Like most Asian food, Vietnamese cuisine is known for its use of fresh ingredients and its reliance on herbs and vegetables. But what sets it apart from the rest is its use of fish sauce or nuoc mam to create complementary flavors.
But fish sauce isn’t a popular condiment in local American grocery stores. That’s why anyone trying to recreate the flavors of an authentic Vietnamese dish may find themselves stymied over where to source the cuisine’s essential ingredients.
Fortunately though, there are now lots of Vietnamese cookbooks that make it convenient and easy for a home cook to prepare classic dishes. The best ones often substitute Vietnamese ingredients with familiar American ones and modify the recipes to incorporate modern cooking techniques.
There are also cookbooks that help you set up your own Vietnamese kitchen, complete with pantry staples and essential kitchen equipment. This has made the exploration of the cuisine more fun because now, any home cook with basic skills can make an authentic dish that’s not limited to a version of Pho or Bhan Mi.
Vietnamese food is diverse and it draws a lot from other cultures, like the French. Some of the best cookbooks highlight this interesting element by featuring the culinary and personal histories of your favorite dish.
Whether you’re looking for a good read, a practical cookbook, or just some culinary inspiration, these books are guaranteed to delight, inform, and satisfy your need for great authentic Vietnamese recipes.
Here are my top 10 best Vietnamese cookbooks.
Best Vietnamese Cookbooks
- Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors Hardcover
- Eat Real Vietnamese Food: A Step by Step Guide to the Classic Cuisine of Vietnam Hardcover
- Hometown Flavors: Vietnamese Recipes with Vibrant Origins Paperback
- My Vietnamese Kitchen: Recipes and stories to bring Vietnamese food to life on your plate Hardcover
- Vegetarian Viet Nam Hardcover – Illustrated
- Banh Mi: 75 Banh Mi Recipes for Authentic and Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches Hardcover
- The Little Viet Kitchen: Over 100 authentic and delicious Vietnamese recipes Hardcover
- Simply Pho: A Complete Course in Preparing Authentic Vietnamese Meals at Home Hardcover
- Little Vietnam: From Lemongrass Chicken to Rice Paper Rolls, 80 Exciting Vietnamese Dishes to Prepare at Home Hardcover
- Vietnamese Instant Pot Cookbook: Popular Vietnamese recipes for Pressure Cooker Paperback
1. Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors [A Cookbook] Hardcover
This cookbook features recipes that don’t require specialty ingredients and yet are still bursting with Vietnamese flavors. Recipe faves like Honey-Glazed Pork Riblets, Chile Garlic Chicken Wings, Vibrant Turmeric Coconut Rice, and No-Churn Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream are easily created using ingredients easily found in national supermarkets.
The book starts with a chapter on essential ingredients and strategic shopping advice for buying reasonable alternatives to traditional ingredients. The basic recipes then follow, including ones for making dipping and chili sauces. There is also a section on alternative cooking techniques and substitutions for utensils that American kitchens will not have.
Recipes have clear instructions with lots of tips on substitutions to create vegetarian and vegan dishes. Some are simple enough to follow for newbies; others are challenging enough for experienced home cooks. However, not every recipe has a photo of the finished dish.
Readers loved the accessibility of the recipes. One said that the recipes were very forgiving of a novice. Many loved that the recipes turned out to be delicious.
Recommended for home cooks of various skill levels and anyone looking for a easy introductory book on Vietnamese cuisine.
2. Eat Real Vietnamese Food: A Step by Step Guide to the Classic Cuisine of Vietnam Hardcover
This is a coffee table cookbook that features over 90 classical Vietnamese recipes from the 1950s. Each recipe is presented in a “storyboard” format with a full color photo of the dish. The selection ranges from favorites like Pho and Spring Rolls to salads, desserts, and main dishes.
Recipes are easy to follow with servings for 2-4 people. Most of them do not require speciality ingredients. Prepping time is around 20-30 minutes.
Readers found the book’s format to be very user-friendly in the kitchen. It makes it easy for them to reference the steps while in production mode. One found its detailed ingredient and utensil guide very helpful.
Recommended for experienced home cooks and anyone looking for a kitchen-friendly cookbook on classical Vietnamese cuisine.
3. Hometown Flavors: Vietnamese Recipes with Vibrant Origins Paperback
This is a selection of home cooking recipes used by the author’s Vietnamese grandmother. Each recipe comes with historical context to help the reader understand the evolution of the dish. It includes favorites like Banh Mi and Pho, as well as modern cocktails like Perilla Mojito.
Recipes are straightforward with detailed and clear guidelines. Most also require short prepping times, with simple steps.
Readers liked that the recipes weren’t intimidating especially for a newbie cook. One liked how the book breaks down the ingredients and instructions for easy reading. Another enjoyed learning about the culinary history of each dish.
Recommended for working professionals or casual and newbie home cooks.
4. My Vietnamese Kitchen: Recipes and stories to bring Vietnamese food to life on your plate Hardcover
The recipes in this cookbook are heirloom recipes passed down through the author’s family. Each one tells a story about her family’s history with the featured dish. Samples of the recipe selection include Omelette Baguette, Duck Congee, Fried Tilapia with Green Mango and other popular favorites like Pho Soup, Banh Mi Baguettes, and Summer Rolls.
Recipes are categorized into chapters such as Breakfast, Soups, Snacks, Noodles, Lunch & Dinner, and Sweets. There are stylish color photos of most of the dishes.
Those who tried cooking the recipes found them delicious. Others liked how the recipes were very easy to read and follow. Another liked that the flavors remind her of her Vietnamese mom’s cooking.
Recommended for any cook looking for recipes with authentic Vietnamese flavors.
5. Vegetarian Viet Nam Hardcover – Illustrated
This is a cookbook about the vegetarian tradition in Vietnamese cuisine that’s practiced by Mahayana Buddhist monks. These recipes use Vietnamese herbs and sauces to make essential vegetarian ingredients very flavorful.
It includes a lavishly illustrated glossary that will teach you to identify mushrooms, noodles, fruits and vegetables that are important in a vegetarian Vietnamese pantry.
Recipes are very doable for the modern kitchen. They are also easily adaptable with substitution lists for specialty ingredients.
Readers loved this book because of the quality of the recipe selection. One found its Pho and vegetable broth recipes to be the best. Another liked the clean and healthy flavors of the dishes.
Recommended for anyone looking for authentic Vietnamese vegetarian recipes.
6. Banh Mi: 75 Banh Mi Recipes for Authentic and Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches Hardcover
This is a collection of Vietnamese sandwich recipes that range from vegetarian to meat-filled ones. It includes recipes for traditional pickled condiments, sauces, baked breads, and side dishes. The selection includes Vietnamese-influenced Asian food like Vietnamese-style Chicken Curry, Char Siu Barbecue Pork, and Vietnamese-style Thai Iced Tea.
Recipes have step-by-step instructions accompanied by color photos. Most of them require a long list of ingredients but if you have a well-stocked Asian pantry or at least, access to an Asian store, the ingredients will last a long time -enough to make Banh Mi regularly.
There are 42 core sandwich recipes here, with enough variety to keep a creative home cook coming for more. Those who’ve tried the recipes found them easy to do and have authentic Vietnamese flavors.
Recommended for the Banh Mi foodie.
7. The Little Viet Kitchen: Over 100 authentic and delicious Vietnamese recipes Hardcover
Published in the UK, this cookbook features recipes from the owner of The Little Viet Kitchen in London. The recipes are based on the dishes that the owner grew up with which have been adapted for the London culinary scene.
Most of the recipes are fairly easy to follow with very concise steps. They involve a lot of prep which a newbie cook might find daunting. Some also have ingredients that may be difficult to source in American stores but will probably be available online.There are beautiful photos of some featured dishes.
Those who’ve tried the recipes said they were delicious. Another enjoyed the stories of Vietnamese culture that provide context for the recipes.
Recommended for fans of the Little Viet Kitchen and for experienced home cooks looking to expand their repertoire of modern Vietnamese recipes.
8. Simply Pho: A Complete Course in Preparing Authentic Vietnamese Meals at Home Hardcover – Illustrated
This is an introductory cookbook for making authentic Vietnamese Pho from scratch. It includes how to make fresh Pho noodles, along with recipes for fresh and crispy spring rolls, Bahn Mi sandwiches, vermicelli noodle salads, and a variety of Mi Quang noodle dishes.
Recipes are straightforward and have step-by-step instructions. There’s an equal mix of easy and sophisticated recipes, with options for vegan and vegetarian diets.
Readers liked its selection of Pho broth recipes. One found it more diverse than other Pho cookbooks. Another liked that it mostly uses ingredients that are easy to source.
Recommended for casual and experienced home cooks looking for authentic Pho recipes.
9. Little Vietnam: From Lemongrass Chicken to Rice Paper Rolls, 80 Exciting Vietnamese Dishes to Prepare at Home Hardcover
This cookbook features recipes for classic Vietnamese dishes and traditional street food using ingredients that are mostly available at American stores. It also includes practical tips on sourcing ingredients, as well as a guide to setting up a Vietnamese pantry and kitchen.
Recipes have been modified for easy use in a modern kitchen. They come with gorgeous photos of the dish for convenient reference. Samples of the selection include Beef Noodle Soup, Salt and Pepper Squid, Rice Paper Rolls, Chicken with Lemongrass, and Chili Crab with Tamarind and Chili.
Readers who tried the recipes found them easy and delicious. Another found this cookbook useful enough for everyday cooking.
Recommended for home cooks looking for Vietnamese mainstream and street food recipes.
10. Vietnamese Instant Pot Cookbook: Popular Vietnamese recipes for Pressure Cooker Paperback
An Instant Pot is a useful appliance to shorten the cooking times of a Vietnamese dish like Pho and this cookbook collects classic Vietnamese recipes that can be used for an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker.
Recipes range from meat and rice dishes, to stews and soups, to sweets and side dishes. There also noodle and salad recipes. Each recipe comes with detailed instructions and tips for quick prepping. There are also options for vegetarian eaters. This book uses American measurements.
Readers found this a useful collection of Instant Pot recipes. Another liked that the recipes were easy to follow. One found the recipes to be delicious.
Recommended for Instant Pot users.
VIETNAMESE FOOD ANY DAY: SIMPLE RECIPES FOR TRUE, FRESH FLAVORS by Andrea Nguyen
This cookbook is a great entry point for those unfamiliar with Vietnamese cuisine because of two important points: it uses ingredients that one can buy in regular American grocery stores and the recipes are pared down so that they can be easily prepped on a weeknight.
Nguyen writes in a friendly, engaging style and has lots of tips and suggestions to share so that a newbie cook will not feel overwhelmed with following the recipe. The recipe selection is simple and uncomplicated and yet it feels more elevated. Those who have tried the recipes have found them flavorful, authentic, and reliable.