The weirdest things you can eat in Vietnam

Vietnam offers a unique combination of dishes, with a wide variety between North and South. Almost all dishes are freshly made and are flavorsome beyond compare. There are, however, some strange dishes in there that aren’t for the faint of hearted. We have created a list of uniquely weird dishes you can eat right here in Vietnam.

Blood Soup – Tiết canh

A dish that can be found everywhere in Vietnam is blood soup, made from the blood of pig or duck. The blood is combined with fish sauce and salt water to make the blood thicken (coagulate). Then small pieces of meat are added, and the dish is served with herbs and greens. 

Though the dish is normally made with either pig or duck blood, other combinations can be found. Goose, goat, snake, crab and even lobster blood can be used to make this dish.  

The dish taste quite smooth, the blood when thickened, has a silky texture. The flavor is quite similar to liver.

Duck embryo – Balut

A popular dish in all parts of Vietnam is duck embryo, which has become infamous worldwide through tv-shows such as Fear Factor. The dish is made slightly different throughout the country, but the basis is the same. A fertilized duck egg is boiled and then peeled. The dish is served with a variety of sauces and some mint leaves. 

The flavor of balut is unique and resembles a combination of scrambled eggs, a fishy taste and a crunchy aftertaste of the embryo. Different ways of cooking have an effect on the flavor and texture of the balut.

Coconut beetle larvae – Đuông

Popular in the south of Vietnam are the thick larvae of the coconut beetle. The larvae are normally eaten raw, though cooked, grilled, boiled and dried versions can be found. Served in fish sauce, this dish is served by street food vendors and high-end restaurants alike. 

The taste of these larvae is quite subtle and sweet. This comes from the food the larva eats, which is the coconut tree.

Fermented shrimp paste – Mắm tôm

This sauce is an integral part of many dishes in Vietnam, ranging from Bun (noodle) dishes to being served with tofu or different kinds of meat. The paste is made from shrimp and salt and set to ferment. Both flavor and smell are very memorable and not for the faint of hearted.

Dog meat - thịt chó

The final item on our list is one that will spark some controversy, however, especially in the North of Vietnam dishes with dog meat can still be found. Many tourists speculate that they are served dog meat at some point in one of the street food stalls they eat; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Dog meat is quite expensive and is only served in specialized restaurants at certain moments during the month.

Thit cho is often served with mam tom and has a beef like flavor. For those that aren’t bothered with the controversy of eating dog, the meat is quite flavorsome.


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