What to know about vermicelli – “the start” of many renowned Vietnamese dishes?

Coming to Vietnam, you might have heard or tried “pho”, “bun cha”, “bun bo”, however, do you know what do they have in common? They all originated from a very basic ingredient - Vermicelli. Let’s find out why this basic food can have such strong power that can create many delicious dishes in Vietnam. 

When and where did it originate?

South Korean television firm, KBS has been wandering across three continents for two years to find the ancestor of vermicelli or noodles and the way to spread the first fast food of mankind.

The 6-part Noodle Road documentary, 349 minutes long, shot in 8 countries, produced by KBS, is an elaborate and artistic research project that goes into every corner. 2,500-year-old niche of foodstuff made with dough with thousands of variations in appearance and flavor around the world.

History proves vermicelli first appeared in China. In 1991, construction workers discovered in an old clay bowl that a finger-length filament was found. Big, shaggy hands! Those are the first vermicelli of mankind, which were made with wheat flour.

The specialty of Vietnamese vermicelli

For generations, rice has been the main ingredient of many delicious food of Vietnamese cuisine. And vermicelli made from rice with lots of variations from the North to Southern Vietnam has made Vietnamese rice be on the world cuisine map.

The vermicelli has been passing down to generations and generations, it still retains the flavor of a thousand years ago and contains the historical process in it.

The process to create the perfect vermicelli threads

  • First, you mix the dough, flour, salt, water well, then let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • Knead the dough evenly for about 15 minutes, then divide the dough into small pieces to make it easier to mold.
  • Put a large pot of water on the stove, heat until the water boils, then slowly press the dough in the mold into a fiber. After that, you put it into the pot of water, simmer until the noodles are cooked. Here is a small note, we are not suggested to stir while the water is boiling because the noodles are easily broken.
  • Prepare a basin of cold water, when the noodles are taken out, drop them in for the noodles to be tough, clean and not crushed.
  • Then take out the noodles, let drain. There will be no preservatives so you should use it throughout the day.

Famous variations of vermicelli in Vietnam

1. “Pho”

In the views of international visitors, pho is the most famous dish, when coming to Vietnam, it is impossible not to eat pho at least once. A lot of people recognize that this is an extremely delicate dish because of the rich broth, delicious vermicelli. Although pho is a specialty of Hanoi, it is now available throughout Vietnam.

2. “Bun bo Hue” (Beef vermicelli soup in Hue)

 “Bun bo Hue” is famous for its large fiber, bringing a special "fullness" feeling. The main ingredients in vermicelli include beef, pork sausages, later added with crab rolls, shrimp paste. What make us crave for it are the pungent aroma of chili, the complex aroma from lemongrass and a little strong sauce.

This Hue original dish is the best when cooked by the people of Hue, because at that time visitors can feel the richness of the marinated beef, the spicy and delicious broth. When eating beef noodle soup, banana flower, bean sprouts and a few pieces of red chili should not be omitted.

3. “Bun rieu cua” (Grab paste vermicelli soup)

The main ingredients of this dish are rice noodles and crab soup. Crab noodles are sour soup made from crab-roe, tomatoes, lard, chew, fish sauce, salt, onion.

Vermicelli has a characteristic crimson color using tomato paste and crab meat. Crab meat is the “star” of this dish, but depending on the area crab meat can be replaced with snails.

4. “Bun dau mam tom” (Vermicelli with fried tofu and shrimp paste)

Vermicelli threads used in this dish are usually squeezed vermicelli, cut into chunks or short pieces. It is served with fragrant crispy fried beans, along with boiled meat and leaves such as perilla, marjoram, basil and is dotted with a little passionate shrimp sauce

Anyone who is not used to it may be a little "scared", but just try it. It's surprisingly addictive that you might have it for the second time or more;

5. “Bun cha” – (Vermicelli with grilled pork)

 “Bun cha” is a little like “pho”, a specialty of Hanoi's capital. This dish is often chosen to enjoy at noon. The ingredients of bun cha are usually left alone and then dipped in sweet and sour fish sauce.

This dish has become more and more popular since President Obama visited Vietnam and choose this dish to try in many Vietnamese traditional dishes.

Vermicelli making was a meticulous job and required a very hard process. But as long as you nail it, it can be much easier to create many other delicious vermicelli dishes in Vietnam


If you are looing for a place to satisfy your curiosity about Northern Vietnamese cuisine, then Lang Lieu is exactly where you should head to!

Named after the progenitor of Vietnamese cuisine, we dedicate ourselves to providing a special journey back time so that every guest can fully sense Vietnamese culture-rich history through the food we serve. Our menu presents signature traditional dishes in Northern Vietnam, from the Old Quarter of Hanoi to the mountainous North-West and North-East. Also, located right in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, Lang Lieu has such a tranquil vibe that you will immediately find peace the moment you step past the door. 

Book a table and start your culinary journey with us!