Vietnamese Street Food
By Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl


In Vietnam, it would be possible to have a varied, balanced, delicious and inexpen-sive diet by living entirely off street food. I spent six days in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this year and observed that at specific times of the day vendors would set up temporary stalls selling dishes such as chicken or beef pho; banh mi (light, airy baguettes) filled with various types of meat and pickled vegetables; fresh fruit juices; roasted duck soup noodles; rice vermicelli with barbecued pork; chicken rice; and sweet potato and shrimp fritters. And not all the street food was sold by itinerant merchants: some of the places we visited had set up low tables and stools (think child-size) outside small shacks, where they cooked on charcoal grills or over basic propane-fuelled stoves.

Looking through Vietnamese Street Food makes me realise how much I missed, because the selection is even more varied than I'd thought. Written by chef Tracey Lister and her husband, Andreas Pohl, long-term residents of Vietnam, the book shows there's much more to Vietnamese food than the spring rolls and pho that every food lover is familiar with. There are recipes for chargrilled dried squid; caramel fish with galangal; clay-pot pork with quail eggs and daikon; duck rice porridge; Vietnamese head cheese; bitter gourd stuffed with tofu; five-spice eel with rice crackers; and lotus root salad.