When you think of Vietnamese food, what comes to mind? Banh mi sandwiches? Summer rolls? If you’re unfamiliar, let us take you on a tour of some of our Vietnamese favorites, from hearty protein-packed dinners to simple, flavorful side dishes (and even a drink too). Whether you’re looking for something super authentic or are into spins on classic Vietnamese flavors, we’ve got something for you. Check out our list of 15 Vietnamese recipes—some of these might just become your new favorite Asian food go-tos.
There are a few standout ingredients in Vietnamese food worth mentioning, particularly if you’ve never cooked with them before. One of them is lemongrass, a tough vegetal stalk with a herbaceous, lemon-y scent (not dissimilar to the way Froot Loops smell, tbh). Try our Gà Kho Xả Ởt, or braised lemongrass-chile chicken, for an introduction to the flavor in a juicy chicken dish. Another special ingredient in Vietnamese cooking is fish sauce, a sweet and funky sauce made from fermented fish. It helps make certain dishes common to many Southeast Asian cuisines feel particularly Vietnamese, often without making the dish taste at all fishy—add it to our coconut chicken curry, experience it in our green papaya salad, or use it to marinate pork for a banh mi sandwich to taste the extra level of mysterious umami it brings.
We’d be remiss not to shout out Nước Mắm Me, a Vietnamese tamarind dipping sauce that truly goes with EVERYTHING. Dip your summer rolls into it, marinate chicken wings or shrimp in it, or use it as a dressing for salad or a rice bowl. It’s so simple, and so adaptable—make it as sweet or as spicy as you like.
For more Asian menu inspiration, check out our favorite Thai recipes, Chinese food, and Indian recipes too.