Rise and shine! It’s breakfast time.
When it comes to the first meal of the day, what do you eat? Your everyday plain cereal, oatmeal topped with greek yogurt and blueberries, or toasted peanut butter and jelly jam sandwich?
In Vietnam, when the sun rises and the bikes hit the streets, breakfast will be the first thing you look forward to. The S-shaped country astounds thousands of hodophiles with its broad options of wonderful and healthy food choices to feast after an 8-hour sleep.
From epic local savory bites to freakishly scrumptious noodle dishes, here is what Vietnamese breakfast looks like.
Most renowned Vietnamese breakfast foods
Vietnamese love catching the sunlight early.
Unlike many Western countries, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for Vietnamese. It serves more than morning fuel before a long working day. It is everyday joy, meant to be slowly and thoroughly enjoyed with a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk.
The Vietnamese can be extra creative when making breakfast dishes. They don’t stick to some foods, they come up with loads of unique dishes to spike up their appetite. And it enriches the beauty of Vietnamese cuisine.
Let’s dive into some must-try Vietnamese breakfast feasts.
Cơm tấm – Vietnamese broken rice
The list starts with an energy-filled dish – Vietnamese broken rice.
Com Tam is made of fractured rice grains, which explains its English name. Back in the 1950s, the fragments of rice grains were mainly fed to pigs and used as the main food source for poor people.
However, the Vietnamese gradually found out that the texture of broken rice grains is pleasingly tasty. And Vietnamese broken rice was born, which then became popular in Southern Vietnam.
A complete plate of Com Tam is packed with scrumptious ingredients namely well-cooked broken rice, slices of smoky grilled pork chop, veggies, fried egg topped with fried pig skin, and scallion fat. One secret ingredient that strongly leverages the dish is egg meatloaf made with egg, mushroom, meat, and vermicelli noodle.
Many Vietnamese also love having Com Tam for lunch. To correctly taste the dish, drizzle some sweet and sour fish sauce and you are all set. A spoonful of broken rice is summed up with one word – splendid.
Cơm Tấm 36 – 11 Phung Hung , Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Cơm Tấm Ali – 304 Kim Ngưu, Hai Bà Trưng District, Ha Noi
Cơm Tấm Thu Thảo – 459 – 461 Le Dai Hanh, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City
Cơm Tấm Kiều Giang – 192e Trần Quang Khải, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Bánh mì – Vietnamese baguette
Pop quiz. What dish is the king of Vietnamese breakfast?
Without a doubt, it’s Banh Mi. You can’t truly immerse yourself in Vietnamese food culture without having Banh Mi.
Countless international cuisine magazines have praised the undeniable value of Banh Mi to the world culinary map. Apart from the fact that it’s cheap and convenient, it is insanely tasty. One bite and you may be addicted to it for the rest of your life.
You can easily spot countless vendors and trolleys selling Banh Mi for under a dollar on every street corner in Vietnam. Banh Mi will never cease to amaze you with its diversity of luscious fillings.
The best part is Banh Mi is easy to make. With the right ingredients, you can create your awesome Vietnamese breakfast at home no matter where you come from.
Top spots to enjoy Banh Mi:
Bánh Mì Bà Dần – 34 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Phố Cổ Banh Mi – 38 Dinh Liet, Hang Bac Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Bánh Mì Phượng – 2b Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An City
Madam Khánh (The Banh Mi Queen) – 135 Tran Cao Van, Hoi An City
Bánh Mì Nhân Ngãi – 23 Tran Phu, Da Lat City
Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa – 26 Le Thi Rieng, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Xôi – Vietnamese sticky rice
Seeing kids feasting their sticky rice breakfast wrapped in banana leaves before heading to school is something you can only witness in Vietnam.
For a country with a long-lasting rice culture like Vietnam, dishes made from rice still hold an important position in every Vietnamese. And Xoi is a product of rice culinary art. It is also a fascinating street food in every part of the country.
Xoi is made with glutinous rice which boasts a soft chewy texture. It comes with many variations depending on the toppings, namely Vietnamese sausage, jambon, quail eggs, and different types of beans. Each style boasts unique flavors. That is why you can witness Vietnamese eating Xoi almost every day without getting bored.
From savory to sweet, Vietnamese sticky rice makes an interesting food to include in your breakfast list.
Top places to eat Xoi:
Xôi Yến – 35b Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Xôi Cô Kim – 25 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung District, Ha Noi
Xôi Dì Hòa – 26 Le Thanh Ton, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Xôi Gà Number One – 136/52a Tran Quang Dieu, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Xôi Nhà Xác – 405 Tran Phu, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Bò né – Vietnamese sizzling beef
Hankering for a dynamic breakfast? Go for Bo Ne (Vietnamese sizzling beef), one of the most exhilarating delicacies in Vietnam.
Watching the cooks making Bo Ne is as much fun as munching it. The sizzling sounds of juicy slices of beef, sunny-sized eggs, sauteed onions, and a scoop of liver pate placed on a blazing hot cow-shaped skillet hitting your ears will make your stomach go crazy. Bo Ne is best served with crispy baguettes.
The way to enjoy it is to smear some pate and some beef on the crispy baguette, dip it in the egg yolk and let all the flavors assault your taste buds. You will regret not tasting this fiery roasted breakfast when exploring Vietnam.
Best places to enjoy Bo Ne:
50 Bistro – 50 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da District, Ha Noi
Bít Tết Ngọc Hiếu – 52 Le Ngoc Han, Hai Ba Trung District, Ha Noi
Bò Né Ba Ngon – 18 Dinh Tien Hoang, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Chảo Restaurant – 31 Tran Quang Dieu, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Bò Né Cô Út – 53 Tran Hung Dao, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
Bánh cuốn – steamed rice roll
Vietnam is famed for its diversity of rice cakes, which highlights the quintessential creativity of Vietnamese – they can turn simple ingredients into subtle tasty treats.
Rice cakes are the signature culinary masterpiece of Hue – a beautiful ancient city in Central Vietnam. And steamed rice roll is one of the most popular versions of rice cakes.
The rice batter of Banh Cuon is steamed and made into thin wavy sheets. Then, a mixture of cooked minced pork, mushroom, and shallots is rolled with the rice sheet. Dip it in the chili fish sauce and take a bite. The chewy texture makes Banh Cuon a unique dish to start your day joyfully.
Most-loved Banh Cuon venues:
Bánh Cuốn Bà Xuân – 16 Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi
Bánh Cuốn Phượng – 16 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Bánh Cuốn Cô Meo – 166 Yen Phu Nho, Tay Ho District, Ha Noi
Bánh Cuốn Lá Dứa – 21 Nguyen Thi Nho, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
Bánh Cuốn Hồng Hạnh – 17a Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Cháo lòng – Vietnamese pork organs porridge
If you are keen on something light for breakfast, Chao Long is a perfect choice.
In many countries, certain animal parts are thrown away. But in Vietnam, nothing goes to waste! Every single part of an animal can be utilized to create a scrumptious dish.
Vietnamese pork offal porridge, also known as congee, is rice porridge with various pork organs such as liver, spleen, kidneys. Cubes of blood cake can be added. A pinch of chili flakes, lime juice, and pepper makes the steaMì hot bowl of congee extremely delicious.
You may find organs a little intimidating, but don’t be afraid to give it a try. You’ll be amazed!
Cháo Lòng Bà Tý C – 39 Chau Long, Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi
Cháo Lòng Số 4 Đào Duy Từ – 4 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Cháo Lòng Phù Đổng Thiên Vương – 99 Phu Dong Thien Vuong, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
Cháo Lòng Cô Út – 201 Co Giang, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Most tasty Vietnamese noodle dishes for breakfast
Phở – Vietnamese beef noodle soup
The Vietnamese love having noodle dishes to begin the day. And if you ask them what noodle treat they typically have for breakfast, they will answer without hesitation – Pho.
You don’t have to be in Vietnam to know about Pho. Its timeless reputation travels far to continents. Dating back to the 1900s, Pho is more than a bowl of soft white noodles topped with slices of beef, it is a national dish that echoes the country’s history and culture.
What makes Pho stand out is its ingenious broth, which is one of the most complicated broths to master. Pho’s uniquely delicate broth is dissolved from a harmonious fusion of distinct dried ingredients such as beef bone, cardamom, aroma seeds, ginger, cinnamon, fish sauce, and other local spices. It is packed with nutritions and flavors.
Phở Bò Hàng Đồng – 48 Hang Dong, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Phở Thìn – 13 Lo Duc, Ngo Thi Nham Ward, Hai Ba Trung District, Ha Noi
Phở 10 Lý Quốc Sư – 10 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Phở Hồng – 10 Ly Tu Trong, Thach Thang Ward, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Phở Hòa Pasteur – 260c Pasteur, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Phở Phú Vương – 120 Nguyen Thai Binh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city
Bún chả – grilled pork with vermicelli noodle
Have you tried Bun Cha? It’s a special delight that captured former President Obama’s heart.
Bun Cha is an iconic dish representing Ha Noi cuisine. Although it has been passed on from generation to generation, the taste is well-preserved. If you wonder why President Obama loves Bun Cha so much, the answer is that it was voted by National Geographic readers as one of the 10 best street foods in the world in 2014.
The sweet, savory, and fatty pork patties (chả) barbecued over a charcoal grill mixed with vermicelli noodles is a killer combo. So if you want to have breakfast like a true Hanoian, Bun Cha is the way to go.
Must-visit Bun Cha spots:
Bún Chả Nguyễn Biểu – 23 Nguyen Bieu, Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi
Bún Chả Hàng Khoai – 48 Hang Khoai, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Bún Chả Mai Hắc Đế – 11 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung District, Ha Noi
Bún Chả Phố Cổ – 225 Phan Xich Long, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City
Bún Chả 26 – 8a/9c2 Thai Van Lung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Mì xá xíu – Vietnamese char siu noodle
Mi Xa Xiu is among the most loved breakfast dishes in Vietnam with some Chinese influence.
Vietnamese char siu noodles comprise two main ingredients: golden egg noodles and char siu. The star of the dish, char siu, is pork shoulder marinated with honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, cashew color powder, and sometimes wine. It is a traditional Chinese recipe passed through generations, and it’s brilliant.
The char siu will then be sliced thinly and dropped into a bowl of egg noodles. The pleasant aroma and savory tenderness of char siu fused with the noodle’s chewy texture will rock your taste buds.
Vietnamese char siu noodle consists of two versions – the dry one and the wet one. And both versions will make you drool.
Top places for Mi Xa Xiu:
Mì Xá Xíu Đinh Liệt – 9 Dinh Liet, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Mì Xá Xíu Bình Tây – 54 Hang Chieu, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Mì Khô Xá Xíu 53 Cô Giang – 53 Co Giang, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Ân Ký Mì Gia – 55 Ho Ba Kien, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City
Mì Quảng – Quang noodle
Quang noodle may sound unfamiliar to foreigners, but it is a masterpiece of Vietnamese culinary art.
The name “Mì Quảng” is based on the dish’s origin – a region in the Central of Vietnam called Quang Nam. The noodle dish echoes a touch of ancient Chinese cuisine.
How to describe Mì Quảng. It is full of colors with a wide variety of ingredients such as shrimps, meat, and boiled quail egg. Nine different types of veggies, roasted peanuts, fresh lemon, and chili sauce add perfection to the dish. The marvelous rich broth is cooked with the passion and dedication of the Central locals.
No wonder why Vietnamese love munching Quang noodle so much in the morning.
Top places for Quang noodle:
Tâm Quán – 103 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi
Vị Quảng – 35 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Ông Hai Hội An – 6a Truong Minh Luong, Hoi An City
Phố Thị – 48 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Phố Hội – 133 Hai Ba Trung, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Bánh canh cua – crab tapioca noodle soup
Last but not least, a dynamic breakfast noodle dish you must try when the streets of Vietnam are alive with hustles is crab tapioca noodle soup.
A huge bowl of Banh Canh Cua starts with thick slippery tapioca white noodles topped with chunks of crab, some Vietnamese crab cakes, shrimps, and some blood cakes.
The vibrant golden broth made of crab makes the delicacy irresistible. Squeeze some lime on top as a flavor enhancer and you are ready to go. Tasting Banh Canh Cua is a wonderful opportunity to test your chopstick skill with the slithery tapioca noodle.
Highly recommended places:
Bánh Canh Chợ Cồn – 2b Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Quán Út Còi – 11 Phung Hung, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
Bánh Canh Cua Tôn Thất Đạm – 8 Ton That Dam, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Bánh Canh Cua Chợ Hòa Bình – 37 Bach Van, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Enjoy your breakfast in Vietnam
What is the best way to freshly start your beautiful day? It’s munching a hearty Vietnamese breakfast. Forget about your cereals and sandwiches. Let Vietnam take your taste buds on a wild ride of exciting morning flavors.