10 Must-Try Vietnamese Snacks

Known as the ‘world’s kitchen,’ Vietnam has long been prized for its rich, tasty food that satisfies the body and soul. Perfect for Vietnam’s warmer climate, meals here take advantage of local produce and fresh spices, with traditional cooking methods used to bring out the full flavor of the dishes. Vietnamese snacks are among the best in the world, and you’d be remiss not to try them during your visit! From the sweet to the spicy, there is a delicious snack around every corner – let’s talk about some of the best snacks in Vietnam!

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Vietnamese Snacks To Eat In Vietnam

While meals like bahn mi and pho often receive praise from tourists, there are plenty of lesser-known Vietnamese snacks and street foods for adventurous travelers to sample. From the French-influenced pastries to traditional noodle dishes, Vietnamese food combines the modern and historic for uniquely delicious experiences that you won’t forget in a hurry. 

Vietnamese snacks vary from region to region, and what you eat in Hanoi will be very different from the street food you find in Ho Chi Minh City. However, common threads hold the food together and make for satisfying meals between meals. Vietnamese food is very balanced, with spice, sweetness, acid, and fat coming together in perfect harmony. 

If you’re wondering where to start on your culinary adventure, here are 9 must-try Vietnamese snacks to fill your belly during your travels. 

Learn more about food in Vietnam:

10 Vietnamese Breakfast Dishes You Must Try

Tasty Vietnamese Fruits To Eat On Your Next Trip

Must-Try Vietnamese Desserts

Vietnamese Prawn Crackers (Bánh Phồng Tôm)

Vietnamese prawn crackers

For those who have visited Asian restaurants back home, you may have come across prawn crackers before. However, Vietnamese prawn crackers are unlike those bubbly, crunchy snacks – and are still just as tasty! 

Originating in Sa Đéc in southern Vietnam, bánh phồng tôm are some of the most popular Vietnamese street food. These traditional salty treats contain ground shrimp mixed with arrowroot flour, tapioca flour, onion, garlic, and sugar. They are usually sold in tiny, colorful packets in grocery stores and markets around the country. Instead of frying, the dough is usually sliced into thin circular shapes, then dried until crispy. 

If you miss out on these Vietnam snacks during your visit, luckily, you can usually find them on Amazon for shipping overseas. You can also grab a bag at the airport, although these will usually come at a large mark-up. 

Vietnamese Coconut Candy (Kẹo dừa)

Coconut lovers can’t go wrong with some Kẹo dừa during their trip! Made from coconut cream, malt syrup, and sugar, these chewy candies are a perfect on-the-go Vietnamese snack for when your sweet tooth is bugging you. While the ratios of ingredients are closely guarded secrets, it’s undeniably delicious and is a great way to experience Vietnamese cuisine during your travels. 

While you can find packets of this creamy treat all around the country, head to the Southern provinces for the best versions. Bến Tre, or the ‘Land of Coconuts’, was the birthplace of this traditional Vietnamese candy, and you’ll find plenty of vendors lining the fertile shores of the Mekong Delta. 

Sliced Cucumber And Chili

Vietnamese beer snacks

This is not a dish you’d see on most lists of snacks to eat in Vietnam, but it’s one of our favorite. Peeled cucumbers are sliced into strips. The cucumbers are served alongside a small bowl with salt and chili. Just spritz a bit of lime into the salt and chili to create a paste. Dunk the cucumbers into the chili.

This is the perfect Vietnamese beer snack, most commonly found in Northern Vietnam, including at fresh beer bars. On a hot day, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a Vietnamese beer.

Bánh Cuốn

Vietnamese snacks often take the form of rolls, combining fresh produce and meats to create a textural delight. Bánh Cuốn, or steamed rice-flour rolls, are one example of these delicious snacks that will definitely tide you over between lunch and dinner! Originally from the Northern region, Bánh Cuốn are traditionally filled with minced pork, shallots, and mushrooms and served with a spicy sauce. 

Not only are Bánh Cuốn delicious, but they are also mesmerizing to watch! Street vendors practice for years to handle the delicate batter, and the preparation is somewhat of an art form. Stop by a cart in Hanoi and watch the masters at work – trust us, they taste just as good as they look!

Bánh Xeo

 Bánh Xeo

Known as ‘talking pancakes,’ Bánh Xeo is a deliciously savory treat that you can find all over Vietnam! Like Western crepes, these thin pancakes usually contain a mix of minced pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, and can be eaten as a quick snack or a full meal. 

Bánh Xeo usually comes served with fish sauce and can be found at markets all around the South and Central provinces of Vietnam. Vegetarians, don’t worry – there are versions with vegetables, cheese, and tofu that are just as tasty as their meat-filled counterparts. 

Gỏi Cuốn

Vietnamese fresh spring rolls

Another familiar Vietnamese snack is Gỏi cuốn – though you may know them as summer rolls! Unlike Vietnamese fried spring rolls, Gỏi cuốn is served cold and usually contains slices of pork, shrimp, herbs, and soft vermicelli noodles.

This popular Vietnamese appetizer is straightforward to find – just look on the menu of any restaurant in cities and towns! Considered lighter and fresher than their fried counterparts, these summer rolls make for a great snack during the day, or even part of a full meal when accompanying broken rice or piping hot noodle soup. Because of their simple steps, it’s easy to make Gỏi cuốn at home – all you need are some common kitchen ingredients and a little patience!

Bánh Rán

Vietnamese sweet snacks
Sesame Balls / Bánh cam (bánh rán) / Kuih Bom Keledek

You may see the word ‘Bánh’ in front of many Vietnamese foods – however, it doesn’t always mean the crispy, fresh bread rolls that the country is so famous for. Instead, Bánh refers to a group of Vietnamese foods, including cakes, pastries, and bread. 

Bánh Rán is deep-fried Vietnamese rice balls native to Northern Vietnam. The glutinous rice is filled with a sweet, sticky mung-bean paste, then coated in flour and sesame seeds before frying. Crunchy and satisfying, Bánh Rán is often served as part of afternoon tea, though you can pick up bags of them from street vendors. Look out for high flames and swirling vats, as that usually means that your Bánh Rán will be fresh!

Chả Giò And Nem Chả Giò

Vietnamese fried spring rolls

While fresh summer rolls might be the food of choice, Vietnamese fried spring rolls are just as delicious for hungry travelers! Chả Giò, or Vietnamese egg rolls, are crunchy, succulent snacks made with pork, mung beans, and vegetables, and usually served with a chili dipping sauce. The traditional recipe calls for rice paper rolls, though many vendors today lean towards wheat paper, which is easier to work with. 

One of the most accessible items to find on this list, Chả Giò is a popular Vietnamese appetizer for cocktail parties and dinners. You’ll also find them in some specialized night markets, though it’s best to check for freshness before purchase – if your vendor doesn’t make them in front of you, go somewhere else!

Bánh Hạnh Nhân

While the name may not sound familiar, this Vietnamese sweet is incredibly popular in Europe – it’s another word for marzipan! The French brought this sweet almond paste with them, and it has stuck around as part of the culinary lexicon.

Bánh Hạnh Nhân is usually part of garnishes for intricate pastries, cakes and Vietnamese cookies, although you can also purchase blocks of the colorful Vietnamese candy from sweet shops or grocery stores. While almond-flavored sweets aren’t for everyone, it’s worth trying some of this snack during your stay!

Vietnamese Mooncake (Bánh Trung Thu)

Vietnamese Mooncake (Bánh Trung Thu)

Vietnamese mooncakes are tied to celebration, and can only be found during the Mid-Autumn festival. Traditionally a Chinese bakery product, Vietnamese mooncakes are delicacies many locals associate with good luck and prosperity. 

There are two kinds of mooncakes in Vietnam – square savory cakes representing the earth, and round, sweet cakes representing the moon. Traditionally, families and friends would gather after the harvest to sip tea and eat these cakes as a way of celebrating a successful season. These days, most Vietnamese mooncakes skew towards sweet fillings, with mung bean, fruit, and jams common ingredients. 

If you visit during the festive season, visit a bakery to pick up some of these delicious Vietnamese snacks! The best way to eat them is as the locals do – outside while watching the moon rise above the horizon. Don’t forget to make a wish for good luck!

Vietnamese Snacks – Undeniably delicious!

While the food may differ from region to region, Vietnamese snacks are just as tasty in the North as in the South. SO whether you prefer to visit restaurants or have a more authentic experience in the night markets along the Mekong Delta, there is a snack in Vietnam with your name on it! Expand your culinary horizons, and taste as many as you can – you won’t regret it!

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