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Top 5 Unusual Must-try Food in Vietnam

Updated on October 22, 2015
LonelyVietnamese profile image

Kenneth works as a web and mobile application developer and is an expat living in Ho Chi Minh City.

Pho Bo Tai
Pho Bo Tai

When talking about local Vietnamese cuisine, one will usually think of the the rice noodle Pho, the thick vermicelli Bun, the broken rice Com Tam or the spring roll Goi Cuon. However, there are still many other unusual food that the locals enjoy. In this article, I will introduce to you the Top 5 must-try unusual food that the Vietnamese love! Bon appetite!

Sweet snail otherwise known as Oc Huong
Sweet snail otherwise known as Oc Huong

Oc Huong

When going for seafood with a local, the Oc Huong is a dish never to be missed. While uncommon to the rest of the world, Oc Huong (sweet snail) is a delicacy that all locals thoroughly enjoy.

Unlike some other shell food that leaves a fishy after taste, the Oc Huong is actually pretty tasty. They are also relatively cheap as compared to delicacies like oysters or scallops. There are many ways to cook Oc Huong, all of which turns out to be really very yummy - garlic sauce, chilli Oc Huong or in some thick sweet sauce. To eat Oc Huong, you will either be given a 2 pronged fork or a toothpick. Simply poke on the meat and pulled in a small twirling direction in accordance to the shell and the entire meat will be yours. Once chewed, the Oc Huong doesn't feels squishy or slimy like oysters, it actually feels like you're eating squid.

Rat meat
Rat meat

Roasted Paddy Mouse Meat

Roast paddy mouse meat (most people just refer to it as rat meat) is a dish that even the locals shun (especially those from cities like Saigon or Hanoi). Most of my friends who enjoy this dish ate them during trips back to the countryside. While it looks really repulsive, rat meat can be pretty tasty. The taste is unique unlike the normal chicken, pork or beef we eat everyday. Because the rats are small, you'll have to chew through lots of small little bones while eating. If you must know, the meat does not smell, and it's actually moist and tender.

Roasted dog meat
Roasted dog meat

Roasted Dog Meat

Roasted dog meat can be found commonly in Northern Vietnam and is generally frowned upon in the South. However, there are still quite a number of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City that serves this. They are just usually not along the main roads. Dog meat is usually consumed while drinking Vodka Hanoi (or any local made Vodka), which cost just 40,000 VND per bottle. The locals believe eating dog meat enhances the male libido. I know the dog lovers will probably hate it, but I think it is a try once-in-a-lifetime thing for adventurous tourist. Conclusion - it taste a little like pork but with a lot more tendon. I totally hated it.

Live coconut worms larvae
Live coconut worms larvae

Coconut Worms

Ok this one is disgusting. I have to admit no matter how hard I tried to convince myself to try it, I usually backed down right at the final moment. These coconut worms larvae at dipped into fish sauce and eaten live! Yes, alive! The thought of them wriggling in my tummy is enough to make me lose my appetite for a week. Nevertheless, I have some local friends who swear that it actually taste yummy! So why is it a must-try? Simply because you can make a video of it like the one below and freak them out!

Vietnamese Sea Urchins
Vietnamese Sea Urchins

Vietnamese Sea Urchin

Vietnamese Sea Urchins is a popular street food found especially near the seaside towns. They can be eaten grilled or raw. Many believe eating urchins is good for the kidney, increase calcium and of course improve men's health. I had a chance to try these during my Phu Quoc trip with a group of local friends. Raw urchins - it's slimy, it's ugly, and I'm never good at eating anything raw. Grilled urchins - consumed with lemon or spring onions is delicious. Especially when it prepared fresh from the sea.

© 2015 Kenneth


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    • LonelyVietnamese profile image

      Kenneth 2 years ago from Ho Chi Minh City

      Hi Will, they are delicious. They're chewy just like squid. You should try them the next time you visit any Vietnamese seafood restaurant.

    • Will Apse profile image

      Will Apse 2 years ago

      We have a couple of Vietnamese restaurants in town (in Thailand). They do not offer anything this adventurous. I am sort of grateful, lol.

      Interesting stuff, though.

      How chewy is the Oc Huong, by the way? It looks wonderful.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Wow Kenneth, these are really unique Vietnamese delicacies. I don't think I dare try any of them. Surprisingly, the paddy mouse meat looks like Quail!!