Vietnamese cuisine has so much variation to offer to its native citizens as well as to all the travellers visiting the country. Exploring local dishes around the world is fun, exciting and a whole chapter of life for foodies. To me, that involves expanding and softening the boundary of food expedition by trying new foods and challenging myself bit by bit.
In Vietnam, there are certain dishes that might scare many foreigners away just by the “name” of the dish just like how many did to me. But if you’ve got the courage and desire to give it a try, some of these dishes might turn out to be surprisingly delicious.
I hope the list below will give you some inspiration for a food challenge while you’re visiting this culinary heaven in Vietnam.
Trứng Vịt Lộn (Half-hatched Duck Egg)
Trung Vit Lon is also known as Balut (often called so in the Phillipines). It is half-hatched duck egg. Boiled version is most often eaten for breakfast with herbs, sliced ginger with salt and pepper. There are places that serve this dish with other kinds of cooking methods and sauces such as tamarind sauce. Colour and contents of the egg can differ depending on the level of hatching. So some may look almost like a normal boiled egg and look much less scary than the more hatched ones.
Chân Gà (Chicken Feet)
I have always been familiar with chicken feet dishes because this dish is one of local dishes in Korea (where I’m from), but I know that it might not be an easy dish to try for the first time and there are many Koreans who cannot eat this. In Korea, chicken feet is typically known as a very spicy food. However, in Vietnam, chicken feet is cooked in different ways and they’re not spicy. There are BBQ chicken feet places where their main dish is grilled chicken feet and some restaurants have fried chicken feet like the photo above.
Chả Rươi (Worm Pancake)
Cha Roui is a Vietnamese style pancake / omelet made with palolo worm, egg, minced meat and various herbs. The texture feels slightly brittle and quite unique. It is eaten with sweet and sour fish sauce, which refreshes and complements the oily flavour of cha roui. A tip to trying this dish is to avoid looking at cooking preparation with fresh worms (that helped me when I tried it).
Mắm Tôm (Shrimp Paste)
Mam tom sauce is one of famous sauces in Vietnam and specifically dedicated to some special Vietnamese dishes such as Bun Dau and Long Ran (check this article about these yummy dishes). It is made of crushed shrimp and salt that is left to be fermented for months to give the very unique flavour (and bad smell). This sauce is like Marmite to me because people either love it or hate it. Try it yourself and find out if you’re a mam tom lover or hater!