The ABCs of: Vietnamese noodles

May 22, 2019

One of the best ways to experience a new destination is to let your taste buds lead the way. Food is an incredible cultural and social portal while travelling: it opens up conversations about a country’s history, traditions, climate, and more. This is all true of Vietnam, a country whose cuisine is as diverse as it is delicious. But while you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of new foods to try while you’re there, one thing’s for sure: you’re going to eat a lot of noodles. A lot of chewy, slurpy, oh-so-tasty noodles. Here are three things to know about the country’s delicious delicacies:

Appearances can be deceiving

Noodles feature in hundreds of Vietnamese dishes, from piping hot soups to refreshing cold dishes. And while the noodles used in many of these dishes may look the same, there are many different methods — and ingredients — from which they may be prepared. At first glance, for instance, Bánh phở and Bánh canh may look similar — they’re both milky white, long, and elegant — but look closer and you’ll notice that the former are flat while the latter are round. Other types of noodles are easier to tell apart: Banh pho gao lut, for instance, are a rich golden red, while Bánh đa đỏ are a deep, rich brown.

Broth not required

There are hundreds of Vietnamese dishes that feature noodles, and while the country’s most famous — pho — is a hot, brothy soup, there are plenty of dishes that include no broth at all. Noodles are a key ingredient in rice paper rolls, stir fries, and other dishes.

Dig in — then drink up

If you end up ordering a hot and brothy noodle dish, like pho, you might end up getting a bit messy while you eat it. it’s okay to slurp up the long, chewy noodles as you work your way through. Then, once you’re done, don’t be afraid to lift the bowl to your lips and drink up the delicious broth that remains. Enjoy!

Getting there

Discover the noodles of Vietnam and more on a trip to Southeast Asia with National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures, a new line of trips for adventure-loving families in search of a meaningful way to discover the world together. With itineraries inspired by National Geographic's expertise in photography and storytelling, wildlife, culture, history, and geography, these trips let families connect with the world and each other.

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