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30+ Easy Vietnamese Food Vocabulary

May 26, 2022

Interested in a gastronomical adventure with your family and friends in Vietnam? Impress your friends and connect with the locals better by learning some of the most common Vietnamese food vocabulary so that you can order and have a simple idea of the food to expect. If you are up for that, then this language-learning guide we prepared for you will definitely help! Let's start learning!

Have a craving for Asian food? We cannot blame you as there is something truly special in this type of cuisine! But when it comes to soups, wraps, and healthy food, nothing beats the exquisite selection of mouthwatering dishes that Vietnamese cuisine has to offer. Unlike Western countries who enjoy chiến or fried food more than anything every single day, the Vietnamese people will surprise you with how well they can integrate rau sống (fresh vegetables), fresh herbs, and natural spices into the regular menu. For this reason, the country is one of the top travel destinations of many who also see themselves as vegetarians.

Some of the top vegetables that are almost always used in the Vietnamese menu include the rau mong (morning glory), rau mong toi (spinach), cai xanh (mustard green), dua guia (bean sprouts), and cai thia (bok choy). Interested to learn more words that you can use to describe Vietnamese food? Read on below!

 

Vietnamese Food Vocab

Vietnamese food vocab

 

Before we start exploring traditional dishes, we must know some food vocabulary that helps us get through the different ingredients in the food cuisine. In a way, this would help you identify your desired meal without going through any language barriers. So, let's get started.

Pork (Thịt lợn)

Pork in the Vietnamese language is known as Thịt lợn. It is quite popular, and almost every local loves pork dishes such as Caramel Pork, pork noodle soup, etc. It is one of the major attractions in most of the main dishes.

Chicken (Gà)

Unless you are vegan, you cannot miss out on Vietnam's chicken dishes. Gà is the word for Chicken in Vietnamese, and it is a favorite food item shared by every family. Dishes like Ginger Chicken are authentic Vietnamese food.

Fish (Cá)

From Freshwater fish dishes to Braised fish dishes, Vietnam is filled with fascinating recipes where fish plays a significant role. Cá is the food term for fish and even raw fish dishes, sashimi-style, are a traditional item in Vietnam.

Beef (Thịt bò)

While beef consumption is relatively low than other Asian countries in Vietnam, locals eat imported kinds such as Vietnamese beef sandwiches or Beef stew. Even Thịt bò steak recipes are delicious and savory.

Mutton (thịt cừu)

Mutton, known as thịt cừu, is the cheapest meat in Vietnam. It is affordable and also the most common due to the low prices. Vietnam has amazing dishes such as Lamb and pineapple soup and lemongrass Lamb chops found in almost every Vietnamese restaurant.

Egg (Trứng)

Eggs or Trứng are also another commonly served food item in Vietnam. They have tasty cooking recipes with eggs as their main ingredients, such as egg meatloaf and fried eggs, which are pretty savory and different from other countries. Even bean sprouts and eggs with soy sauce are commonly eaten.

Types Of Food In Vietnamese Cuisine

Types Of Food In Vietnamese Cuisine

Planning to go on a trip to Ho Chi Minh city and dining at an exclusive restaurant within the place? There's a huge chance that some of the restaurant menus will not have translations which is why learning comes of the common types of food is a must. After all, you do want to be stuck paying for food items you have no intention of ordering right?

EnglishVietnamese
Appetizers Khai Vị
BreadBánh
Soup Canh / Súp
SaladGỏi
NoodlesMì sợi
Vermicell/ Rice noodlesBún
Primary dishMón Ăn Chính
A la carteGọi theo món
Side dishesMón Phụ
RiceCơm
MeatThịt
DessertsTráng Miệng
BeverageĐồ uống

Now that we know the basic parts of a restaurant menu in the Vietnamese languages, the second thing you might be wondering is what type of food to actually get, right? As a rule of thumb, do remember that the food in the country is not as spicy as you think. Instead, the locals enjoy the salted flavor and the powerful combination of salt, garlic, and peanut. So, if you are unsure of what to get, here are a few suggestions that will surely make you want to stay in Vietnam forever:

If you are feeling snacky, you can get:

  • Bánh Mì also known as Vietnamese sandwich or Saigon roll
  • Bánh Bao or bun cake
  • Bún Chả Giò - fresh spring rolls with chili sauce or peanut dipping sauce
  • Bánh Ướt - a pancake made of thin rice paper sheets

If you want some appetizers:

  • Gỏi Cuốn Bì or pork salad rolls
  • Gỏi Cuốn - salad rolls in rice paper
  • Chả Giò - fried spring roll
  • Chạo Tôm - traditional sugarcane-grilled shrimp

If you want some filling meals:

  • Banh Canh Giò Heo Tôm - noodle soup
  • Cháo Gà - Chicken flavored congee
  • Sườn Nướng - grilled pork chop

If you want to satisfy a sweet tooth:

  • Cà Phê Sữa Đá - Vietnamese Iced Coffee with condensed milk
  • Chè Ba Mau - also known as a three-colored dessert
  • Chè Bắp- Vietnamese sweet corn pudding

 


 

Common Vietnamese Food Vocabulary

To help you navigate the restaurant menu better, we listed below some of the common food vocabularies along with the cooking styles that are unique to Vietnamese cuisine.

EnglishVietnamese
beefthịt bò
bitterđắng
boiledluộc
breadbánh mì
breadbanh mi
chickenthịt gà
cucumberquả dưa chuột
eggtrứng
eggstrứng
fish
foodmón ăn
garlictỏi
grillednướng
hotpotlẩu
mangoxoài
meatthịt
noodles
onioncủ hành
porkthịt heo
potatokhoai tây
ricecơm
saltymặn
seafoodhải sản
shrimptôm
sourchua
spicycay
steamed ricesủi cảo
sweetngọt
tastyngon
tomatocà chua
vegetablerau
vegetarianchay
zucchiniquả bí

 

Popular Vietnamese Food Condiments And Seasonings

Just like most Asian countries, the cuisine here is characterized by the use of gia vị or condiments to make the flavor even more powerful and punchy. Take note of the commonly used condiments listed in the table below.

EnglishVietnamese
chiliớt
chili saucetương ớt
fish saucenước mấm
garlictỏi
lemongrasscộng sả
limechanh tây
mayonnaisexốt mai-o-ne
onion củ hành
oyster saucesốt hàu
peppertiêu
saltmuối
sesame oildầu mè
soy saucexì dầu

 

The Traditional Vietnamese Cuisine

Ever wondered what makes Vietnamese food so unique? Why do people go gaga over the Vietnamese menu you witness in the Ho Chi Minh city of Vietnam? The secret to that question is the fresh vegetables and the aroma of perfectly-balanced flavors in every dish. Vietnamese people are blessed with an authentic and unique taste bud that allows them to serve a unique cuisine with a mixture of every other taste, from sourness, sweetness, and salty, to even aromatic blissfulness that you find very few in western food.

The most exciting part of Vietnamese food is that fresh herbs and vegetables play a very significant role in the recipe of Vietnamese dishes. While the hint of garlic, spices, and onion is found in almost every Asian country and their cuisines, the traditional method of blending every bit in perfect proportion is a Vietnamese specialty. The foods are served neither too hot nor too cold nor are the balance of flavors ever distorted.

The main attraction is the richness of raw ingredients that gives the dishes a fresh aroma and lively taste, which is not be found in deep-fried snacks. Even soupy dishes are quite the tradition of every Vietnamese being. Also, the street food in Vietnamese can taste so much better than any burger or pizza that you are sure to be mesmerized with.

The most popular dishes are rice noodles, fresh spring rolls, fish sauce with chicken noodle soup, chicken broth and steamed rice, bread, salad rolls, rice vermicelli, etc. So, to help yourself explore the right taste in Vietnamese, keep reading the Vietnamese food terms that this blog has prepared for you and start your eating journey in a native style.

Now that we know some of the important vocab regarding food items, let us explore the interesting food menu found in every Vietnamese restaurant.

Noodles (Mì sợi)

Noodles or Mì sợi is one of Vietnam's most popular food types. Some of the common items are Cao lầu (Roasted pork with noodles), Bún mắm (Fermented Fish Noodles), Bánh Canh (Thick Vietnamese noodles), and Bún chả giò (Pork noodle salad).

Rice (Cơm)

Like other Asian countries, Vietnamese people are also tremendously fond of rice and rice-made food items. It would help if you tried some traditional special orders such as Xôi Gà (Chicken sticky rice), which is mostly street food, Bánh chưng (Square sticky rice cake), which is a cultural value of Vietnam, and Cơm chiên ( Vietnamese fried rice). Even rice noodles are culturally appreciated food recipes.

Bread (Bánh mỳ)

Bread, Bánh mỳ (bánh mì), is also habitually eaten in Vietnam. Bread with chili sauce, cooked dry noodles, and even spicy dipping sauce are standard amongst street vendors.

Meat (Thịt)

Now that we know meat lovers spread all across Vietnam, here are some meat dishes that you should try out. Bò né (Vietnamese steak and eggs), Bò lá lốt (Beef wrapped in betel leaves, Cà ri gà (Chicken curry), and even Meat salad rolls (Gỏi Cuốn) and bowls filled with fresh spring onions, cucumber, onion, and carrots are a must.

Wrapping Up

Vietnamese Food Vocabulary

Are you excited to try out the Vietnamese food suggestions we listed in this post? Well, trust us when we say that you will surely fall in love with the exquisite cuisine of Vietnam. As the saying goes, the best way to man's heart is through his stomach, right?

As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn all the words and correct translations for the common food items and condiments in the Vietnamese language. If we were not able to include other food-related words, feel free to send them in the comment section down below, and we will get back to you in an instant. In the case that you enjoyed this post and figured that you would love to learn more about the cuisine of other countries, feel free to check out these previous posts like Filipino foods, budget-friendly and highly popular Thai food selections, and Chinese cuisine you surely do not want to miss out on.

If you found yourself attracted to the idea of learning the Vietnamese language, you should also check out the Ling App by Simya Solutions so that you can learn new words and expressions every day! For just 10 minutes or less, you kick start your language learning journey and start progressing on the right foot. So, what are you waiting for? Download the Ling App today on your mobile devices or explore its features on the site now.

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