

Airport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh)

Airport Arrival Tips at Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)

Major Airports in Vietnam

Taking Trains in Vietnam

Bringing your Motorbikes on Trains in Vietnam

Bringing Your Own Vehicles to Vietnam

Bringing Your Pets to Vietnam

How to Take Motorbike Taxis

Taking a Ferry in Vietnam

Renting a Car in Vietnam

How to Travel from Hanoi to Da Nang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Hue

How to Travel from Hanoi to Sa Pa

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mai Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Moc Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

How to Travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc Island

How to Travel from Da Nang to Hoi An

How to Travel from Hue to Phong Nha

Vietnam Travel Itineraries

Vietnam One-month Itinerary

Vietnam One-week Itinerary

Taking a Gap Year in Vietnam

Backpacking in Vietnam

Expat Tours in Vietnam

Honeymoon in Vietnam

Vietnam Visa, SIM Cards, and WiFi

Visa Info & Where to Buy Sim Cards

Traveling with Wifi in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Safety Tips

Travel Insurance

Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water?

How to Avoid Mosquitoes

Food Safety in Vietnam

Getting Vaccinations

Common Diseases and How to Prevent

Wearing Face Masks in Vietnam

Can Tourists Drive in Vietnam?

How to Avoid Scams

Travel Safety Tips

Best Places to Stay in Vietnam

Deluxe Hotels in Vietnam

Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh

Best Hotels in Hanoi

Where to Stay in Ha Long Bay

Where to Stay in Mai Chau

Where to Stay in Moc Chau

Where to Stay in Ha Giang

Where to Stay in Cao Bang

Where to Stay in Lang Son

Where to Stay in Sa Pa

Where to Stay in Mu Cang Chai

Where to Stay in Kon Tum

Where to Stay in Da Lat

Where to Stay in Mui Ne

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Homestays in Vietnam

Find more hotels to stay in Vietnam below:

Powered by 12Go Asia system