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What are the signature Vietnamese noodles from North to South?

Nguyen Phi Quan
Every food lover in the world must know about Pho in Vietnam. But what about these other types of noodles? In this blog, I will provide you with all the information you need about signature Vietnamese noodles from the North to the South.

1. Main types of Vietnamese noodles


Phở is the most well-known Vietnamese dish. Phở is made from rice like bún but these noodles are flat and rectangular. Phở Hanoi is the most popular one in Vietnam. Often eaten with hot soup, you can also try phở in stir-fried dishes and fresh rolls.

Fresh Phở made from rice.jpg


Bún is a versatile noodle used in various dishes. Bún is also made from rice, thin and round. Recently, Jay Park, a Korean artist, made his fan in Vietnam laugh till the tears rolled down when he mistaken Phở with Bún. Surprisingly, it’s a common mistake of foreigners when eating noodles in Vietnam.

Fresh Bún made from rice.jpg

Mì or wheat or egg noodles, are popular in stir-fries and soups, offering a delightful chewy texture. Mì can be diverse in texture and shape, based on the dishes in each region.

Egg noodles (Mì Trứng).jpg

2. Vietnamese noodles in the North

In the northern region of Vietnam, noodle dishes are celebrated for their simplicity and rich flavours.

Phở Gà và Bò (Chicken and beef noodle soups)

Phở takes the spotlight here, being a favourite dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Hanoi, with its savory beef or chicken broth, tender slices of beef or chicken, cilantro and chopped green onions. Typically, dried spices like cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamom, and coriander are used to flavour beef Phở.

You can also add lime, vinegar, fresh chilli or chilli sauce based on your preferences to increase the taste of this dish.

Pho Tu Lun (Hanoi).jpg

Bún Chả (Grilled pork patties and slice pork belly noodles)

Bún Chả is believed to have originated in Hanoi. It’s a delectable combination of grilled pork patties and sliced pork belly served with bún and watery fish sauces, commonly enjoyed with fresh herbs such as perilla leaves, lettuce, coriander and Vietnamese balm.

When eating bún chả, you can taste the smoke from the pork, making it very flavourful and savoury.

Bun cha in Hanoi.jpg

Bún Riêu, Bún Ốc (Crab paste noodles, snail noodles)

It’s a flavourful tomato broth with crab paste or snail with a combination of salty, sweet and sour taste. These dishes have various toppings which you can choose based on your taste such as beef, fried tofu, balut and Vietnamese sausages.

The fresh herbs that go with Bún Riêu and Bún Ốc are very diverse such as perilla leaves, lettuce, coriander, Vietnamese balm, bean sprout, banana blossoms and morning glory.

Bun rieu oc with full toppings in Hanoi.jpg

Bún Đậu Mắm Tôm (Fried tofu and fermented shrimp paste noodles)

There is a new Bún Đậu Mắm Tôm restaurant in New York City and it attracts lots of both Vietnamese and foreigners. At its core, Bún Đậu Mắm Tôm consists of three main components: Bun, fried tofu and fermented shrimp paste. The dish is typically accompanied by an array of cucumber and fresh herbs such as Vietnamese balm and perilla. Nowadays, it has many more toppings such as Chả Cốm (Fried Pork Paste with Young Green Sticky Rice), Dồi Rán (Fried Pork Sausage), Thịt Luộc (Poached Pork) and Nem Rán (Fried Spring Roll).

A typical Bun Dau Mam Tom restaurant with plastic tables and chairs.jpg

This harmonious combination of flavours and textures creates a delightful balance that is both savoury and refreshing.

3. Vietnamese noodles in the Central

The central region of Vietnam is known for its bold flavours and culinary diversity.

Mì Quảng (Quang noodles)

Originating from Quang Nam province, this vibrant dish showcases thick, flat yellow egg noodles topped with shrimp, pork, quail eggs, and a crunchy rice cracker. This noodle dish just has a small amount of broth. You can search for Mì Quảng in the alleyways in Da Nang and Hoi An.

Mi Quang in Da Nang.jpg

Cao Lầu

A specialty of Hoi An, Cao Lau features thick rice noodles served with tender roasted slices of pork, fresh herbs, and a unique sauce made from ash water. This dish is traditionally dipped in water rich in minerals from the local well, giving them an incomparable texture and flavour.

Cao Lau in Hoi An.jpg

Bún Bò Huế (Hue beef noodles)

A spicy and aromatic beef noodle soup originating from Hue, featuring big round rice noodles, beef and crab meatballs, pig’s trotter and tender beef shank or brisket. Bún Bò Huế has lots of toppings and can make you feel full for a long time.

Bun bo Hue.jpg

4. Vietnamese noodles in the South

The southern region of Vietnam is a melting pot of flavours, with a signature taste of sweet in their noodle soups.

Hủ Tiếu

When visiting the South of Vietnam, you can experience various types of Hủ Tiếu in different cities and provinces. A flavorful noodle soup made with thin rice noodles, egg noodles or tapioca chewy noodles. The most popular toppings for Hủ Tiếu are sautéed ground pork, sliced pork liver, pork intestines, poached shrimps, celery and chives, sautéed shallot and garlic. You can also eat Hủ Tiếu with beef meatball, chicken or other seafood.

Hu tieu in Ho Chi Minh City.jpg

Hủ Tiếu can be served with soup or dry with no broth. The broth is often made with pork bone, dried squid and dried shrimp.

Bún Mắm

Bun Mam is a seafood lover's dream, featuring fermented fish broth, rice vermicelli, an assortment of seafood delights and roasted pork belly. The scent of this dish may be quite smelly at first but its taste will make you can stop eating.

Many fresh herbs such as bitter knotgrass, banana blossom, water mimosa and morning glory are important ingredients of this dish.

Bun mam in Mekong Delta.jpg

Tasteatlas, a famous travel online guide for cuisine, just posted about 10 most popular Vietnamese noodle dishes. Many of these signature dishes are on this list and you really should try those dishes while in Vietnam.

From the north to the south, Vietnamese noodles offer an incredible journey of flavors, textures, and cultural diversity. Whether you're a noodle enthusiast or a curious food adventurer, these signature noodle dishes will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on your palate and your heart as you explore the rich tapestry of Vietnamese cuisine.


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