Asia Travel News

Order's up in Vietnam

Forget Banh mi: if you haven't already tried pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup whose U.S. craze has all but boiled over in the past decade, then do yourself a favor and hop on the bandwagon. For those converted and itching for more Vietnamese culinary revelations, then a trip to Vietnam might be just the thing to sate your appetite.

Fresher, lighter, brighter
So what exactly is all the fuss about Vietnamese cuisine?

"Vietnamese cooking is fresher, healthier, lighter, and brighter than, for instance, Chinese or Indian or French," according to Peter Lindberg of Travel and Leisure. "After the wonder that is Vietnamese produce, the stuff back home seems like a recording of a recording of a cassette that was left out in the sun."

Vietnamese food seems catered to making you feel good about yourself, which - along with inexpensive prices - might help explain its recent popularity. Pho, a staple of any Vietnamese's diet, is a noodle soup comprised of vegetables, rice noodles, herbs and a protein (usually beef), all in a broth that seems to warm the cockles of your soul. Throw in some of the hot sauce served at local restaurants, and it'll just as easily clear your sinuses.

Sampling the spectrum
Soups are a prominent part of the cuisine, and pho is just one part of the equation. Try ga tan, a chicken broth soup that is good for what ails you, or lau, a communal dish served in an oversized pot that's filled with anything from "tofu to frogs," according to CNN Travel.

If you're looking for something a little more healthful, try goi cuon, a mini salad with coriander wrapped into a papery spring roll. These are perfect for dunking into fish sauce, another pillar of Vietnamese cuisine.

Speaking of salads, nom hoa chuoi is Vietnam's answer to the question of the same-old romaine and iceberg concoctions. Carrots, cilantro and papaya complement the thin slices of the scruffy, purple banana flower featured in this dish, which is then topped with - you guessed it - fish sauce.

Topping it off
One of the great aspects of eating in Vietnam is that the best food is often found in markets and street vendors, perfectly designed for convenience and efficiency. That doesn't mean you should pass up on Vietnamese egg coffee, or the icy sweet concoction of coconut milk, fruit and bean jelly that is Che. There's always time for a little dessert.

Share
Recommended Tours

Highlights of China: Great Wall, Warriors, & Li River

9 days from $3,330 pp*
Custom Private Tour
Centuries fall away as you climb the Great Wall, look down upon the Terra Cotta Warriors, and cruise the serene waters of the Li River. Voyage through China's must-see highlights with private guides at every stop.
More Info

Vietnam Explorer

11 days from $3,487 pp*
Custom Private Tour
Take in awe-inspiring vistas in Halong Bay as you practice Tai Chi on the deck of a luxury cruise ship at sunrise.
More Info

Myanmar Explorer

7 days from $2,142 pp*
Custom Private Tour
Much of Myanmar is still blissfully undeveloped. Be among the first to experience the magic of Yangon, the 2,000 temples of Bagan and the incredible leg-rowers of Inle Lake with a private guide.
More Info
Kensington Advantage
Personalized itinerary with private guide & driver. Award winning value.
  • Personalized itinerary that fits like a glove
  • Full attention of your own private guide & driver
  • In-country offices for 24/7 peace of mind
  • Multi-award winning
  • 30,000 delighted clients

With the inside track on the new, the old, the off-the-beaten track and the out-of-this-world, you won't find a more knowledgeable team of destination specialists.

Meet Our Experts
Curators of extraordinary experiences, you won't find a more skillful team.
30,000 Delighted Customers
"Kensington, you've done it again...perfection!"

Don't take our word for it.
Here's what our clients say.

"Fabulous trip. Every aspect from the planning to execution was excellent."

Newsletter Subscription
Have our hand picked trips, news & specials delivered to you.
Thank you for signing up!

Your details have been received and processed successfully.
Travel + Leisure : World's Best Award 2014 Family National Geographic Traveler : 50 Tours of a Lifetime Travel Leisure Award 2015