Top 10 Vietnamese food made from rice

Updated July, 2022

As a country of wet rice civilization, rice and food made from rice have become an important aspect of Vietnamese culinary. Vietnam has three regions – the north, the middle and the south with 54 ethnic groups using rice as their staple food. That has created plenty of delicious rice food according to the culture of each region and as a creative way to preserve the precious rice after rice harvest season Vietnam. Have you ever tried these tasty food made from rice? Let explore one by one below!

1. Familiar food made from rice:

1.1. Pho:

The very first rice food mentioned here is the world-famous “Pho” – the national spirit food of Vietnam. To have a scrumptious bowl of pho, the cooks must use good and fresh including banh pho (rice sticks), broth, meat (beef, chicken, etc.) and additional vegetables. Among these things, banh pho made from rice is an indispensable element contributing greatly to the taste of pho.

Pho - food made from rice
Pho – Spirit food of Vietnam cuisine – Photo from nongdanxanh

It is the variety of broths, meat used to make pho, we have various types of pho like chicken pho, beef pho, pho with trotter and beef, etc.

1.2. Bun – rice vermicelli:

Vermicelli is another food made from rice but has many different flavors and sizes of vermicelli sticks creating a variety in Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese people flexiblely use small vermicelli sticks for mixed dishes without broth, medium-sized vermicelli with broth while big vermicelli sticks usually for Hue beef noodle.

Hue beef vermicelli - food made from rice
Hue beef vermicelli – Photo from foody

If in the North, there are vermicelli with fried tofu served with shrimp sauce, vermicelli with duck, vermicelli with chicken soup, the southern Vietnam has bun mam, vermicelli with crab, etc.

1.3. Hủ tiếu – one of top food made from rice:

Being another variation of rice and very popular in the Southern Vietnam, Hu tieu is small and much tougher than vermicelli and pho.

Sa Dec hu tieu
Sa Dec hu tieu – Photo from foody

From the simple hu tieu, southern people have combined with different types of broth and spices to create unique dishes typical for each areas such as Sa Dec hu tieu, My Tho hu tieu.

2. Varied rice food made by ethnic people:

When visiting Vietnam, you should try rice (as popular as bread in every meal of Western people) at least once then keep on exploring various dishes from rice to see how diverse Vietnam culinary is.

2.1. Bamboo rice sticks (com lam):

Bamboo rice sticks also known as com lam is a familiar dish bearing special spiritual value for the upland people. This dish is typical for forest area and is cooked meticulously following Yin and Yang and the Five Elements. Rice contained in bamboo pipes with water taken from streams in the upland region, cooked by small fire on the ground. This rice food has the scent of rice, amora of baked bamboo tube and enjoyed with sesame or peanut salt.

If you join a Sapa tour from Hanoi, remember to spend time wandering around its food paradise Sapa food court, you’ll find a lot of tasty bamboo rice sticks there.

2.2. Com nị – one of top food made from rice:

This traditional dish of Cham people has yellow color of turmeric powder, the aroma of curry, the typical taste of perilla leaves and the sweet taste of shrimp squid. All the above brings an attractive flavor that anyone who has enjoyed even once can not forget.

Cơm nị with cà púa - food made from rice
Cơm nị with cà púa – Photo from tintucamthuc24h

Cham people often eat cơm nị with cà púa (made from beef, curry, onion, coconut milk in Cham’s style). Enjoying cà púa , you will feel the sweetness of coconut milk, the fatty flavor of peanuts, the sweetness of beef, pungency of chili mixed together.

2.3. Xôi ngũ sắc – Five-color sticky rice:

The Tay people in the Northwest of Vietnam grow a lot of glutinous rice, so sticky rice is their main dish. Therefore, they often cook five-color sticky rice – one of their most special dishes in festival time.

Five-color sticky rice
Five-color sticky rice – Photo from

This food made from rice is processed quite elaborately. Ethnic people use different plants namely co khảu cắm, co khảu đeng, hản mẩu, ginger and turmeric to make natural colors for the food then use forest leaves to wrap. All brings a sweet taste of rice, boosting the warm atmosphere when welcoming visitors from all over the world.

2.4. Cơm tấm – broken rice:

This is a unique and popular food in the Southern Vietnam. A good plate of cơm tấm contains dried and not sticky rice even when it is well cooked, grilled ribs, eggs, meat, rolls, etc.

Cơm tấm
Cơm tấm – Photo from Jamja

An inseparable part of cơm tấm is a bowl of fish sauce. This is fish sauce mixed with cold water in a certain portion and added with some chilli to create a fine flavour.

3. Some scrumptious cakes made from rice:

3.1. Plain rice flan (Bánh đúc):

This dish comes in different types such as plain rice flan with peanuts, with coconuts, with pandan leaves. Each type has different ways of processing and eating but all of them have very unique flavours and are very delicious.

3.2. Bánh xèo – coconut milk-flavored crepes:

Such a delicious and rustic dish that the taste would stay forever with anyone who enjoyed it once. The secret lies in the aromatic taste of the dough blending with the rich flavor of shrimp, meat, green beans, the freshness of bean sprouts served with raw vegetables.

Bánh xèo
Bánh xèo – Photo from

Pancakes in the North, Central and South of Vietnam have their own variations depending on the characteristics of the region. This is surely a must-try food made from rice if you have chance to travel to all three regions of Vietnam.

3.3. Bánh bèo – small steamed savory rice cakes:

Originating from the central region of Vietnam, it is such a rustic and attractive cake. Bánh bèo or small steamed savory rice cake often has two types with the most dominant ones in Quang Nam and Hue. When arriving in the southern Vietnam, the local people here have changed its flavor a bit to fit with their taste by adding more green beans or more sour flavor.

Bánh bèo
Bánh bèo – Photo from

How many of these food made from rice have you tried? Sampling Vietnam cuisine with these mouth watering rice food will help fulfill your Vietnam journey. You can find instant support about destination insights or tours via:

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Wish you have a great time travelling to Vietnam!

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