Have little fear, the menus of a deli/bakery, pho shop, or full-fledged restaurant, are set up similarly. There is a loose standard but up to this point, that standard has been left for just Vietnamese people to understand. This page, along with the pages of common Vietnamese restaurant dishes and cooking methods and ingredients, have bilingual content.
I put this together with Pho411.com to bridge any communication gap between Vietnamese food lovers and Vietnamese restaurant owners and chefs.
Sections of a Vietnamese Restaurant Menu: The dishes at a Vietnamese restaurant, deli or bakery are typically organized in food groups that include:
- Appetizers - Khai Vị
- Savory Cakes, Crepe, Dumpling, Roll - Bánh
- Soup - Canh, Súp, Cháo
- Salad - Gỏi
- Chinese Style Egg Noodles - Mì
- Vermicelli (or Rice Noodles) - Bún
- Entree / Main Dish - Món Ăn Chính
- Meat (pork, beef, chicken, etc.) - Thịt
- Grilled Meatballs - Nem Nướng
- Cured Sausages - Nem chua
- Rice, Rice Plates - Cơm
- Side Dish - Món Phụ
- Vegetables and Herbs - Rau
- Sweet Dessert Soup/Pudding/Iced Sweet Drinks – Chè
- Beverages - Giải Khác
- Desserts - Tráng Miệng / Bánh Ngọt
Now that you've got this under your belt, move on to these two pages:
- Common Vietnamese Restaurant Dishes: English - Vietnamese names of common foods you'd find on a menu. Restaurants, delis, bakeries and pho shops offer mostly the same things. Use this as a guide.
- Cooking Methods, Seasonings, and Ingredients: If you don't recognize a dish, this page will help you translate the menu descriptions. How is something cooked? What kinds of seasonings or dipping sauce is served with it? What are the featured vegetables and fruits? From there you can imagine the flavors. Or, ask informed questions!