100+ Common Vietnamese Words for Food & Cooking

In this article, you will find lots of common Vietnamese words for food, eating, and cooking. There are also many useful words that you can learn for everyday use.

Here is an overview of what we are going to learn:

Essential Words about Eating in Vietnamese

To get you started, below are some must-know Vietnamese words about eating.

  • ăn — to eat
  • đồ ăn — food
  • đồ ăn nhanh — fast food
  • đồ ăn chay — vegetarian food
  • món (ăn) — dish (food)
  • nấu — to cook
  • nấu ăn — cooking (general)
  • nấu cơm — cooking (meals)
  • gọi đồ ăn — to order food
  • mang đi / mang về — takeaway / take home (e.g. 1 phở mang về)
  • đặc sản — specialty (food)
  • đặc biệt — special (e.g. phở đặc biệt)
  • thực đơn — menu (*you can also say "me-nu")
  • nhà hàng — restaurant
  • quán ăn — street restaurant
  • Tính tiền! — Bill please!
  • no — full
  • đói (bụng) — hungry
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Common Foods in Vietnamese

A normal complete Vietnamese meal consists of 4 dishes: món cơm (rice), món canh (soup), món mặn (savory), and món rau (vegetables).

Let's see some other common foods that Vietnamese people have in the meals.

  • cơm — cooked rice
  • gạo — uncooked raw rice
  • — noodles
  • mì Ý — spaghetti
  • bánh mì — bread
  • canh — soup
  • thịt — meat
  • (thịt) gà — chicken
  • (thịt) heo — pork
  • (thịt) bò — beef
  • (thịt) vịt — duck
  • bít tết — beefsteak
  • hải sản — seafood
  • — fish
  • tôm — shrimp
  • trứng — eggs
  • xúc xích — sausage
  • đậu — tofu
  • rau — vegetables
  • rau thơm — herbs
  • nước chấm — dipping sauce
  • đồ chua — pickled carrot & daikon
  • bánh — biscuits
  • kẹo — candies
Words that Sound like English - Vietnamese Loanwords

Cooking Techniques Words in Vietnamese

On the menu, you may find the same ingredient, let's say thịt — meat, being cooked using different techniques.

For example, thịt luộc, thịt kho, or thịt quay. So let's learn to differentiate them!

Take note that some of these words can be both a verb and an adjective.

  • chiên — fried, to fry
  • xào — stir-fried, to stir-fry
  • hấp — steamed, to steam
  • luộc / nấu sôi — boiled, to boil
  • nướng — grilled, to grilled
  • quay — roasted, to roast
  • kho — braised, to braise
  • lẩu — hotpot
  • chay — vegetarian

Common Tableware in Vietnamese

Sometimes when you are at the restaurant, you might find missing utensils on your table, oftentimes spoon and chopsticks.

In that case, you can use the following pattern to request something:

CHO + pronoun + amount + (classifier) + item


Examples:

Cho anh - hai cái muỗng
Give me - 2 spoons (cái is a classifier for objects in general)

Cho em - một đôi đũa
Give me - 1 pair of chopsticks (đôi is a classifier for "pair")


So here are some common tableware that you can learn:

  • đũa — chopstick(s)
  • đôi đũa — pair of chopsticks
  • dao — knife
  • muỗng (Southern) / thìa (Northern) — spoon
  • nĩa (Southern) / dĩa (Northern) — fork
  • dĩa (Southern) / đĩa (Northern) — plate
  • ly (Southern) / cốc (Northern) — glass (beverage)
  • tách — cup (coffee/tea)
  • chén (Southern) / bát (Northern) — small/medium bowl
  • — large bowl
  • chai — bottle
  • ống hút — straw
  • khăn giấy — tissue

Common Flavors and Tastes in Vietnamese

Here are essential words to help you describe the flavors and taste of the food.

  • chua — sour
  • cay — spicy
  • mặn — salty
  • ngọt — sweet
  • đắng — bitter
  • nhạt / lạt — bland
  • ngon — tasty, delicious
  • dở — bad (taste)
Southern Vs Northern Vietnamese word list

Common Seasonings & Spices in Vietnamese

The following words are good to know if you want to buy common Vietnamese seasonings at the supermarket. Also great to read recipes in Vietnamese!

  • muối — salt
  • tiêu — pepper
  • nước mắm — fish sauce
  • nước tương — soy sauce
  • tương ớt — chilli sauce
  • tương cà — tomato sauce
  • dầu hào — oyster sauce
  • dầu ăn — cooking oil
  • dầu mè — sesame oil
  • chanh — lime
  • ớt — chilli
  • tỏi — garlic
  • gừng — ginger
  • sả — lemongrass
  • hành tím — shallot
  • hành tây — onion
  • hành lá — scallion / spring onion

Food Measurement Words in Vietnamese

To help you understand Vietnamese cooking recipes, here are some words that Vietnamese people use for measuring food quantity.

  • cân — to weigh; scale
  • đong — to measure out
  • lít (l) — litter
  • mililít (ml) — milliliters
  • muỗng canh — tablespoon
  • muỗng cà phê — teaspoon
  • (kg) — kilogram
  • gam (g) — gram
40 Common Vietnamese Verbs That You Must Know (Part 1)

Cooking Verbs in Vietnamese

You cannot miss out on this word list if you need to understand cooking instructions in Vietnamese!

  • trộn — to mix, mixed
  • khuấy — to stir
  • xay — to blend, to grind
  • băm — to chop, to mince
  • xắt / cắt — to cut, to slice
  • gọt — to peel, to cut (fruits)
  • nghiền — to mash, mashed
  • nhào / nhồi — to knead (flour)
  • vắt — to squeeze
  • rửa — to wash
  • rã đông — to defrost
  • ngâm — to soak
  • ướp — to marinate
  • thêm — to add

Kitchen Appliances and Tools in Vietnamese

Need to buy some kitchen appliances and tools? Here are some common ones that you may need!

  • nồi cơm điện — rice cooker
  • lò vi sóng — microwave
  • lò nướng — oven
  • bếp — stove
  • bếp từ — induction stove
  • bình đun nước — kettle
  • tủ lạnh — fridge
  • máy xay — grinder
  • máy xay sinh tố — smoothie blender
  • nồi áp suất — pressure cooker
  • máy rửa chén (Southern) / máy rửa bát (Northern) — dishwasher
  • máy pha cà phê — coffee machine
  • bồn rửa — sink
  • thớt — chopping board
  • nồi — pot
  • chảo — pan, frying-pan, skillet
  • tạp dề — apron

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