Modern Vietnamese cuisine is highly influenced by French cuisine. It’s the thing no Vietnamese could deny.

Even though the colonization era wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for us, the French left behind some amazing things in our architecture, cuisine, and language that we now treasure.

12 French - Vietnamese Food Delights

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris a few times, and each visit makes me a bit homesick. The vibes, the street corners, and especially the authentic Vietnamese food there bring back fond memories of the bustling streets of Saigon and Hanoi.

So, today, let’s talk about the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine. I’ve got a list of 12 French-Vietnamese foods that might surprise you. They’re absolutely worth trying if you ever find yourself in Vietnam.

A little bonus – if I’ve got a recipe for any of them, I’ll share it with you so you can prepare these delicious Vietnamese goodies at your home kitchen.


Phở is the national dish of Vietnam. It’s also featured in my blog’s branding (even though I’m a big fan of Bún Bò Huế and Bún Thịt Nướng, lol).

Up until now, there’s an ongoing debate in Vietnam about the roots of “Phở”. This dish found its way to Vietnam in the early 1900s during French colonization.

Some argue that it has its origins in the French dish Pot au feu , while others claim that Phở stems from the Cantonese noodle soup 牛肉粉 (ngưu nhục phấn) due to its use of oriental spices like cinnamon, star anise, black cardamom, and cloves.

A delicious bowl of Pho Bo, Vietnamese beef noodle soup with tender beef, rice noodles, and flavorful broth, garnished with thinly sliced onion and chopped scallions.
Hanoi Beef Phở

Regardless, my ancestors skillfully combined all these flavors to create the most heartwarming and fragrant noodle soup ever.

Hailing from Nam Định province, Phở made its journey to Hà Nội, the capital of Vietnam. Following the Geneva Accords in 1954, Phở traveled with a million of Vietnamese who fled from the North to the South.

After the Vietnam War, Phở accompanied thousands of Vietnamese refugees to Western countries, marking its extraordinary journey.

While Beef Phở (Phở Bò) stands as the original version, around 1939, Chicken Phở (Phở Gà) emerged due to the unavailability of beef on certain weekdays in the market.

a bowl of Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)
My Instant Pot Chicken Pho

These days, Phở in Vietnam has transformed into numerous creative variations such as:

The Phở widely embraced in Western countries these days is typically the Southern Phở. However, in some European cities (like Prague or Berlin) with the traces of the Soviet Union and a significant number of Vietnamese migrants from Northern Vietnam, you could come across the Northern Phở.

I find the Southern version to be more homely, yet the Northern version is heartier. Both are undeniably delicious in their own right.


While there may still be some debate about the origins of traditional Phở, Phở Bò Sốt Vang is unquestionably a Vietnamese-French fusion creation.

This unique dish finds its roots in the French culinary world, particularly in the classic Beef Bourguignon (French Red Wine Beef Stew).

A bowl of Pho Bo Sot Vang, Vietnamese beef stew infused with red wine and aromatic spices.
My easy Phở Bò Sốt Vang

This noodle soup is the specialty of Hanoi. Don’t mix it up with Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) in the South.

Bò Sốt Vang boasts the bold aroma of Pho spices and is luxuriously braised in rich red wine, and the soup can be enjoyed with rice noodles or bread. Surprisingly, making Phở Bò Sốt Vang is much easier than traditional Phở.

Phở Bò Sốt Vang is always on my list of must-try foods when visiting Hanoi.


The most iconic French-Vietnamese food calls out Bánh Mì Sandwich. Originating from a French short baguette with a thin, crisp crust and a soft, airy texture, it’s typically split lengthwise and generously filled with delectable ingredients.

Close-up photo of a delicious Banh Mi Pate sandwich. The sandwich features a crusty baguette filled with layers of savory pate, fresh vegetables, cilantro, and pickled carrots.
My Banh Mi Sandwich in Germany

Bánh Mì varies quite significantly from the North to the South. Personally, I’m a bit biased towards the Bánh Mì from the Southern and Central regions.

The typical Bánh Mì in Saigon is Bánh Mì Thịt Nguội, which is filled with Liver Pâté, Vietnamese Mayo, Chả Lụa (Vietnamese Pork Roll), and, of course, the must-have Đồ Chua (carrot & daikon pickles).

Sometimes, you could find additional fillings like Thịt Heo Quay (roasted pork belly) and Xíu Mại (meatballs in tomato sauce).

If you want to share this Bánh Mì love at a party, I recommend a Banh Mi charcuterie board, the deconstructed version of Bánh Mì. It’s perfect as finger food or an appetizer at any party.

Banh Mi Charcuterie Board on a table


There’s no way a Banh Mi shop in Vietnam could thrive without delectable liver pâté. The Vietnamese version draws inspiration from the French liver pâté but adapts the ingredients to suit Vietnamese flavors.

A captivating photo showcasing a Vietnamese pate, exuding a creamy texture and rich flavor. The pate is beautifully presented with garnishes, reflecting the authentic Vietnamese culinary tradition. Its smooth consistency and decadent appearance make it an enticing choice for any food enthusiast.
My Vietnamese Pâté

Vietnamese liver pâté can be crafted with pork or chicken livers, resulting in a deliciously buttery flavor, a velvety texture, and a subtle hint of 5-spice fragrance.

Beyond Banh Mi, liver pâté is also a must-have in many dishes like:

  • Xôi Mặn (savory sticky rice)
  • Bò Né (Vietnamese Steak & Eggs)
  • Bánh Hot Dog (Vietnamese hot dog cakes)
  • Bánh Pateso (Vietnamese Pâté Chaud)


Another essential ingredient for a delectable Banh Mi is the Vietnamese Mayo (or sốt bơ trứng, bơ bánh mì). It’s creamy and easy to make at home.

A close-up photo of homemade Vietnamese Mayo, a creamy and rich sauce used in Vietnamese cuisine. It has a smooth and velvety texture, perfect for enhancing the flavor of Banh Mi sandwiches and other Vietnamese dishes.
Vietnamese Mayo

Besides Banh Mi, it’s also an essential ingredient for Bánh Bông Lan Trứng Muối (Vietnamese Sponge Cake with Salted Egg).


Coffee is another French heritage in Vietnamese cuisine. During this time, due to the unavailability of fresh milk in the market, the French and Vietnamese began using sweetened condensed milk with dark roast coffee.

Coffee and chocolate always are at the top of my must-buy souvenirs in Vietnam.

A glass of Vietnamese coffee

Vietnamese coffee typically has a higher ratio of Robusta coffee than Arabica, resulting in a bolder and stronger flavor.

Traditionally, it’s prepared in a metal phin filter, but today, instant coffee is also popular in Vietnam. (Read more in my post about popular Vietnamese coffee brands, from mainstream favorites to local specialty coffee gems).

The most popular coffee drink in Vietnam is Vietnamese iced coffee (Cà phê sữa đá), in which brewed coffee is served with condensed milk and ice.

You could also discover many variations like:

There are even Cà Phê Sữa Tươi (Fresh Milk Coffee), Cà Phê Sữa Chua (Yogurt Coffee)… I’ve lost count now, lol.

A glass of Vietnamese Salted Cream Coffee (Cà Phê Muối)
Cà Phê Muối (Vietnamese Salt Coffee)


Bánh Flan (Vietnamese Flan) is another delicious souvenir that the French people brought to my country.

Traditionally, in Vietnam, the flan is made with whole eggs (yep, Viet moms never waste food) and condensed milk (nowadays, we also use both condensed milk and fresh milk). Sometimes, we replace milk with coconut milk.

Vietnamesse flan

We enjoy our flan with coffee. Whether it’s black coffee or coffee with condensed milk, both are mind-blowingly good.

Sometimes you might also catch Vietnamese people drizzling sweet coconut milk sauce (nước cốt dừa) all over their flan.


Bánh Pateso used to be my ultimate childhood snack in Vietnam. These Vietnamese meat pastries are a heavenly combo of buttery, flaky layers melding with the savory delight of pork filling.

“Pate sô” is the Vietnamese spin on “Pâté chaud,” translating to “hot pie” from the era of French colonial Vietnam. Surprisingly, whipping up Bánh pate so is a breeze, especially with store-bought puff pastry.

Delicious Vietnamese Bánh Pate Sô (pork pate chaud), golden-brown pastries filled with savory pork and encased in flaky puff pastry, ready to be enjoyed as a delightful snack or breakfast treat
My Vietnamese Pâté Chaud


Sữa Chua (meaning “Sour Milk” in Vietnamese) / Da Ua (the Vietnamese pronunciation of “yogurt”) is the Vietnamese take on French yogurt.

In the past, when fresh milk wasn’t popular, people often crafted yogurt from condensed milk. Nowadays, we use both fresh and condensed milk to make the yogurt.


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Vietnamese yogurt has a slightly sweet flavor. The benchmark for Vietnamese yogurt is that it shouldn’t spill out of the jar when you flip down the jar. We call them Sữa chua úp ngược aka Upside-down Yogurt. It means your yogurt has to be thick and creamy enough.

You can enjoy Vietnamese yogurt on its own or mix it with fruits or black rice sticky rice to make Sữa Chua Nếp Cẩm (yogurt with black sticky rice).

In Đà Lạt, where people can raise milk cows and enjoy high-quality fresh milk, there’s a specialty yogurt known as Sữa Chua Phô Mai (Cheese Yogurt).

Because Da Lat people use full-cream milk, this yogurt boasts a thick layer of butter-like yogurt on top, affectionately referred to as “cheese” by the locals.


Gà Roti is a delightful Vietnamese dish that you can easily find in South Vietnam, especially in the enchanting region of the Mekong River Delta (or Miền Tây).

A plate of Com Ga Roti, featuring perfectly cooked chicken thighs glazed in a savory sauce, served with steamed rice. A delicious Vietnamese culinary delight."
Gà Rô Ti

While the term “Rô ti” has its roots in the French phrase “poulet roti,” which means “roasted chicken,” the real secret behind this recipe is that Gà roti in Vietnam looks nothing like the traditional roasted chicken. Instead, the chicken is quickly fried to achieve a golden hue.

Then, it is simmered in coconut water until the liquid reduces, resulting in a beautiful sweet and savory glaze coating the chicken.


This sweet treat is actually a cool example of how we Vietnamese picked up a thing or two from French cuisine (I get it, waffles aren’t French, but we got the idea from the French).

Photo of Coconut Pandan Waffles (Banh Kep La Dua), a delectable pandan waffle recipe, displaying the golden-brown, crispy exterior and the tender, fluffy interior of the waffles, infused with the irresistible aroma and vibrant green color of pandan.
Bánh Kẹp Lá Dứa (Vietnamese Pandan Waffles)

So, instead of the usual milk and butter, we jazz things up with coconut milk and pandan flavor, giving it a super Southeast Asian twist. To improve the texture of these Pandan Coconut Waffles , besides regular flour, we use some rice flour and tapioca flour.


The last one isn’t a dish influenced by the French but a popular Vietnamese delight that has found its way to France. During my visit to Paris, I was pleasantly surprised by how much the French adore Vietnamese cuisine now.

Delicious Vietnamese Bun Bo Xao - A flavorful noodle salad dish with tender stir-fried beef, fresh herbs, and rice noodles, topped with peanuts and served with Vietnamese dipping sauce.
Bo Bun / Bún Bò Xào / Bún Bò Nam Bộ

I mean, you can stumble upon truly authentic Vietnamese dishes in Paris, easily buy Vietnamese spring rolls (nem rán) at French supermarkets, and discover that Bo Bun is a Vietnamese specialty earning a place in almost every Asian restaurant.

Bo Bun is a simplified take on Bún Bò Xào, featuring stir-fried beef and shredded salad. It still comes with Nước Chấm but omits Đồ Chua, and sadly, my favorite Mỡ Hành (scallion oil) is not there either.

So, here you have it – 12 delicious French-Vietnamese food delights that are definitely worth a try. Whether you’re planning a trip to Vietnam or cooking up these dishes in your kitchen, give them a shot.

You can discover a compilation of Vietnamese recipes on my blog and subscribe for new updates. Furthermore, explore Beyond the Pho to delve deeper into Vietnamese & Asian cuisine and culture.


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