6 Must-Try Vietnamese Street Food & Snacks // North vs South

Vietnamese Street Food To Die For 😋 Six Of The Very Best

Vietnamese Street Food has a lot of surprises we think you’ve never seen before! Today we introduce you to six Vietnamese snacks you’ve probably not come across that we are sure you’ll love.

Today we don’t discuss the more mainstream Pho or Banh Mi – we did deeper and show you the differences between North and South Vietnamese Street Food – which will you prefer?!

We’ll delve into Vietnam’s two big cities. The North is represented by Hà Nội and Sài Gòn for the South!

Before we start though, we also thought you’d be interested in these topics as well!

There is a well-known proverb in Vietnamese that links love and food

Con đường ngắn nhất đi đến trái tim người đàn ông là đi ngang qua bao tử” 😍.

Literally, this means – “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach“.

Do you have this proverb in your language as well? Tell us in the comments below!

THE SOUTH

Vietnamese Street Food – Bánh tráng nướng

Vietnamese Street Food – Bánh tráng trộn

Vietnamese Street Food – Chè

THE NORTH

Vietnamese Street Food – Bánh tôm Tây Hồ

Vietnamese Street Food – Nem chua rán

Vietnamese Street Food – Kem Tràng Tiền

Vietnamese Street Food – FAQs

Vietnam Apps // The Ones You Need To Download For Life in Vietnam Thumbnail

Vietnam Apps // The Ones You Need To Download For Life in Vietnam

Coming to Vietnam anytime soon? Great choice! Today you will discover the most important Vietnam Apps you need to download with our comprehensive guide.

Vietnamese Street Food – The South

Vietnamese Snacks #1 – Bánh tráng nướng

Literally translated, Bánh tráng nướng is grilled rice paper.

What does it look like?

It looks round and is cut into pieces, kind of resembling a pizza!

It includes many ingredients like minced pork, shrimp, fried onion and shallots.

To glue it all together, chicken eggs or quail eggs are a must.

Chilli Sauce and Mayonnaise are spread over the top to add additional flavour and a touch of colour which gives a very eye catching result as you can see below.

Bánh tráng nướng also has a “high-end” version which includes cheese and extra toppings like sausages, like this one below.

Street Food in Vietnam

Vietnamese Snacks #2 – Bánh tráng trộn

This Vietnamese Street Food is also made from rice paper and is called bánh tráng trộn.

This is a salad like snack which is served as you can see below.

Vietnamese Street Food

Bánh tráng trộn is a relatively creative Vietnamese snack made of shredded rice paper seasoned with Chilli Sauce and packed with herbs like “rau răm”.

Mango is also included as well as squid, shrimp, and quail eggs.

There are plenty more elements which can also be added so this Vietnamese snack is packed full of flavour.

A yummy bánh tráng trộn can be found on the streets of Saigon!

Vietnam Street Food - Bánh tráng trộn gánh
Bánh tráng trộn gánh

Vietnamese Snacks #3 – Chè

We cannot forget to mention this wonderful sweet Vietnamese treat, Chè.

If you travel to Sài Gòn, or you live there, “chè” will catch your eyes with its colourful and various toppings.

What is “chè” though?

Chè simply refers to any typical Vietnamese sweet drink, dessert soup, or pudding.

There are an almost infinite number of named meals with the prefix chè, making a comprehensive list is impossible, but here are a few.

  • Chè đậu – Beans and pulses
  • Chè nếp – Rice, grains and cereals
  • Chè thạch – Jellies
  • Chè trái cây – Fruits
  • Chè thập cẩm – A mixture of the above

Chè are often prepared in water and sweetened with sugar.

In southern Vietnam, chè is often garnished with coconut creme.

This is a very popular type of Vietnamese street food we are sure you’ll enjoy!

Vietnamese Dialects // North or South? Thumbnail

Vietnamese Dialects // North or South?

North vs South? Vietnamese dialects can vary quite significantly. This is one of the very early questions a Vietnamese learner asks themselves.

Vietnamese Street Food – The North

Vietnamese Street Food #4 – Bánh tôm Tây Hồ

To fully enjoy life in Hà Nội, Bánh tôm Tây Hồ (also known as West Lake Shrimp Cake) is an absolutely must try Vietnamese snack.

It’s a deep-fried mixture of sweet potato and flour batter with a whole shrimp placed on the top.

How should you enjoy “bánh tôm Tây Hồ” like a native Vietnamese?

It’s served with fresh, raw vegetables and dipped in sweet and sour fish sauce and pickle to enhance the taste.

The yellow shrimp cakes are crispy and sweet. There is a sweet and sour taste which is genuinely hard to resist!

Vietnamese Street Food #5 – Nem chua rán

Nem chua rán is a deep fried pork roll and is a popular junk food among Northern Vietnamese teenagers.

Its shape is similar to that of a fried spring roll from the South of Vietnam. 

If you are a meat lover, you will really enjoy this especially with some extra Chilli Sauce.

If you fancy yourself in the kitchen, you can even try and make some of these Nem chua rán with this recipe here.

People who eat nem chua rán will notice a greasiness, that’s why it’s accompanied with cucumber and pickles, to add a bit of balance to the dish.

Vietnamese Street Food #6 – Kem Tràng Tiền

The Kem Tràng Tiền company was established since 1958.

There is a saying in Vietnamese that goes…

“Phi thực kem Tràng Tiền bất thành người Hà Nội”.

Literally, the saying emphasizes that if one never tries Kem Tràng Tiền, they are not a true Hà Nội citizen.

Kem Tràng Tiền is nothing fancy, but it’s a proper Hanoi style Ice Cream!

The eight primary tastes are:

  • Green beans – Đậu xanh
  • Coconut milk – Sữa dừa
  • Taro – Khoai môn
  • Cocoa – Cacao
  • Green rice – Cốm
  • Chocolate – Socola
  • Green tea – Trà xanh
  • Durian – Sầu riêng

Kem Tràng Tiền has exquisite flavours that many generations in Hanoi have become addicted to.

Tourists who try it for the first time always end up with our smile on their face!


Have you ever tried any other excellent street foods in Việt Nam? Why not tell us below in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

Otherwise we have a load of other food based content from Asia which we think you’ll love including:

Our YouTube channel also has a tonne of food related content as well, including this video…

Vietnamese Street Food – FAQs

What does bánh tráng nướng look like?

Literally translated, Bánh tráng nướng is grilled rice paper.

What does it look like?

It looks round and is cut into pieces, kind of resembling a pizza!

It includes many ingredients like minced pork, shrimp, fried onion and shallots.

Can I get Banh Mi all over Vietnam?

Yes, Banh Mi is one of the most popular dishes in Vietnam and you’ll have no problem finding it!

What is chè?

Chè refers to any typical Vietnamese sweet drink, dessert soup, or pudding.

Does Vietnamese food differ in north and south?

Yes, just like the dialects of Vietnam, the food can differ greatly in the north and south of Vietnam.

How do we eat bánh tôm Tây Hồ like a native?

How should you enjoy “bánh tôm Tây Hồ” like a native Vietnamese?

It’s served with fresh, raw vegetables and dipped in sweet and sour fish sauce and pickle to enhance the taste.

The yellow shrimp cakes are crispy and sweet. There is a sweet and sour taste which is genuinely hard to resist!

What are main tastes of kem Tràng Tiền?

The eight primary tastes are:

Green beans – Đậu xanh

Coconut milk – Sữa dừa

Taro – Khoai môn

Cocoa – Cacao

Green rice – Cốm

Chocolate – Socola

Green tea – Trà xanh

Durian – Sầu riêng

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4 comments

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  1. flexiteacher
    Reply

    I am going to try out all that food in Saigon, looks delicious!

    1. Max Hobbs
      Reply

      You really should!

  2. Giles
    Reply

    Best cuisine in the world, hands down!

    1. LTL Team HQ
      Reply

      Big call, but we love it!

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    Irene Magnosi , Irene Magnosi

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