The sheer quantity and variety of Vietnamese noodles can be pretty overwhelming. Served in soups, as the base of salads or wrapped up in a fresh gỏi cuốn, noodles are a staple enjoyed all around the country. Following is the list of most common types of noodles found in Vietnam and some of the dishes they usually come with.
Two most common noodles in Vietnam – Bánh Phở and Bún
The two most common types of noodles eaten by the Vietnamese are bánh phở and bún, both made from rice flour and available either dried or fresh.
Bánh Phở (Flat Rice Noodles)
The flat rice noodles, exist in a variety of widths. The thinnest type is commonly used as the base of the country’s national dish, Phở.
Mì quảng noodles is another type of Bánh Phở noodles, made of rice and dyed with turmeric to appear yellow in colour.
Bún (Vermicelli Noodles)
Vermicelli style noodles: thin, round and super versatile made of various ingredients such as rice flour, eggs, wheat, tapioca flour or mung bean.
The thinner bún variety is used as one of the fillings in fresh spring rolls (gỏi cuốn). The thicker and lorger forms of bún is used in soups, such as the spicy and flavourful Bún Bò Huế.
Other popular noodles in Vietnam
Bánh Canh (Super Thick Noodles)
Very thick noodles made from a mixture of tapioca and rice flour. Super similar to Japanese udon noodles; big, soft and slightly chewy.
Bánh Canh is commonly used in Bánh Canh Cua, a rich, crab-based noodle soup or Banh Can Ca Loc, a fish-based noodle soup.
Mì (Egg Noodles)
Usually egg or wheat noodles, thin and yellow in appearance. They can be fried, stir-fried or used in soups, such as the Chinese wonton soup.
Miến (Glass Vermicelli Noodles)
Thin and slippery glass vermicelli noodles also known as “cellophane noodles”. Made from a starch, mung beans or cassava. Slightly chewy and little elastic in texture.
Two popular noodles soupsl served with Mien noodles are Miến Gà and Miến Lươn Xào.
Hủ Tiếu (Tapioca Noodles)
Clear and chewy thick (called hủ tiếu dai) or thin rice stick noodles made from tapioca*. Can be clear or white in colour.
*Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root through a process of washing and pulping. Not to be confused with cassava flour which is the whole root, simply peeled, dried and ground.
Bánh Đa (Red Rice Noodles)
Distinctively brownish (red) in colour, made of rice with addition of condensed red sugar and probably some other wizardry.