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Apr 10, 2007 06:18 AM

What to get at Vietnamese Restaurants....

My husband and I have recently discovered Vietnamese food. We love it, but seem to always get the same things. We'd love to branch out a bit. What are some of your favorite Vietnamese dishes that are pretty standard at most restaurants?

We love:
Spring Rolls
Summer Rolls
Ginger Chicken in a Clay Pot
Rice Vermicelli with Roast Pork

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  1. Ah if you'd asked about Chinese food I could give you an essay. But, though it's easy to be enraptured by the leaves and herbs and spices of Vietnamese food, I know much less about it, so I'll give you an essay someone else wrote, which helped inspire me. It's about pho, but there are so many kinds of pho, and it varies by region, and this essay will fan the fires of your love for it.

    Here's a Wikipedia article with a list of almost 100 dishes to order:

    And here's a Vietnamese food blog:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Brian S

      Have no idea what it's called in Viet, but Broken Rice with Fried Pork Chop and Egg, is what it's described as at my local.

      Instant drool-o-rama!

    2. One thing I'd recommend for sure in bun bo hue (though I always ask for no blood). It's a good spicy beef noodle soup. For more ideas about Vietnamese food, you might want to check out kirkk's blog: mmm-yoso!!!

      Just click on Vietnamese in the listing of categories, and you will be treated to many descriptions of dishes at Vietnamese restaurants.


      2 Replies
      1. re: Ed Dibble

        YES! if your restaurant makes Bun Bo Hue you should definitely try it.

        Also, Vietnamese food is meant to be seasoned with sauces and herbs. If you don't know how to season it correctly, don't hesitate to ask the vietnamese server. One guy I know ate his pho his whole life without knowing how to add all the sauces and herbs. He was missing out on a complete pho experience.

        1. re: Ed Dibble

          Be careful about organ meats with the bun bo hue, as well as the blood, if you don't care for them. I had bun bo hue multiple times in Hue, and loved it. About a year after returning, I found a good Vietnamese restaurant in my area, and ordered the bun bo hue, and they kept asking, are you sure that's what you want? Really? People kept coming out of the kitchen and asking if I was the one who wanted the bun bo hue. When it came, it was entirely organ meats, which I, wimp that I am, can't stand.

        2. I love chicken pho (pho ga)
          Marinated pork chops over rice
          Marinaged pork chops over vermicelli noodles
          Banh cuon (meat wrapped in very delicate, soft, floppy rice sheets--not the more sturdy kind of sheets used for spring rolls. Served with fish sauce and deep fried shallots)
          Vietnamese sandwiches are a must try as well (banh mi)

          1. Vietnamese sandwiches - They are usually made with french baguettes, meat of choice, julienned pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro and jalapenos. Banh Mi Dac Biet (deli meats & liver pate) & Banh Mi Thit Nuong (BBQ pork) are my favorites.

            Bo Kho - beef stew. Can be eaten with rice, noodles or a french baguette for dipping. I usually eat mine with the french baguette.

            Bun Rieu - noodle soup made of thin rice noodles and topped with crab and shrimp paste, served in a tomato based broth and garnished with bean sprout, prawn paste, mint leaves, whole-leaf lettuce, and tomato chunks. This is one of my favorite Vietnamese noodle dishes.

            And for dessert
            Che Xung Xa Hot Luu - it's a coconut milk dessert with tapioca, mung bean and water chestnuts. The water chestnuts are usually dyed pink. This is one of my favorite desserts.

            1. Some of our favorites not already mentioned are stuffed grape leaves and salt baked seafood (usually shrimp, scallops, or calamari).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Philly Ray

                You mean la lot leaves, unless they're cheating (big time).