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Vietnam Culinary Tour

Food is at the very heart of Vietnamese culture. Taste your way from Hanoi to Saigon.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  Food is at the very heart of Vietnamese culture. Almost every aspect of social, devotional, and family life revolves around the... more »

Tips:  Hire a car and driver (it can be cheaper than you think): Sometimes a chauffeur is cheaper than a car rental, especially in developing... more »

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Points of Interest

Into an outsize wok the chef tosses a fistful of bean sprouts, pork, shrimp, and/or mushrooms, then pours in a slick of marigold-yellow batter, rich with coconut milk. The resulting crêpe is the size of a Monopoly board—so large it overwhelms the table, let alone the plate. Its crisp, lacy edges break off with a satisfying crackle, complementing... More

2. Ben Thanh Market

Saigon’s main public market sells everything from dried spices and live chickens to cheap clothing and plasticware. And while it may be chaotic and crowded, it’s always entertaining to explore—and especially good for a quick snack from the many food vendors here. Most vendors are inside the dimly lit, aircraft-hangar-size main shed, which stays... More

3. Café Nang

The bohemian soul of Hanoi’s café scene is Nang, a 1956 landmark on Hang Bac Street whose 74-year-old owner, Ms. Thai, still brews nearly every cup herself. (Her father-in-law, who lived in Paris for a spell, taught her how to French-roast the beans.) Ms. Thai’s blend, sourced from Dong Giao, in the northern Nghe An province, is strong enough to... More

4. Cuc Gach Quan

Owned by architect Tran Binh and his French-Vietnamese wife, Thai Tu-Tho, Binh acquired a derelict colonial mansion and reimagined it as an indoor-outdoor fantasia, blending historic details (antique armoires; a wall map of 1960’s Saigon) with contemporary touches (gorgeous lighting; a floating staircase) to create a strikingly romantic space—a... More

For a full-on immersion into the city’s food scene, take a market tour with Tracey Lister, the Australian expat who runs the center.

44 Chau Long St.


6. Hon

Order the muc nuong (grilled squid) and ngheu hap (clams with ginger, lemongrass, and fresh mint).

Stall No. 9, Cua Dai Beach (off Lac Long Quan St.
Hoi An


7. Huyen Anh

In the leafy enclave of Kim Long, lunch at this open-air canteen, which serves two dishes only: banh uot thit nuong and bun thit nuong. The former, dim sum-like ravioli stuffed with grilled pork, are terrific. But it’s Huyen Anh’s bun thit nuong that sums up everything that’s simple and delightful about Vietnamese cooking. Bun means noodles—in... More

8. La Résidence Hôtel & Spa by Accor

Hue’s top choice, for its riverside location and Art Deco details.

5 Le Loi St.
Hue City


Morning Glory is a tourist haunt, and proudly so. It’s also the best place in town to sample Hoi An cuisine. While you can get a very good cao lau from stalls at the Hoi An market, Morning Glory’s rendition is endlessly richer: a tangy broth spiked with anise and soy sauce, sprinkled with chives, mint, and cilantro, and topped with a crumbled rice... More

10. Nam Hai

A high-design property has arrived on the South China Sea, and its sleek style is a testament to the impressive talent behind its inception. Aman resorts founder Adrian Zecha, French architect Reda Amalou, and Indonesian interior designer Jaya Ibrahim (whose past projects include the Chedi Milan) all collaborated on the Nam Hai’s 100 freestanding ... More

11. Nguyen Thi Thanh (The Lunch Lady)

For 13 years, Monday through Saturday, the Lunch Lady has set up shop on a patch of pavement on Hoang Sa Street near the zoo—working from 11 a.m. until she runs out of food, which happens quickly. Office workers, schoolkids, and lazy housewives queue up for whatever Lunch Lady is serving that day: usually noodles of some sort, invariably delicious... More

With an enviable location on Lam Son, Saigon’s central square, this gleaming upscale hotel with colonial accents delivers splendidly assured service and has one of the finest spas in town. Each of the 120 guest rooms is swathed in tasteful beiges and glowing hardwoods and decorated with historic photographs of Saigon; some rooms and suites have... More

Pho Gia Truyen, on Bat Dan Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, doesn’t look like much from the outside—or from the inside, for that matter. The room has a clock, two fans, three bare lightbulbs, and a handful of communal tables. The only decoration is the food itself: hulking slabs of brisket suspended from hooks, a hillside of scallions on the counter... More

Come in the early morning or late afternoon (after the second baking) and the bread is still warm. Phuong wraps her creations in newspaper if you want them to go.

Hoang Dieu St., in front of the market, a block north of the bridge
Hoi An

The city’s grande dame. All 364 rooms include modern amenities, but those in the original wing have a traditional feel.

15 Ngo Quyen St.