As we all know, New York city offers plenty of every possible international cuisine, from Italian food, French, Spanish, Israeli, Turkish, Thai, Indian delights, and so many more. Vietnamese food is gaining popularity in the last few years, and not just because of its delicious dishes, but due to its health benefits.
Vietnamese cuisine has a wide range of great foods that incorporate five basic elements of taste: wood (sour), fire (bitter), earth (sweet), metal (spicy) and water (salty). The most common ingredients include beans sauce, fresh herbs, fish sauce, shrimp paste, fruits, and vegetables.
Vietnamese dishes have a lot of French influence because of the French colonization of Vietnam back in the 19th century. The use of bird’s eye chili, long coriander, ginger mint, Vietnamese mint, lemongrass, Thai basil leaves, and lime is mainly thanks to the French occupation.
Gluten-free and low sugar food is eminent in many dishes because of Vietnamese use rice flour for making noodles, instead of wheat flour. Even their street food is considered to be one of the healthiest because of the balance between meat and fresh herb. For more info about some of those dishes, you can check this link for a good Vietnamese street food cookbook.
Here’s a shortlist of great Vietnamese places we love in NYC:
This great place down in Manhattan’s East Village is owned and managed by a husband-wife team, Yen Vo and Jimmy Ly. Madame Vo cook homestyle Vietnamese food, and you should definitely try their Chao duoi bo, which is the oxtail congee.
This cool and modern place in Queens (37-15 Broadway) has awesome wall art, a full bar, and delicious salmon in carmelized galangai fish sauce. We also love their homemade pate on a baguette.
This place on 83-25 Broadway, that goes out of the box. They created their own version of the classic banh mi sandwich, made with Korean bulgogi and Japanese pork belly. It’s a delight. You should also try the banh mi fries with pickled veggies, herbs and thrilling sauces.
Sai Gon Dep
If you love Chicken Pho, then this Vietnamese restaurant is your place to go. Located in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood, it has one of the best hot bowls of Chicken pho in town. They bring all their chickens daily from BoBo Chickens in upstate NY. You should also try their grilled Pork chop with pork ears. It may sound bad, but it’s delicious.
This place is located down in the Lower East Side (85 Orchard street), and offers a few exciting dishes like a vegetarian pho, a fried catfish or a delicious tofu and taro spring roll.
Located in Bushwick (93 Scott Avenue), Bunker probably offers exceptional food, including a unique papaya salad, a banh mi with red wattle bacon, and one of the best Vietnamese pancake, the banh xeo.
And here are some Vietnamese foods which you should try at least once when visiting a Vietnamese restaurant:
These are spring rolls with translucent texture, filled with minced pork, lamb or shrimp along with coriander and other vegetables. It is served as a peanut sauce dip at the top.
One of the best selling dishes in New York is Cao Lau. It comprises of thick rice-flour noodles, pork croutons in a light soup with star anise and mint. It is topped with thin slices of pork, grilled rice-flour crackers.
Known as the Vietnamese pancake, it’s filled with bean sprouts egg, shrimp, pork, and more. This dish is quite filling and easy to make.
Banh mi is a baguette sandwich filled with beef or pork and vegetables of your choice. It tastes wonderful and is very healthy compared to a wrap or burger.
Fuh or Pho
It’s pronounced “fuh” and is considered a national dish in Vietnam. It’s a noodle soup consumed mostly for breakfast and even during lunch or dinner. A standard bowl includes broth of chicken or beef with the leaves of coriander and a few pieces of ginger for flavor.
This is also one of the favorite dishs in the streets of New York. It’s nothing but broken rice served with barbecued pork or beef with a fried egg.
A true Vietnamese food list is incomplete without seafood dishes. Cha Ca is spring onions and dill tossed with butter and poured over fish. It is eaten with peanuts as toppings.
Bun Cha is a special food in Hanoi. Barbecued pork in an open charcoal brazier, served on a cold bed of rice noodles, assorted foliage and a bowl of broth.
Mi Quang is a simple and affordable dish made with meat, noodles, flavored oil, shrimps, peanuts, quail eggs, and mint.
Nom Hua Chuoi is for Vegetarians
If you are a vegetarian then this dish is for you. Most food in Vietnam has pork, lamb, beef, chicken or duck meat. Shrimp paste is a common ingredient in every dish. Nom Hua is a salad made with banana flower which is totally free of meat. Shredded banana leaves and vegetables are sprinkled with chili, a dash of lime and salt to bring a unique flavor to the dish.