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Vietnamese Food Tour: What to Eat in Central Vietnam (Part 2)


Central Vietnam is an area with an extreme climate and barren. Therefore, the ingredients such as meat and vegetable are not really diversified. People in Central Vietnam prefer salty and spicy dishes. Sometimes, they even consider whether a dish is good or not based on whether this dish is spicy enough or not.

Banh Khoai or Banh Xeo Mien Trung

food tour central vietnam banh khoai banh xeo mien trung

Banh Xeo in Central Vietnam is not as colorful as the pancake of the Southern people. It is just a bit bigger than a hand of an adult and cooked in a mold. Banh Xeo Mien Trung has a few ingredients inside such as a little shrimp, a few slices of pork, squid, and bean sprouts. Banh khoai will also be served with herbs, but the special peanut sauce is what distinguishes it from Banh xeo in the South. The dish can be eaten day or night, in restaurants or on the streets.

Average Price: VND 20,000 - 60,000

Com/Mi/Bun Hen (Rice/Noodles/Vermicelli with Basket Clams)

food tour central vietnam com hen

Com hen has been the traditional dish of people in Hue province for a long time and was later served to the royal in the Thanh Thai King period. Nowadays, it is a harmonious combination of rustic and royal characteristics. Com hen has a bit of heat from peppers, a strong smell of garlic, the crunchy and freshness of herbs, and the lightly sweet taste of basket clams. It is usually served with the broth that is used to boil the clams. Besides rice, the dish also has noodles or vermicelli noodles variations. It used to be a breakfast made from leftovers, but now it can be eaten as a main meal.

central vietnamese cuisine bun hen

Average Price: VND 25,000 - 55, 000

Mi Quang

food tour central vietnam mi quang 1

Mi Quang is one of the most popular dishes in Quang Nam Province. Like Pho or rice vermicelli, Mi Quang is also made from rice, but it is a bit chewy than pho and softer than vermicelli. Its yellow color is usually from ingredients like anatto oil or food coloring. Another special thing about Mi Quang is the broth; the soup is only used a little to highlight the shrimp, the meat, and the peanuts.

Because of its tasty flavor and convenience, nowadays visitors can easily find a bowl of Mi Quang in almost all provinces of Vietnam. This popular dish is convenient because people can consider it in all meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even late dinner.

Average Price: VND 15,000 - 30,000

Banh Beo (Water-fern Cakes)

food tour central vietnam banh beo

Banh beo is the soft white steamed rice cake eaten with green onion, ground shrimp, or pork, dipped in sweet and spicy fish sauce. Because of its round, flat shape like a water fern, so people started to call it "beo". Banh beo is perfect for breakfast or a light meal to fill your stomach during the day. You can find it at street vendors or in fancy restaurants as well, accompanied by sausages, banh bot loc (shrimp tapioca dumpling), and banh nam (ground pork steamed cake).

In Central Vietnam, each piece of Banh beo is served in a small dish, you will have to use a spoon or bamboo stick to scrape it out of the dish and dip it in fish sauce. However, in South Vietnam, you will usually see all the pieces taken out of the mold, placed on one dish, and served with a mung bean paste along with shrimp flakes.

Average Price: VND 25,000 - 40,000

Bun Bo Hue

food tour central vietnam bun bo hue

Hue beef noodle soup is famous from the South to the North, you can see it is sold everywhere, but only in the dreamy Hue City can you feel the full flavor and unique taste.

The noodles are thick, round, and white along with tender slices of beef tenderloin, a sweet and fragrant broth; sometimes some pork is also added to your soup, creating a flavor you may not forget. Once you have tried it, you would hardly find the same taste anywhere else. This specialty is recommended because it is good for health with high nutrition. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at restaurants or small local vendors.

Both Bun Bo Hue and Pho have the main ingredient which is beef, but the differences are in the soup and the kind of noodles. The flavor of Bun Bo Hue is also stronger than Pho a little bit because it is seasoned with several spices. As soon as you have the first taste, you will recognize it immediately.

Average Price: VND 35,000 - 70,000

Cao Lau

food tour central vietnam cao lau 1

Speaking of the ancient town of Hoi An, besides the architecture, everyone would think of the famous Cao Lau, which is considered the pride of local and cultural cuisine here. This dish is special from its name to the way of making it. In order to have a silky yet a bit chewy and tough noodle, it is necessary to go through many complicated stages.

In a bowl, fresh noodles, thin crispy fried noodles, and some sliced pork pieces are added with a little sweet broth and eaten with bitter vegetables. Every ingredient is combined to make the one-of-the-kind taste. After visiting beautiful Hoi An, stop at a street-side restaurant, serve yourself a Cao Lau bowl and enjoy the special taste of one of the greatest choices in your whole Central Vietnam trip of yours.

Some people may get confused in differentiating between Mi Quang and Cao Lau. They may look the same in general but if you focus more on the details, you will see a lot of differences between them. According to the cook, these 2 dishes have their recipes for the soup and the noodle. Also, the difference in topping foods may also create a different taste.

Average Price: VND 25,000 - 40,000


food tour central vietnam tre

Tre is exactly a good choice for you to buy as a specialty of this region thanks to its flavor, Tre is the fermented pork sausage with ingredients including pork, pig ear, tail, nose, galangal, fermented rice powder, and spices. Made from pork, Tre is considered as a simple dish to make, and you can try it with many different dishes also, but people still recommend that you should try Tre in Da Nang for the authentic flavor. The shape of Tre looks like a roll folded by several pieces of leaves so that you can store it for many days in the fridge or room temperature, and use them for lunch or dinner in the week.

Average Price: VND 90,000/450gr

Banh Ep

food tour central vietnam banh ep

The cake is made of flour and added some more egg, pork, and dried beef. And then, with a special method, it is pressed between 2 pieces of aluminum plates on a charcoal stove.

Banh ep is served with a few herbs, a slice of lemon, cucumber, and fish sauce for anyone wants the flavor to be stronger. This street food is suitable for a group of friends gathering and chatting while enjoying the cake.

Average Price: VND 20,000 - 30,000

Banh Dap

food tour central vietnam banh dap 1

You can easily find this cake in the street vendors or local markets in many provinces and cities of the central region. The cake is actually an interesting combination of grilled rice cake and wet cake served with boiled meat and grilled meat. The name of this cake came from the way people eat it. People usually smash and break it into smaller pieces before eating. A piece of cake with a little bit of spicy fish sauce will give you a great sense of delight when you eat.

Average Price: VND 15,000 - 25,000

Other Honorable Mentions

central vietnamese cuisine banh can

Banh Can (Vietnamese Mini Rice Pancakes) - usually served with meatballs, sardines, and Vietnamese bread

Popular in: Da Lat, Phan Thiet, Da Nang

central vietnamese cuisine grilled chicken bamboo rice

Grilled chicken with bamboo glutinous rice 

Popular in: Vietnam's central mountainous areas (Da Lat, Dak Lak, Buon Ma Thuot, etc.)

central vietnamese cuisine herring rolls

Herring spring rolls

Popular in: Phan Thiet

Summary of Vietnamese Food Tour: What to Eat in Central Vietnam (Part 2)

Besides the wonderful natural scenes, Vietnam is also unique because of its diverse cuisine. Each region has its own touch in food which makes them one-of-the-kind. In order to add more flavor for your Central Vietnam trip, you will surely need to try these specialties as a way to keep the memory of this land and experience a local taste.

Read more on other Vietnamese Foods and Drinks or check out our food tours in Ho Chi Minh City that offer a variety of delicious Vietnamese cuisine.

Part 1: What to Eat in Northern Vietnam

Part 3:  What to Eat in Southern Vietnam

Find Where to Stay in Central Vietnam:

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Sunday, 01 October 2023

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