15 Best Vietnamese Recipes

Beef pho with rice, noodles, and basil
Christopher Testani

If you've never tried making Vietnamese food at home, get ready for a treat. Many of the dishes you love from your favorite restaurant aren't as difficult to make as you might think. When you make it at home, you can adjust the spice levels and concoct a meal that's tailor-made to your tastes. Use these recipes to create a feast for your family, no takeout menu required.

  • 01 of 15

    Stir-Fried Sweet Shrimp

    Stir-Fried Shrimp with Ginger and Garlic
    boblin / Getty Images

    A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, these stir-fried shrimp have all of the Vietnamese flavor you love. Shrimp fry up quickly, so get all of your ingredients ready before you start to avoid overcooking the seafood. Use decent-sized shrimp to make this dish as a main protein or an appetizer, or smaller shrimp to serve over rice or as part of another presentation.

  • 02 of 15

    Lemongrass Tamarind Chicken

    Lemongrass tamarind chicken

    Connie Veneracion

    The unique combination of lemongrass and tamarind sets this chicken dish apart, with a sweet and sour flavor that contains an extra fruity note from the tamarind. The fruit comes fresh, dried, and as a jarred paste in many Asian markets. If you go the paste route, use more than fresh or dried to get that assertive flavor. Serve it over white rice, to soak up the sauce.

  • 03 of 15

    Cabbage Roll Soup

    Vietnamese cabbage rolls soup

    Connie Veneracion

    On a chilly day, this canh bap cai nhoi thit, or cabbage roll soup, really hits the spot. By simmering meat-stuffed cabbage rolls in broth, the liquid permeates the rolls and gives the cabbage a lovely depth of flavor. Traditionally, the rolls get simmered in water, but this recipe calls for using homemade broth for more punch. Use store-bought broth if you don't have any homemade on hand.

  • 04 of 15

    Lemongrass-Marinated Lamb Chops

    Lemon Grass Lamb Chops

    Emma Grimberg/Getty Images

    Marinating tender lamb chops in lemongrass, fish sauce, and sweet mushroom sauce tames any gaminess and gives the meat an umami and slightly fruity flavor. The meat does need to marinate overnight, so plan ahead. Once they finish marinating, you can toss them on the grill, pan-fry, or sear and bake them.

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  • 05 of 15

    Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetables

    Stir-fried vegetables, close-up of hand sprinkling seasoning
    Ian O'Leary / Getty Images

    Stir-frying vegetables over high heat takes less time than many other preparations, and results in crisp-tender veggies instead of the limp, graying versions that can often result from boiling or over-steaming. This recipe comes with a nice, light sauce that complements the vegetables' natural flavor beautifully. Cut all of the vegetables into similar-sized pieces so they cook as evenly as possible. If you do like your vegetables a little softer, cook them for 10 to 20 seconds longer.

  • 06 of 15

    Vietnamese Fried Rice

    Vietnamese fried rice

    Connie Veneracion

    The Chinese influence on Vietnamese cooking really shines through in this fried rice recipe. It features milder flavors than the Chinese kind, thanks to lemongrass, lime juice, and fish sauce. Fatty dried Chinese sausage and tender barbecued pork give it a meaty element that could turn this side dish into a main meal.

  • 07 of 15

    Sambal Kangkung With Shrimp Paste

    Sambal Kangkung With Shrimp Paste

    Connie Veneracion

    Kangkung is a semi-aquatic plant with edible leaves and stalks. The stalks take a bit longer to cook until tender. The unique vegetable tastes great with sambal, or a chile-based sauce. While many types of sambal exist, this recipe calls for sambal oelek. If you use a sambal with shrimp paste already included, adjust the added amount accordingly.

  • 08 of 15

    Tamarind Dipping Sauce

    Tamarind Sauce
    Bruce McIntosh / E+ / Getty Images

    Once you try this homemade tamarind dipping sauce, you won't ever go back to the store-bought kind. Tamarind gives it a sweet-and-sour element that contrasts well with salty fish sauce and zippy fresh chili. You can adjust the heat level by scraping out the seeds and veins for a milder sauce or leaving them in for additional spice. The sauce goes beautifully on grilled fish or chicken, as a dipper for spring rolls, or drizzled atop fried rice.

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  • 09 of 15

    Pomelo and Shrimp Salad

    Vietnamese Pomelo and Shrimp Salad

    Connie Veneracion

    The large pomelo fruit can grow up to 10 inches in diameter, but many vendors will sell segments to make it easier to use it all before it dries out. Tossing the shredded pulp with lime juice, ginger, garlic, and chili highlights its sweet flavor. Tender shrimp work beautifully in this recipe, but you can also use chicken or squid instead. The dressing gets better as it sits, so make it first while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

  • 10 of 15

    Pandan Rice and Mung Bean Cake

    Vietnamese Pandan Rice and Mung Bean Cake (Bahn Da Lon)

    Connie Veneracion

    Try this colorful Vietnamese answer to rice pudding for a unique, delicious dessert. Split mung beans cook faster than whole, so use those if you can find them. Fresh coconut milk has a richer, deeper flavor than canned, but you can use the canned version if necessary. Serve the cakes warm or at room temperature, drizzled with a little extra coconut milk, and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

  • 11 of 15

    Pork Bone and Green Papaya Soup

    Vietnamese Pork Bone and Green Papaya Soup

    Connie Veneracion

    It takes long, slow cooking to liquify the tendons into the broth in this pork bone and green papaya soup, but the rich result makes it all worth it. Green papaya has little flavor of its own, but it soaks up the meaty broth well. Using your slow cooker will prevent the pig's feet from scorching and sticking to the bottom of a pan on the stove. Try this homey recipe for a budget-friendly, authentic Vietnamese meal.

  • 12 of 15

    Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Salad

    Connie Veneracion

    Don't let the name of this dish fool you; even though it bears the name "salad," it's chock full of noodles, hearty beef, and lots of vegetables to make an entire meal. Assemble it in layers, with the rice noodles at the bottom, fresh and pickled veggies next, then lemongrass-marinated beef strips. Finally, top it all off with fresh herbs, chopped roasted peanuts, and fried crispy shallots. The contrasting textures and flavors will make it a new favorite.

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  • 13 of 15

    Pickled Bitter Melon Salad

    Pickled Bitter Melon / Gourd Salad

    Connie Veneracion

    Try this delicious pickled salad as a light side dish or a zesty topping for sandwiches. Bitter melon tastes a bit like a bitter, sour cucumber and this salad makes an easy introduction to the vegetable. Julienne bitter melon, radish, carrot, shallot, and bird's eye chiles and blend them together with fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and lime juice for a Vietnamese preparation. This recipe also features a Filipino preparation. Try both, to discover which you like best!

  • 14 of 15

    Vietnamese Spring Rolls

    Eating Wrapped Cha Gio

    Dennis K H Sim

    Use this handy guide to wrapping and frying Vietnamese-style spring rolls for a fun project and a satisfying snack. Dice the fillings nice and small for a uniform filling, and get all of your supplies ready before you start. It may take a few tries to get the technique right, but you'll want to show all your friends once you master it. Serve the finished product with nuoc cham dipping sauce.

  • 15 of 15

    Pho Bo Soup

    Beef pho with rice, noodles, and basil
    Christopher Testani

    One of the most popular Vietnamese dishes, nourishing and delicious pho will cure what ails you. This version comes chock full of rich beef broth, flat rice noodles, and enough garnishes to outfit a salad bar. Serve the garnishes on a platter alongside the bowls of pho so everyone can dress their own bowls to taste, for a restaurant-style experience.