Vietnamese cuisine encompasses all of the best parts about Asian cooking: fish sauces, fermented veggies mixed with fresh herbs, the hot sauces and simmered meats. In the northern parts of Vietnam, food is influenced by China but as you move further south, food begins to have hints of Thai and Cambodian flavors. It also becomes sweeter and fresh, tropical fruit replaces some of the pickled elements of dishes.
Because of French colonization in the 18th century, Vietnamese food also has noticeable French notes, like the banh mi, a very Vietnamese sandwich with grilled pork, pickled carrots and cilantro but made with a crusty French baguette. One of the most popular Vietnamese soups, pho, is actually a blend of traditional Vietnamese rice noodles and French meat broths!
We have found the best six culinary tours all around Vietnam, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City!
- Street Food
When talking about cuisine in any Southeast Asian country, it’s impossible not to mention street food. In Vietnam, street food is As with many other Southeast Asian countries, the street food is some of the best food you can find. Some of the street foods that you absolutely have to try include pho (a beef noodle soup), bun cha (marinated pork served with fish sauce), xoi (savory sticky rice), banh mi (a baguette sandwich) and ca phe trung (a coffee dessert).
This private half-day street food tour takes you around the Hanoi Old Quarter, the historical center of Hanoi with classic French Indochina architecture and amazing authentic food. During this tour, you will get to try about 10 entrées and numerous local beverages. You will also be able to talk to the street food vendors and restaurant owners so you get a better feel of the local spirit.
During this fun tour, you’ll get to experience nighttime in Saigon like a local: riding around on the back of a motorbike driven by your English-speaking guide! You will get to sample eight street food dishes as you make your way to various cool places around the city like a pagoda inside an apartment and the markets along the banks of the Saigon River. As well as food, you will get beer, soft drinks and homemade sticky rice wine.
- Vietnamese Cuisine & Cooking Classes
Of course, Vietnamese food isn’t entirely composed of street food: their restaurants and cafes are wonderful too! At restaurants you can find full, several course dinners, upscale cuisine or small, family-owned restaurants that have more of a street food vibe. All cafes have traditional Vietnamese iced coffee, iced beverage made from coarse-ground Vietnamese-grown coffee poured through a small metal drip filter. This is poured over ice and mixed with sweet condensed milk.
Another fun way to experience food in another country is to take a cooking class! Here, you can learn how to cook the cuisine you loved and take your vacation home with you. Whether it’s as part of an all around food tour or just an afternoon cooking class, having the chance to learn hands-on about your favorite dish will be an experience you always remember. We’ve found some of the best culinary tours and cooking classes and two longer cuisine tours that include cooking classes as part of their itinerary!
This five-day long combined food tour and cooking class is the perfect way to not only enjoy all types of Vietnamese food, but also to learn how to cook your favorite dishes so you can bring them home with you! Saigon, also known as Ho Chi Minh City, is where the all the culinary tastes of Vietnam combine, from the North, the Center and the South of Vietnam. You will learn to cook local salad, soup and braised fish or pork at the Vietnam Cookery Center and then visit markets, restaurants and more. When you are not busy tasting all sorts of delicious new cuisines, you will get to tour China Town and Thien Hau Pagoda and take a boat trip to the Mekong Delta where you will experience the Cai Be floating market and more!
4. Vietnam Real Food Adventure
This is one of the most in-depth cuisine trips in Vietnam! Over the course of twelve days, you will eat your way through Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and experience both bustling markets and upscale restaurants. At the country’s best cooking schools, you will learn to cook some of the most popular north, central and south Vietnamese dishes. This tour is especially exciting because it includes a homestay in the Mekong Delta!
During this half day cooking class, you will get a crash course in cooking some of the most popular Vietnamese foods! After beginning your day with a wake up coffee at a local cafe, you will head to a market to college the ingredients you will need for cooking later. Then, you will learn to make rice paper shrimp rolls, oyster ginger sauce, warm squid salad served in pineapple and more!
This full day tour is a great way to not only see some of the famous sights in Hanoi, but also to eat some of the best food in the city at the same time! You will get to try all sorts of street food, local egg coffee and finally end your day at a nice restaurant for a dinner of rice noodles served with grilled fish. In between each food stop, you will be able to tour Hanoi Old Quarter, Chau Long market, Ngoc Ha Village, the Temple of Literature and more!