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From breathtaking natural landscapes to stunning beaches to its historic cities, Vietnam has so much to offer. But ask me (or anyone who’s been to Vietnam) what I love about the Land of the Blue Dragon, and in a heartbeat, I will answer you with one word: food. Vietnamese dishes, Vietnamese snacks, Vietnamese street foods – these are enough reasons to fly to Vietnam.
Vietnamese snacks and street foods are not just delicious. They’re some of the healthiest in the world as well, thanks to the country’s diversity of natural and agricultural products. So, you can truly enjoy guilt-free snacking.
You can buy some of these yummy snacks online. Some, you have to bookmark for your future trip to Vietnam. Pair it with awesome Vietnamese beverages and you’re good to go!
Ready for a mouthwatering list? Let’s dig in!
Best-selling and classic Vietnamese snacks you can buy online
A specialty of Hai Duong province, bahn dau xanh is a cube of sweet mung beans that melt in your mouth. This buttery pastry typically uses mung bean powder, pomelo essence, sugar, and fat. Locals enjoy it with afternoon tea.
It is also one of the oldest Vietnamese snacks. Bao Dai, Vietnam’s last emperor, loved this cake so much that he issued a royal decree to praise it. The decree bore the royal golden dragon seal. To this day, some Hai Duong bakers still brand their cakes the “Golden Dragon Mung Bean Cake”.
Vietnamese sure love healthy snacks. Proof of this lies in the variety of fruits they dehydrate and turn into sweet snacks. The most common of these is jackfruit, a tropical fruit native to South India but is also found throughout Southeast Asia. Mit say is crispy, with a mild and tangy sweetness. Certainly, this one’s a healthy alternative to your run-of-the-mill potato chips.
Banh pia is a type of Vietnamese cake that looks similar to the Suzhou-style mooncakes, Taiwan’s sun cake, and the Philippine’s hopia.
A specialty of Soc Trang province, this dau xanh and sau rieng variant contains mung bean and durian paste. Flaky, sweet and savoury, this pastry has a pungent smell thanks to the durian. Still, it’s one of the most popular Vietnamese snacks among curious tourists.
Unlike the thin shrimp cracker strips of Korea and Japan, Vietnam’s shrimp chips are traditionally round. Made from ground shrimp, flour, onion, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, pepper, and salt, banh phong tom is one of the most beloved Vietnamese snacks of kids and adults alike. It also serves as an appetizer and is a good accompaniment to salads.
Da ca say gion (dried fish skin) has long been a common snack in Vietnam but the salted egg flavor is an upgrade that happened only in the last decade or so. But it’s already one of the most bestselling Vietnamese snacks both domestically and abroad. It’s a welcome improvement, too, as the goodness of salted eggs takes the crispy, savory fish skin to the next level.
Most of you know what pho (pronounced as “fuh”, like “duh”) is, but let me describe it for those in the dark. This dish is essentially rice noodles (banh pho) with flavoursome broth, herbs, and meat, commonly beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga).
Popular across the nation and beyond, Vietnamese eat pho for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and yes, even as a snack! Some even consider this quintessential Vietnamese dish as Vietnam’s national food.
Sweet Vietnamese snacks you can buy online
Hailing from the land of coconuts, Ben Tre province, keo dua is a sweet treat made of grated coconut, coconut milk, coconut cream, maltose, and sugar. One of those Vietnamese snacks that can be quite addicting, coconut candy is chewy and sometimes mixed with durian, ginger, or pandan.
Originating from Quang Nam province, banh dua nuong is baked or roasted coconut crackers. This traditional Vietnamese pastry uses, as you can guess, coconut shavings, glutinous rice, sugar, milk, and vanilla. It’s typically crispy but some variations are chewy.
These incredibly aromatic and delicious chips cap off our coconut trio of Vietnamese snacks. Crunchy, pleasantly sweet, and healthy, these coconut chips are perfect toppings for cereal, yogurt, smoothies, salads, or on their own. It’s available in cinnamon and maple vanilla flavors.
More healthy snacks for you! One of the yummiest and most nutritious Vietnamese snacks that you can find online, soft dried pineapples are almost as healthy as fresh pineapples. It’s got fibre, vitamins, calcium, and iron. How awesome is that?!
Endemic to Southeast Asian countries, banana is a familiar ingredient in Vietnamese cooking and snacking. Crunchy and honey-sweet, you can munch on these goodies sans the guilt.
A proud delicacy of Hue province, me xung is a traditional candy that uses sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, rice flour, and sugar. One of the most ubiquitous Vietnamese snacks, it is lightly sweet, chewy, and a bit sticky. It goes perfectly with tea, too!
Artisanal chocolate, anyone? I’m no chocolate connoisseur, but Marou’s single-origin chocolates are one of the best I’ve had. These award-winning chocolates hail from a factory in Ho Chi Minh City but the cacao beans come from different provinces: Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Dong Nai, Lam Dong, Ba Ria, and Dak Lak.
In a country known for its coffee and rice exports, Marou has successfully shone a light on its underrated cacao beans (mostly of the Trinitario variety). Depending on the source, these dark chocolates can have undertones of coconut, prunes, cinnamon, espresso, and more.
Vietnam’s abundance of fruits shows. Although fruit jams are technically not snacks, these yummy treats can be served up with your favourite snacks and comfort food like toast, oatmeal bowls, pancake, and even meat! You’ll thank me later!
La Petite Epicerie Saigon captures local flavours, creating jams with a French twist. The brand has several jam variants like mango-ginger, papaya, orange, pineapple-cinnamon, and more.
Savoury Vietnamese snacks you can buy online
If you’ve ever had spring rolls, you know what a banh trang or rice paper is. You can easily distinguish the standard Vietnamese rice paper from other Asian variations because of its thinness. But there are several types of banh trang, like the banh trang me, that are thick, and crispy.
Banh trang me or sesame rice crackers is roasted rice paper topped with black sesame seeds. It is usually served with salads or as roll wrappers. But no one will stop you if you just snack on it like regular chips.
Cha gio cuon tom or shrimp egg rolls is a simple but highly popular Vietnamese appetizer. It is whole shrimp, marinated in a sauce, rolled in egg wrappers, and deep-fried. This delectable dish comes with a sweet chilli dip.
Cha gio tom an lien is the instant version – ready to eat, convenient, and while it may not taste exactly like the real thing, it’s close.
Banh trang tron translates to “rice paper mix” but that is a misnomer. Rice paper is a key ingredient but this spicy, sweet, sour, and savoury dish has so much more – as many as 16 ingredients, in fact.
One of the classic Vietnamese snacks and street foods, Andrew Zimmern described banh trang tron as “Vietnam in a bag”. Rightly so, as this one is a medley of ingredients that include but are not limited to rice paper, quail eggs, crushed peanuts, green mango, dried shrimp, coriander, dried beef, and tangerine.
Authentic banh trang tron awaits in the streets of Saigon, but if you’re stuck at home, you can opt for this instant rice paper snack. A pack includes rice paper, chilli, dried shrimp, and fried garlic, but you can also mix in more ingredients.
18. Rice Cracker Mix
Fans of sweet and salty chips will enjoy this savoury rice cracker mix. These crunchy rice crackers come in a variety of shapes, textures, and flavours like soy sauce and chilli. It’s your classic but not boring party snack.
Vietnamese street snacks
19. Gỏi cuốn and nem rán (spring rolls)
These classic Vietnamese treats are known as spring rolls to English speakers but in Vietnam, it is called by many names, depending on the region whether you’re in North or South Vietnam.
Southerners call fresh spring rolls goi cuon, while Northerners call it nem cuon. But the ingredients are more or less the same: meat (beef or pork) or seafood (shrimp or crab meat), vermicelli noodles, lettuce, and herbs wrapped in thin rice paper and dipped in peanut sauce.
Fried spring rolls are called nem ran in the North and cha gio in the South.
20. Bún chả (grilled pork and noodles)
Bun cha is hands down my favorite Vietnamese food. Considered one of the best Vietnamese street foods, this Hanoi specialty is a bowl of grilled pork served in a vinegary fish sauce broth. Vermicelli noodles and lettuce leaves are dipped in this broth. It’s savory, a bit sweet and sour, and mind-blowingly delicious. It is often served with nem ran.
Bun cha grew even more popular after President Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain sampled this dish with beers. The restaurant where they ate became an overnight sensation but while I’m sure they do amazing bun cha, locals and tourists who frequent Hanoi prefer the Old Quarter’s Bun Cha 34 on Hang Than.
Also worth trying is bun ca, the fish version of bun cha which is popular in Central Vietnam.
21. Bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich)
Along with pho, banh mi is one of the most popular Vietnamese snacks not just in Vietnam but around the world. Hailing from Ho Chi Minh but available all over the country, a typical banh mi sandwich uses meat (beef, pork sausage, chicken, or even tuna), vegetables, cucumbers, carrots, pate, chilli, and mayonnaise.
22. Sữa chua nếp cẩm (yoghurt black sticky rice pudding)
This one may be too heavy for snacking but it certainly is scrumptious. Sua chua nep cam or yoghurt black sticky rice pudding is exactly what it sounds like – sweet, chewy black glutinous rice with yoghurt. Coconut milk and ice is also thrown into the mix. It’s one of the best Vietnamese snacks on a hot summer day.
23. Bánh bao (steamed bun)
Steamed buns are a common sight in Asia. What makes Vietnam’s banh bao is the variety of fillings. it usually contains hard-boiled quail eggs, meat (pork, beef, or chicken), onions, mushrooms, and sometimes, noodles.
24. Cơm cháy (scorched rice)
Vietnam is one of the top five largest rice-producing countries in the world so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that rice is found in almost every dish, including Vietnamese snacks.
Com chay, or scorched rice, used to be the burnt crust of rice at the bottom of the steel pots. Nowadays, com chay is a snack made of deep-fried, crunchy rice topped with meat or fluffy pork floss, spring onions, and chilli.
25. Bánh xèo (Vietnamese crepes)
A specialty of Hoi An, banh xeo is similar to savory crepes. Rice flour batter and eggs are used to make thin pancakes which are then folded in half, like a taco shell. Usual stuffing includes pork, shrimp, and vegetables like mung beans, bean sprouts, lettuce, mint, and basil.
26. Xôi Xéo (sticky rice with mung beans)
Xoi is a general name for dishes made with glutinous or sticky rice. But the most popular type of xoi is xoi xeo, which is another well-loved Vietnamese street snack. It uses yellow glutinous rice, topped with mung beans and fried onion. It may not sound like much but locals and tourists alike enjoy this.
27. Cơm nắm (rice balls)
Com nam, or rice balls, is simply cooked rice shaped into a ball of dough. As soon as the rice gets cooked and while it is still hot, it gets fluffed and kneaded. You can easily pick up a ball, combine it with salt, sesame, and minced pork for a filling snack or meal.
28. Bánh cam and bánh ran (sesame rice balls)
One of the best Vietnamese snacks that conjure up childhood memories, banh cam (in Southern Vietnam) or banh ran (in the North) is deep-fried, crispy sesame rice balls. Inside these glutinous rice balls is a filling of sweet mung beans. The outside is covered with white sesame seeds.
Banh cam translates to “orange cake”. This yummy snack doesn’t contain orange, but its golden color and round shape resemble oranges, hence the name.
29. Bánh tét (rice cake)
If you’ve spent Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) in Vietnam, you’ve most likely encountered this delicious savory or sweet cake made from rice flour. These rice cakes are filled with mung beans and sometimes, pork, and then rolled in banana leaves and shaped into a thick, cylindrical shape. It’s a Tet favorite, although the “tet” in its name literally means “sliced” or “split”.
30. Bánh cuốn (steamed rice rolls)
Similar to banh xeo, banh cuon is like savory crepes, but instead of fried sheets, it uses steamed rice batter. Inside this thin sheet are ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, shallots, and other herbs. Paired with a sweet dipping sauce, this one’s a crowd-pleaser.
Drinks to pair with Vietnamese snacks
Good ol’ coconut water or coconut juice has long been a favorite of Vietnamese. Not only thirst-quenching, but this is also a refreshing and healthy drink. CocoGoods’ coconut water is made from Ben Tre coconuts, which are the finest in Vietnam.
Soy milk, or sua dau nanh, is as commonplace as pho in Vietnam. A traditional and popular drink, this is usually drunk warm (but can also be taken cold) and paired with Vietnamese snacks. It’s a good source of protein, too!
As the second-largest producer of coffee, Vietnam is a caffeinated country. Streets are dotted with coffee shops and stalls. And as if to prove just how passionate they are about coffee, the Vietnamese has even come up with their unique coffee filter: the phin.
From hot to iced to renditions with egg and coconut, Vietnam offers a lot of options for coffee enthusiasts. And while you can easily find Vietnamese coffee in other countries, it’s nice to know that it’s also super easy to find Vietnamese coffee brands online. Trung Nguyen is one of the most famous coffee brands in Vietnam and has been around since 1996.
34. Sinh tố (fruit milkshake)
Perfect for hot afternoons, sinh to is a rich and creamy milkshake made of seasonal fruits and condensed milk. There’s a wide range of fruits used for this purpose but the most common are avocado, mango, and pineapples. Some sellers even do a coffee variant.
35. Bia hơi (Vietnamese draft beer)
Known as backpacker beer because of its uber budget-friendly price, bia hoi or draft beer is available in Northern Vietnam. Not only is it a mean brew; the process of making it is also a source of fascination.
In classic Vietnamese way, the beer is brewed daily, briefly aged, kegged, and delivered to bars every day in steel barrels. At night, the streets of Hanoi are filled with tourists and locals rubbing shoulders, hunched down on plastic stools while nursing this refreshing and light (around 3% alcohol) drink on plastic cups.
After reading this list of Vietnamese snacks, street foods, and beverages, I’d wager that you’re feeling peckish. I know I am! Go ahead and start buying to your heart’s content. Ăn thôi! That’s Vietnamese for let’s eat!