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Street food is a common eating form in Vietnam. You must try it to have the special experience that you can bring home and share with family and friends.
The local guide who knows the places for wonderful street food well, will take you to the authentic local ones that are not full of tourists. Those are even hard to find on a map. In this way, you will get to know in depth about the way the locals live.
A street food tour takes you to the various local snacks which are sold at the side of the streets. The tour guide is the key of the tour; he must be familiar with the vendors which are famous for a certain specialty and its historical background.
The rough process of a street food tour:
Having a street food tour is an iconic experience for Vietnam trips, as well as the best way to blend in with the locals and to experience their vibrant lifestyle. It is absolutely worthwhile to spend the time for it with your travel companion and learn something new in a relaxed atmosphere.
Authentic taste and freshly-cooked
As a native food lover, the guide knows where to get the really local food which is Vietnams favorite, and knows the most popular vendors. It saves time doing research yourself and makes sure you will not miss any highlights.
Unlike restaurants, the street food stalls have all needed food ingredients and cooking tools displayed before you. All dishes are freshly-cooked after getting an order; boiling, frying, grilling etc. You can see the whole cooking process and know what you are going to eat.
Great chance to spend fun time together with your important ones
It is a leisure tour to wander around the narrow alleyways which you would never find in the guide-books. Enjoy a cup of special Vietnamese coffee to get the tour started. Slow your pace and observe local people working, trying to be a local at this moment.
Along the way, you will try regional distinctive cuisine, like different kinds of Pho (rice noodle), Bun Cha in Hanoi, Cao Lau in Hoi An, Bot Chien in Ho Chi Minh etc. You do not need to worry about having communication problems or questionable dishes. The guide will work these out.
See the cities from a different angle
To get the authentic taste that a city can offer, requires you to get off from a private car and walk into narrow alleys. This is the very place that locals pass on traditional cooking from generation to generation and also where you can see how people order their daily Pho, how to mix up herbs and how to make a drip coffee.
Walk or cycle – a good way to reduce carbon emission
Although there is a tour by motorbike which is the most used transportation in Vietnam, it is still recommended to go on foot or by bicycle, which is the environmental way. You do not need to be in a hurry, just discover the interesting local life scene at your own pace.
Each destination in Vietnam has its own characteristic dishes. We introduce the classic ones in the main cities, which most tourists have highly commented on. They are normally hidden in the alleys that only the locals know.
Being the capital of Vietnam, it is a historic place. Its northern style cuisine is influenced mostly from southwest China. Pho is well known in the whole of Vietnam. It has many different ways to cook from region to region. Let us find something tasty in the Old Quarter.
Bun Cha is the top choice for lunch in Hanoi. It is grilled pork served on top of vermicelli noodles and herbs with a dish of dipping sauce. It is a traditional dish which is believed to originate from Hanoi.
Xoi - sticky rice, is one of the choices for breakfast and now has become a snack that can be eaten any time of day. It is made of glutinous rice with various contents of your own choice, like chicken, egg, beans, peanuts etc. It is convenient to take away and extremely filling.
Seafood is popular here. Their cuisine is pretty influenced by China and Japan, but the flavor is like no other and comes from the Hoi An locals. They have the strongest flavors.
Cao Lau is Hoi An's signature dish, which is a kind of noodle cooked with the water from the thousand-year-old well named Ba Le. It is three cultures mixed in one dish: thicker noodles like Japanese udon; the cracklings and pork are Chinese style; the herbs clearly Vietnamese style.
Banh Mi – Sandwich; the French brought their baguette into Vietnam during the colonial period. Nowadays, Vietnamese improve it in their own way. They put meat, vegetables, egg and sauce in the bread, and make it into a sandwich. The price varies, based on the ingredients you would like to add.
The food here is affected by Cantonese cuisine and Cambodia; it tastes sweeter and is often fried.
Nem Ran is the Spring Roll in Saigon style. It has common ingredients in rice paper: pork, daikon, carrot, shrimp, mushrooms, tofu, crab, chicken, bean sprouts or jicama, and then is deep-fried in oil until it turns golden. It tastes crisp and fresh.
Filter coffee is excellent in Ho Chi Minh City. When they serve the coffee on the table, it has the filter with the beans in it on top of the cup. The hot water drips through the small holes. It takes a few minutes to complete and smells good.
Notify your tour guide of specific dietary requirements first
Most of the street food tours have the common and classic dishes included, which are listed on the menu. Please notify your tour guide ahead if you are allergic to any food, do not eat specific ingredients at all or especially would like to try something.
Watch out when crossing the streets
Normally the stalls and vendors you are going to are located at the corner of narrow alleys or in side roads. Be careful with the motorbikes when crossing the street; they may come out without notice. And please keep your valuables safe in crowded places.
Go easy on ice and wash or peal the fruit
In Vietnam, we recommend you to have mineral water for hygiene, like at restaurants not to mention eating on the street. So go easy on the ice when drinking outside. It is also convenient to wash fruit with mineral water on the road.
Allow yourself some time to adjust to the local cuisine
Asian cuisine is very different from the Western one. In Vietnam they love rice, noodle soup with herbs and spices in it and some sauces that you have never heard of. Please try some local food first to see if you can get used to it.
Prepare some small bills and pay attention to the change you get back
You may come across something attractive by walking down the street. Please prepare some small bills like 10000VND, 20000VND and 50000VND with you in case there is extra expense for food or souvenirs. With the many “0”s on VND notes, you need to take your time to calculate the amount when getting the change back.
For a better experience of the street food tour, we at Asia Highlights make these particular arrangements for you, based on our travel consultants’ inspection:
The number of people is usually up to 6. We will go by local transportation, such as bike, cyclo or walking, so that you can get to the narrow streets, big cars cannot get to.
Your private tour guide will be somebody who has been living for a long time in Vietnam and knows about all the great places for great street food which are not shown on guide-books or trip advisor.
Various choices in small amounts
You have the chance to try dishes out as much as possible but in small amounts. Come hungry but return full from tasting various choices.
Clean, safe and healthy
We only choose the vendors or stalls that meet our standards yet are local style. We will make sure that you have clean, safe and healthy food.
Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you design your perfect trip to Vietnam. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting destinations, accommodations and activities that best suit your requirements.
Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today!