Vietnam’s vibrant culture is brought into sharp focus through its food. From fresh, fragrant pho in the north to the rich comfort of com tam in the south, each corner and region comes to life via its flavours, and every bite enriches your understanding of Vietnam’s story. Let our local guides lead you to the very best foodie finds.
The way to Vietnam’s heart is definitely through its stomach. This is a country that wears its pride on its plate in an enormous diversity of dishes. To the newcomer, the wealth of choice can feel quite overwhelming, and this is where our local guides come into their own. Having chatted with you about your dietary likes, dislikes and needs, and your foodie hopes (and fears!), they’ll take you to the very best eateries and, perhaps most importantly, encourage you to push your culinary boundaries and discover new dishes.
Amongst Vietnam’s many edible treasures, there’s one that we’re drawn back to every time. Pho - the iconic dish of slow-cooked broth enriched with herbs, spices and thinly-sliced beef, poured over soft rice noodles - is an absolute must. When prepared properly it’s soul in a bowl, and true pho-seekers head straight for the dish’s origins in Hanoi. There’s something about queuing at a street stand alongside eager locals as the aromas of the broth fill the air, before being handed your bowl, adding handfuls of herbs and sitting down on a plastic stool to slurp happily, that brings complete contentment. This is local food as it should be - unpolished, individual and fresh, and our guides know where to find the very best.
Vietnam’s flavours tend to shift from fresh and zingy in the north to richer and spicier as you travel south. Our range of bespoke street food tours are the best way to get the measure of each region’s cuisine, and along with your guide’s local knowledge, timing is everything: early birds definitely catch the best eats! Head out on an early-morning Hanoi wander to wrap yourself around that bowl of breakfast pho, maybe dipping in a few quay dough sticks (Selective Asia founder Nick’s favourite combo). Try xoi xeo sticky rice, stuffed banh mi baguettes, and banh cuon rice rolls, all washed down with an eye-wateringly strong cup of ca phe (Vietnamese coffee) or clarifying green tea - the perfect way to start the day.
In central Hoi An, discover dishes from across the world in the town’s vibrant markets, eating your fill of local treats such as cao lau pork noodles and com ga chicken rice with coriander and lime. Further south in Ho Chi Minh City, zip between the city’s stalls and markets on a guide-led Vespa tour to get to the tastiest com tam with ease, and see the city from every angle from skybar heights to local cafe-culture. If you’re feeling fancy, indulge your fine-dining side with a ‘Dining in the Dark’ adventure of flavour over aesthetics.
And there’s so much more. Tasting Vietnam can incorporate everything from Hue’s multi-course Imperial feasts fit for an emperor to private picnics bedside rural rice fields, everywhere from Mai Chau to Hoi An. Just say the word - we’ll tailor your foodie moments to your tastes, from fulfilling your street food cravings to securing tables at the best restaurants. Let your guide lead the way, open your heart to new flavours and dive in.