Vietnamese Food Calories

Vietnamese cuisine, either home-cooked or served at a restaurant, is generally light, fresh, and healthy with lots herbs, fresh ingredients and vegetables. But like many foods you can easily be deceived into a calorie trap if you don't know the ingredients that are high in fat and calorie dense, so it pays to do your homework. In this article I provide lists of foods to choose and those to avoid and a detailed calorie chart for popular Vietnamese meals.

Benefits of Vietnamese Food

Very small amounts of oil is used in Vietnamese cooking. Most of the flavors are derived from fresh vegetables and herbs and the sauces are generally light and tangy rather than heavy and creamy and full of carbohydrates and fat. Noodles and rice are the foundation for most meals and while these are processed food, this is offset by the nutritional benefits of other ingredients. Soups, fresh wraps, and the many fish and seafood dishes are healthy choices. The meat and chicken are generally stir-fried which helps to retain their nutritional value while minimizing fat and calories.

There is a huge variety of foods available. Use the calorie charts to make healthy choices
There is a huge variety of foods available. Use the calorie charts to make healthy choices | Source
Many of the delightful vegetable dishes have low calories
Many of the delightful vegetable dishes have low calories | Source
Choosing a range of dished with you guests, some with high and low calories can keep your net calorie intake low, while you can enjoy the variety of foods available.
Choosing a range of dished with you guests, some with high and low calories can keep your net calorie intake low, while you can enjoy the variety of foods available. | Source
Many of the Classic Vietnamese soups have low calories and are rich in vegetables, with little fat
Many of the Classic Vietnamese soups have low calories and are rich in vegetables, with little fat | Source
Deep fried rolls have more calories than steamed or 'fresh' rolls
Deep fried rolls have more calories than steamed or 'fresh' rolls | Source
Choose wisely as the calorie and fat content of many foods varies widely.
Choose wisely as the calorie and fat content of many foods varies widely. | Source

The traditional Vietnamese ingredients are healthy, with lots of variety. These ingredients include: Lime, Anise, Palm Sugar, various in-season Asian vegetables, nuts, bean shoots, Lemon, Spring Onions, Shallots, Rice Paper, Rice, Radish, Noodles, Mint, Lettuce, Lemon grass, Leafy Vegetables, Ginger, Garlic, Fish sauce, Coriander, Chives, Chili, Carrot, Bean sprout and Basil.

All of these ingredients contain vitamins, minerals and are healthy choices.

Noodles

The Vietnamese traditionally eat noodle dishes at any time of day and noodles are a staple meal. The traditional noodles are made from rice, wheat or mung beans, and include a variety of shapes and sizes.

The tradition soups referred to as 'Pho' are very popular and are a good low-calorie choice. These soups contain rice noodles, various vegetables like bean sprouts, onions and tomatoes and either chicken or beef stock. While most of the noodles are prepared from processed flours and white rice the other ingredients are whole foods.

Rice

Boiled rice is popular staple that is served as an accompaniment to lunch and dinner dishes. Rice is also an ingredient for noodles and rice paper. While unprocessed brown rice and wild rice would be a better whole food alternative the rice used contains some vitamins and minerals, which are boosted by the goodness in the other ingredients.

Salads

Vietnamese salads are generally very healthy and are a good healthy choice. The include healthy vegetables, nuts and fruits and are often seasoned with various spices and vinegar rather than oil-based dressings. Many salads include papaya, turnips, cabbage and nuts such as peanuts and are a very healthy choice.

Fish Dishes

Vietnamese foods specialise in a lovely variety of fish and seafood dishes that are a specialty. You can also find squid, fish, crab, shrimp, mussels added to many dishes such as noodle, soups, rice dishes, curries and many lovely rice paper wraps. Fish and seafood is often steamed simmered and sauteed and lightly fried without batters or coatings which helps keep the fat content low.

Making Healthy Choices


Like many home and restaurant meals you need to watch your portion sizes and make healthy choices for low fat and low calorie meals.

A summary is provided below:

Foods and Ingredients to Avoid

  • Caramel sauce (nuoc duong thang) - laden with sugar and calories
  • Choose dishes wrapped in lettuce or rice crepes, rather than those wrapped in wheat pancakes.
  • Crispy noodles.
  • Deep-fried spring rolls
  • Dishes containing peanuts (or request that they to be omitted from the dish)
  • Fried dishes
  • Satays (grilled meat and chicken on a stick) with dipping sauces (the coconut milk and peanut are laden with fat and calories.
  • Sauces made with peanut butter and coconut milk, especially satay dipping sauce)
  • Spareribs
  • Xao gung (shrimp, pork or chicken with honey sauce)


Good Healthy Choices

  • A single serve of ga xe phay (diced chicken with mint leaves) only contains 100 calories
  • Bo xa lui nuong (grilled beef with lemongrass and vegetables)
  • Bowls of Pho soup only contain about 650 calories even for a large main meal serving.
  • Ca hap or Ca kho to (steamed fish dishes)
  • Canh chua soup
  • Canh chua tom (spicy & sour shrimp soup)
  • Fish and shellfish that are simmered, braised, grilled or stewed
  • Goi cuon (fresh spring rolls) as substitutes for fried spring rolls Cha gio
  • Grilled vegetables on skewers rather than barbecued spareribs
  • Hoisin sauce and fish sauce dipping mixtures
  • La sa or laa pho soup
  • Lean roasted meat
  • Lychee (a fabulous tropical fruit)
  • Rau muong xao toi
  • Salads rolls or summer rolls
  • Shrimp with fish sauce contains only about 178 calories
  • Soups that contain lots of vegetables
  • Steamed or simmered dishes
  • Vietnamese bouillabaisse

Calorie Chart for Vietnamese Foods (100 g serving)

Food
Serving
Calories
Banh Cuon (Steam Rice Sheet w. Pork)
1 roll
107
Banh Mi Thit - Vietnamese Pork Sandwich
1 sandwich
300
Banh Xeo (Crepe)
1 Crepe (423gms)
658
Bo Nuong (beef satay)
2 sticks
265
Bo Xao Dau Phong (ginger beef w. onion, fish sauce)
1 whole dish
750
Bun Bo Hue (Hot & Spicy Soup w. Pork Feet)
1 1/2 cup
850
Bun Bo Hue (Hot & Spicy Soup, no Pork Feet)
1 1/2 cup
350
Bun Ga Nuong (Grilled Chicken and Vermicelli Salad)
1 bowl
417
Bun Thit Nuong- Grilled Pork
340 g,
359
Bun With Tofu
1 bowl
823
Ca Chien Gung (whole snapper w. ginger)
1 whole dish
600
Canh Chay (vegetable & tofu soup)
1 whole dish
80
Cari (Curry) Chicken with Rice Noodle
2 cups
675
Cari (Curry) Chicken with Steamed Rice
2 cups
660
Cari (Curry) Chicken, no rice or noodles
2 cups
560
Chicken With Chili and Lemongrass
1 serve 319 g
589
Chicken With Chili and Lemongrass
1 serve (319 g)
589
Cuu Xao Lan (curried lamb, vegetables in coconut milk)
1 whole dish
900
Deep Fried Spring Roll
1 roll
200
Fish Spring Rolls (Vietnamese)
4 rolls
350
Fried Egg Roll
1 roll
162
Ga Chien (crispy chicken, plum sauce)
1 whole dish
900
Ga Nuong (chicken satay, sauce)
1 whole dish
240
Ga Xao Rau (marinated chicken braised w. vegetables)
1 whole dish
800
Gio Lua (Lean Pork Pie)
2 slices
260
Goi Cuon (Cold Spring Rolls)
1 roll
60
Goi Du Du (Green Papaya Salad)
1 cup
300
Homemade Noodle Soup
1 Bowl
367
Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)
1 1/2 cup
425
Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup)
1 1/2 cup
475
Pho Tai (Rare Beef & Noodle Soup w. garnish)
1 1/2 cup
449
Pho Tai (Rare Beef & Noodle Soup)
1 1/2 cup
404
Pho, Chicken
1 bowl
390
Rau Cai Xao Chay (stir fried vegetables, soy sauce)
1 whole dish
400
Rice Vermicelli Noodles
1 cup cooked
192
Rice Vermicelli With Pork
2 cups
340
Seafood - Rice Noodle Soup
2 cups
758
Seafood Rice Noodle Stir Fry
1 cup
260
Thit Bo Vien (Beef Balls)
6 balls
225
Thit Heo Goi Baup Cai (spicy cabbage rolls w. pork)
1 roll
200
Vegetarian Pho (Medium)
1 medium bowl
400
Vietnamese BBQ Pork With Rice
1 dish
340
Vietnamese Chicken Salad
373 g Box
368
Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls
1 roll
160
Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls
1 roll
160
Vietnamese Cold Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon)
1 roll
120
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
1 Roll
82
Vietnamese Grilled Beef W/Vermicelli
1 bowl
359
Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Vermicelli Noodles
1 bowl
368
Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Vermicelli Noodles
1 bowl
270
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
1 glass
129
Vietnamese Noodle Soup - Chicken
1 bowl
475
Vietnamese Noodle Soup - Chicken (Restaurant)
1 bowl
475
Vietnamese Pho With Shrimp
5 1/2 cup
475
Vietnamese Rice Paper Roll With Shrimp
2 rolls
210
Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls
4 rolls
390
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
2 rolls
130
Vietnamese Style Chicken Wrap (With Sauce)
1 wrap with sauce
440
Vietnamese Summer Roll
2 rolls + sauce
130
Vietnamese Tofu Pho
4 cups
290
 
 
 

© 2011 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 6 comments

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa

Great hub! It made me hungry for Vietnamese food. There are so many healthy options that taste great; you don't miss the calories.


purewater26 profile image

purewater26 5 years ago

What is the name of the noodle on the picture? It seems so delicious.


Hawk Fitness profile image

Hawk Fitness 5 years ago from Franklin,Tennessee

Great read and a very vibrant picture...now I'm hungry.


Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

I found this so helpful in terms of which dishes are good for you in the nutrition department. You worked hard on the research and writing of this Hub. Amazing! Voted up, useful, interesting, bookmarked, and AWESOME.


Jilltravel profile image

Jilltravel 4 years ago from Indiana

This is such an interesting and informative hub. My husband and I were just saying the other day that we should try some Vietnamese food. This article will definitely help us make some healthier choices! I'm new to HubPages and was drawn to this website because of the food articles. Thanks for sharing this one! :)


Larry 4 years ago

Terms like slices, rolls, bowls etc have no meaning when it comes to calorie content because there is no standard weight in grams or ounces for a "bowl" of soup, or a slice of Gio. So where do we find some meaningful data?

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