I love Vietnamese food, and it’s not hard to find Vietnamese restaurants in London. But the food at some of them is bland, or the service is slow, or they don’t have certain dishes I want to eat, or all of the above! So in order to spare you from those mediocre meals that can bring your evening down, here are my picks for the best Vietnamese food in London.
If you’re looking for a great-tasting, healthy and affordable meal, look no further than Pho. The traditional soup is one of Vietnam’s most famous dishes and can be found in London at many different restaurants.
Whether you like yours with beef or chicken, Pho has something to offer everyone. While vegetarian and vegan options aren’t available everywhere, it isn’t hard to find a good bowl of pho in any part of London.
There are even some places that serve up great noodles and vermicelli dishes along with other mouth-watering Vietnamese food in London, such as spring rolls, rice plates, and many other types of soups.
For a true Banh Mi experience, you’ll want to head over to Chinatown. Pick one of these two spots for arguably some of London’s best and most authentic banh mi: Nam Long or Minh Chau. Both are incredible for their signature fillings,
including char siu (Chinese roast pork), freshly baked baguettes, and spring rolls with prawn and sliced chicken. At either place, your total cost should be about £3.50—about what you’d pay for an oversized sandwich at Pret-A-Manger! Why not opt for a fresh prawn roll at Minh Chau?
Nem Nuong Cuon
Nem Nuong Cuon is actually quite easy to make at home, and it’s absolutely delicious. Combine lean slices of pork with a few handfuls of finely chopped mint, basil, lemongrass, and coriander (cilantro).
Leave to marinate for a few hours. Wrap each layer of meat around steamed rice paper and then roll them tightly into cylinders.
Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup)
The wonderful thing about pho ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup) is that it’s quick and easy to make and you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to pull it off.
Chicken, cilantro, rice noodles, and a light Asian fish sauce make up most of its ingredients. If you have time on your hands to spare, add a boiled egg to your bowl of pho ga as well!
If you’re looking for a cheap but filling lunch, com tam is your go-to. An on-the-go favorite of locals and tourists alike, com tam translates to broken rice and refers to an assemblage of toppings served over a bed of fragrant jasmine rice.
The dish originated with street vendors, who sold their wares by banging metal pots and singing out com tam! to let passersby know they were open for business.
Cha Ca La Vong
This place is famous for its signature dish, a grilled fish seasoned with turmeric, dill, and mint. The white fish is grilled over charcoal and served with rice noodles mixed with sweet chilis and fresh herbs, making it one of Vietnam’s most delicious culinary exports.
Cha Ca La Vong, a Hanoi classic that recently opened a location on Kingsland Road in London’s trendy Dalston neighborhood. Although there are many other fantastic places to eat at.
If you’re looking for something a little different while visiting Cha Ca La Vong or if you just can’t wait to get back home to try their version of Cha Ca La Vong (if it’s available where you live). I would definitely recommend going here before leaving England!
Cha Gio (Fried Egg Rolls)
One of my favorite appetizers at any Vietnamese restaurant is cha gio, which literally translates to fried rolls. These rolls are a bit different than what you might be used to.
For one thing, they aren’t stuffed with meat like their Chinese egg roll cousins; instead, cha gio are filled with finely minced shrimp and pork. They’re also fried rather than steamed or boiled.
Bo Kho (Beef Stew)
For a twist on traditional pho, try bo Kho, a hearty beef stew with vegetables and thick rice noodles. The flavorful broth is a result of simmering beef bones (or oxtail) for hours.
Along with that melt-in-your-mouth brisket, you get chunks of soft carrots and jicama, plus herbs like cilantro and Thai basil. Another ingredient that gives bo kho its distinctive flavor? Fish sauce—which you’ll also find in traditional pho.
But if you’re put off by fish sauce, don’t be: It adds an umami taste to everything it touches and isn’t nearly as potent as you might think.
Cha ca, or Vietnamese fried fish is one of many dishes that give Vietnam’s capital city its reputation as one of Southeast Asia’s great food capitals.
Cha ca is served at nearly every Hanoi restaurant—after all, it’s not just tasty; it also appeals to vegetarians because it can be made using either fish or tofu. Though cha ca sound like a simple dish, there are actually many different variations.
You might find yourself ordering cha ca tay (fried with rice noodles), cha ca la Vong (doused with salty black soy sauce), or even cha cá chép xào hẹp – which replaces salmon steaks with shrimp and uses a thickened soy-and-fish-sauce broth.