Skip to Content

Thai Food Vs Vietnamese Food – Which One Is Better? The Most Delicious Recipes To Try

Thai Food Vs Vietnamese Food - Which One Is Better? The Most Delicious Recipes, How to Make Pho – An Authentic Pho (Recipe Guide)

We will write a full guide comparing one of the best cuisines in the world Thai food vs Vietnamese food and the most popular dishes to try.

Comparing Thai food and Vietnamese food to determine which one is “better” is quite subjective as both cuisines have their own unique flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques.

Both cuisines are renowned globally and offer a diverse range of dishes that cater to various palates. Here’s a closer look at each, highlighting their characteristics and best dishes to help you decide based on your personal taste preferences.

Read here best Thai food, best Thai Breakfast and Thailand travel tips

Read here best Vietnamese Breakfast40 Vietnam Travel Tips and Best Things to Do in Vietnam


Two of our favorite travel insurance: Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full comparison of Genki vs Safetywing Travel Insurance Review and the comparison Heymondo vs Genki and if you look for accommodation with Booking

Comparing Thai Food Vs Vietnamese Food

Thai Food

Thai cuisine is known for its bold, complex flavors, with a balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy elements.
Common ingredients include coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, and a variety of herbs like basil and cilantro.

Thai dishes are often quite spicy, with curries, soups, and salads incorporating generous amounts of chilies.

Thai Food Pros

Thai cuisine is known for its bold, complex flavors, characterized by a balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. This richness is achieved through ingredients like coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, and a variety of chilies.

From curries and soups like Tom Yum Goong to salads and noodles like Pad Thai, Thai food offers a wide range of dishes catering to different tastes and dietary preferences.

Many Thai dishes include a variety of herbs and spices with potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties and digestive aids.

Thai Food Cons

The extensive use of chilies and spices might be challenging for those with milder palate preferences or digestive issues related to spicy foods.

Some popular Thai dishes can be high in calories due to the use of coconut milk and sugar, particularly in curries and desserts.

Achieving the authentic balance of flavors in Thai cooking can sometimes be challenging for beginners, requiring precise combinations of ingredients.

Most Popular Dishes And Recipes

Pad Thai

Best Noodles Recipes, How to Make Pad Thai – An Authentic Pad Thai (Recipe Guide), Thai Food Vs Vietnamese Food - Which One Is Better? The Most Delicious Recipes

A stir-fried noodle dish with eggs, fish sauce, tamarind paste, red chili pepper, plus a combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or tofu.

Pad Thai cooks very quickly once you start, so it’s crucial to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go—sauce mixed, noodles soaked, and all components chopped and set aside.

Read here how to make Pad Thai

Pad Thai Ingredients

Rice Noodles: Typically flat and thin.
Protein: Common options include shrimp, chicken, or tofu.
Eggs: Lightly beaten and scrambled in the pan.
Aromatics: Garlic and shallots.
Vegetables: Bean sprouts and green onions.
Sauce: A mix of fish sauce, tamarind paste, sugar, and a little bit of lime juice.
Toppings: Crushed peanuts, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.

Tom Yum Goong

Tom Yum Kung Breakfast in Thailand 1

A hot and sour soup made with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves.

To preserve the vibrant, fresh flavor of the lime, add it to the soup just before you turn off the heat. This prevents the lime juice from becoming bitter and keeps its bright, tangy flavor prominent in the dish.

Read here how to make Tom Yum

Tom Yum Ingredients

Shrimp: Medium to large, peeled and deveined.
Lemongrass: Stalks smashed and cut into 2-inch pieces.
Galangal: Sliced into thin pieces.
Kaffir Lime Leaves: Torn into pieces, stems removed.
Thai Bird’s Eye Chilies: Smashed (adjust to taste).
Fish Sauce: For seasoning.
Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed, added just before serving.
Mushrooms: Straw mushrooms or any other fresh mushrooms, halved.
Tomato: Quartered, optional.
Coriander (Cilantro): Fresh, for garnish.
Chicken or seafood stock: As the soup base.
Sugar: Just a pinch to balance flavors.

Green Curry

Green Curry

Made with green curry paste, coconut milk, meat or tofu, eggplants, and basil leaves.

Start by frying the green curry paste in a little coconut cream (the thick part that rises to the top of the can) until it’s fragrant. This process, called “blooming”, helps to release the flavors of the herbs and spices in the paste, making your curry more flavorful.

Do this for a few minutes before adding the rest of your coconut milk and other ingredients. This step significantly enhances the depth and complexity of your curry.

Green Curry Ingredients

Green Curry Paste: Store-bought or homemade.
Coconut Milk: Full-fat for richer flavor.
Chicken: Sliced into bite-sized pieces. You can also use tofu, shrimp, or beef.
Thai Basil Leaves: For a fragrant addition.
Kaffir Lime Leaves: Torn or finely chopped to release their flavor.
Fish Sauce: For salting and adding depth.
Sugar: A small amount to balance the spice and salt.
Vegetables: Traditional options include Thai eggplants, bamboo shoots, and bell peppers, but feel free to use what’s available locally like zucchini, peas, or green beans.
Lime Juice: To finish and brighten the flavor.
Red Chilies: Sliced, for garnish and extra heat if desired.

Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese cuisine focuses on freshness and simplicity, with many dishes showcasing fresh herbs and vegetables.
It is generally not as spicy as Thai food. Flavors are more balanced towards fresh, sour, and lightly sweet, relying heavily on fish sauce, rice vinegar, and fresh herbs.
A distinctive feature of Vietnamese cuisine is the use of fresh herbs that are often served uncooked and used as accompaniments to main dishes.

Vietnamese Food Pros

Vietnamese cuisine focuses on freshness, with many dishes incorporating raw vegetables, fresh herbs, and light broths, making it generally lower in calories and healthier.

Compared to Thai food, Vietnamese dishes are often more subtle and less spicy, with a greater emphasis on lightness and balance, which can be appealing for those preferring a gentler taste.

Vietnamese food offers a deep insight into its culture, with traditional cooking techniques and regional ingredients that are less modified in international kitchens.

Vietnamese Food Cons

While growing in popularity, Vietnamese cuisine is not as globally recognized as Thai food, which might limit availability and variety in some parts of the world.

The subtle flavors of Vietnamese cuisine may be perceived as bland or underwhelming by those accustomed to richer, more robust flavors.

Many traditional Vietnamese dishes are meat-centric, which might pose limitations for vegetarians and vegans, though there are still many vegetable-based options available.

Most Popular Dishes And Recipes


Thai Food Vs Vietnamese Food - Which One Is Better? The Most Delicious Recipes, How to Make Pho – An Authentic Pho (Recipe Guide)

A noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat, typically made with either beef (Pho Bo) or chicken (Pho Ga).

To achieve a clear and flavorful broth, which is essential for a good Pho, simmer the bones and meat slowly over low heat for several hours. Skimming off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface during the first few hours of cooking helps prevent the broth from getting cloudy and ensures it remains clean and clear.

This attention during the early stages of making the broth pays off with a beautiful and delicious final product.

Read here how to make Pho

Pho Ingredients

Beef Bones: Large bones like knuckles or marrow for the broth.
Beef Brisket or other cuts for serving in the soup.
Onion and Ginger: Charred in the oven or over open flame for flavor.
Spices: Star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and black peppercorns.
Fish Sauce: For depth and saltiness.
Rice Noodles: Flat and thin, pre-soaked or cooked according to package instructions.
Herbs: Fresh basil, cilantro, and green onions.
Lime: Cut into wedges for serving.
Bean Sprouts: For crunch and freshness.
Chilies: Sliced thin for heat.
Hoisin and Sriracha Sauce: For adding additional flavor at the table.

Banh Mi

Thai Food Vs Vietnamese Food - Which One Is Better? The Most Delicious Recipes

A sandwich that includes a fusion of meats and vegetables from native Vietnamese cuisine such as chả lụa, coriander leaf, cucumber, and pickled carrots and daikon combined with condiments from French cuisine such as pâté along with jalapeño and mayonnaise.

The key to a perfect Banh Mi is balancing the five flavor elements: sweet (from the pickled vegetables), savory (from the protein and pâté), creamy (from the mayonnaise), crunchy (from the cucumbers and baguette), and spicy (from the chilies).

When assembling your Banh Mi, make sure each component is well-represented and adjust according to taste. This balance of flavors and textures is what makes Banh Mi uniquely delicious and satisfying.

Bahn Mi Ingredients

Baguette: Preferably a Vietnamese-style baguette which is lighter and airier than French baguettes.
Protein: Common options include seasoned pork, grilled chicken, pâté, or tofu for a vegetarian version.
Pickled Vegetables: Carrots and daikon radish, thinly sliced and pickled in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt.
Fresh Herbs: Typically cilantro.
Cucumber: Thinly sliced.
Mayonnaise: Often used as a spread inside the bread.
Soy Sauce or Maggi Seasoning: For additional seasoning.
Chilies: Freshly sliced for heat.
Optional Additional Toppings: Jalapeños, green onions, and a sprinkling of black pepper.

Goi Cuon

Goi Cuon

Fresh spring rolls packed with greens, coriander, minced pork, shrimp, and rice vermicelli.

To ensure the rice paper wrappers are pliable but not overly soggy or sticky, quickly dip them into warm (not hot) water just until they begin to soften, then remove and lay flat on a work surface.

They will continue to soften as you add the fillings. This method prevents the wrappers from tearing when rolled and ensures they maintain a pleasant texture in the finished rolls.

Goi Cuon Ingredients

Rice Paper Wrappers: Used to wrap all the ingredients together.
Protein: Commonly cooked shrimp, pork belly slices, or tofu for a vegetarian version.
Rice Vermicelli Noodles: Cooked and cooled.
Herbs: Fresh mint, basil, and cilantro.
Vegetables: Lettuce, bean sprouts, and thinly sliced cucumbers.
Additional Fillings: Sometimes include carrots or other fresh veggies.

Conclusion Thai Food Vs Vietnamese Which is better?

Choosing between Thai and Vietnamese food depends on personal taste preferences and what you’re looking for in a meal. If you enjoy bold, spicy flavors and a rich tapestry of tastes, Thai cuisine might be more to your liking.

On the other hand, if you prefer lighter, more balanced meals with plenty of fresh ingredients, Vietnamese food might be the better choice.

Both cuisines offer unique dishes that reflect their rich cultural heritages and can cater to a wide array of dietary needs.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on these links and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Please note that we only recommend products and services that we have personally used or believe will add value to our readers. Your support through these links helps us to continue creating informative and engaging content. Thank you for your support!