Asia Travel News

Eating guide for Vietnam tours

If you've ever found yourself in search of a bowl of Vietnamese pho noodle soup in an urban Chinatown, chances are, you probably didn't have an authentic meal. Often served with crisp spring rolls and sweet basil, pho is like the macaroni and cheese of Vietnamese cuisine - the ultimate comfort food - and there's no better place to get the dish than during a tour of Vietnam.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Asian food authority Tony Tan described what food is really like in Vietnam.

"The flavors are more direct and straightforward," he said. "Servings are also smaller and - the northerners claim - more elegant, perhaps due to several centuries of Chinese influence."


Beginning in the north, where pho originated, travelers on Vietnam tours can eat noodles for every meal and somehow manage not to get sick of them. Restaurants often make their own roasted onion and beef broth as well as rice noodles, which is considered an ancient trade that few people know how to do in the traditional way.

While you're eating at any number of restaurants (they're everywhere), don't forget to order cha ca, or fried fish with dill, as well as banh cuon, which are steamed soft rice flour rolls and a perfect complement to a bowl of steaming hot pho.

Not sure where to start? Pho Bo Hang Dong might be a hole-in-the-wall eatery, but locals consider it among the top three noodle restaurants in the city.

Ho Chi Minh City

At Pho Hung, one of the most popular restaurants in the city, locals and visitors pack the small dining room like sardines, but the food is worth getting close to your neighbor. Open from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. every day, Pho Hung offers everything you could ever want in a pho noodle dish, from the slippery rice noodles down to the very last pork dumpling and splash of peanut sauce. Most of the restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City have massive serving sizes, so you might want to share a bowl with your travel buddy.

"Southern food is sweeter and spicier than up north," Tan said. "The food is more artfully presented and heavily influenced by the neighbours, Thailand and Cambodia."

Recommended Tours

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

9 days from $3,780 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 $3,575 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 $2,303 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