Banh Duc Nong

Vietnamese Food Spotlight – Is “Banh Duc Nong” Better Than Pho?

In this Vietnamese Food Spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Banh Duc Nong, an amazing Vietnamese food you may not know. Originating in the north but served all over Vietnam, it is a very unique dish. Vietnamese food is famous for its world-class soups. Banh Duc Nong is as delicious and flavorful as any of them, but that’s not what makes it special. Banh Duc Nong is unique because it’s filled with ooey gooey goodness. In your face, Pho!

The Gooey Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese Food - Banh Duc Nong

The Only Gooey Vietnamese Food?

Banh Duc Nong is the only gooey Vietnamese food we know. This makes it a godsend for us. After nearly a year in Vietnam, we occasionally miss the gooeyness of a good ole casserole or anything smothered in cheese. We absolutely love Vietnamese food, but it doesn’t use cheese or have many gooey dishes.

A nice bowl satisfies our American craving for gooey with an authentic Vietnamese food. Otherwise, we would have to resort to an overpriced western restaurant to get our fix.

Is Banh Duc Nong better than Pho? We both love Banh Duc Nong, but have mixed opinions on this question. Steve says yes. Vanessa says no. We’ll explain our opinions after we talk about how it tastes.

Banh Duc Nong is the only gooey Vietnamese food we know.Click To Tweet

A Balanced and Flavorful Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese Food - Banh Duc Nong

Crunchy and Gooey

Banh Duc Nong is more than just gooey. It’s a delicious, hearty soup with a balance of many distinct flavors. The broth is pork based. The gooey stuff is made from glutinous rice flour. Like many Vietnamese soups, the toppings are added just before serving. This preserves their individual flavors and prevents everything from becoming a soggy mess. The toppings are minced pork cooked with black mushrooms, fried onions, fresh herbs, and crispy tofu puffs. Fish sauce and chili paste are added at the table.

The black mushrooms really add a lot to the overall flavor. They are earthy and savory and balance out the mild sweetness of the pork and gooey stuff. The fried onions and crispy tofu puffs add a bit of salt. And their crunch balances out the gooey. The herbs add a freshness that balances out the other sweet, savory, and salty flavors. The flavors mingle and yet keep their individuality. Each mouthful can be a little different. It keeps your pallet guessing. Eating this harmonious blend of textures and flavors is a real treat.

What’s Up With That Gooey Stuff?

The gooey stuff is made from glutinous rice flour. It’s mildly sweet, but not more than regular rice noodles. The gooey stuff is close in texture to melted mozzarella cheese. Melted mozzarella is a firmer and chewier, but it’s close in texture. The gooey stuff in Banh Duc Nong is substantial enough to have that satisfying texture, but then it just melts in your mouth. It’s fun and feels indulgent to eat.

The gooey stuff  is actually called “banh duc,” hence the name of the soup. The Vietnamese word “nong” simply means “hot.” We have avoided calling the gooey stuff by its proper name to avoid confusion with another Vietnamese food that also goes by the name “banh duc.” The other dish named “banh duc” is made from the same glutinous rice flour, but it is not a soup dish. So when ordering, make sure you say or point to “Banh Duc Nong.” It would be easy to see just Banh Duc on a menu and think that it’s the same. It’s not.

Better Than Pho?

Is Banh Duc Nong Better than Pho?

Vietnamese Food“I love Pho, but Banh Duc Nong is clearly the better Vietnamese food for 4 reasons:

• Banh Duc Nong is equal in delicious flavor to Pho
• Banh Duc Nong has more and better textures than Pho. It is gooey and crunchy. Pho has none of that.
• Banh Duc Nong’s textures enhance both the flavor and the overall eating experience.
• Banh Duc Nong is unique among Vietnamese food. There some gooey desserts, but it’s unique as a hot gooey main dish.”

“For me, Banh Duc Nong is the new champion of Vietnamese food. (Of course, I still eat lots of Pho.)”

Vietnamese Food
“I love Banh Duc Nong, but get real Steve. Pho is the yummy classic, and everybody knows it. Pho is still the best Vietnamese food. No question. (Of course, I do crave that gooey goodness from time to time.)”

The Best Banh Duc Nong in Saigon

Vietnamese Food - Bahn Duc Nong

Bahn Duc Nong Ba Gia Restaurant

You can find Saigon’s best Banh Duc Nong at Banh Duc Nong Ba Gia. As you can see in the very name of the restaurant, they specialize in this dish. They serve 2 varieties of Banh Duc Nong: regular and “Bahn Duc Nong Voi Cha.” In the latter, they simply add some extra pork deli meats on top. We recommend the regular version. The “Voi Cha” version is pretty good, but ruins the delicate balance of flavors, in our opinion.

Also, There is no chance of the name confusion mentioned above at this restaurant. They do not serve the other dish named “banh duc.”

Vietnamese Food - Banh Duc Nong

Thanks to our Friend Sara

We’d like to thank our friend Sara (and local Vietnamese food expert) for showing us the Banh Duc Nong Ba Gia restaurant. Their soup is absolutely delicious and costs only 15,000VND ($0.65USD). Her insight and opinions as a Vietnamese person who has lived all over the country has been extremely helpful.

Bonus Tips

Bahn Bot Loc

Bahn Bot Loc La is a very tasty treat

When at this restaurant, get an order of “Bahn Bot Loc La” on the side. They are almost like a small steamed dumpling stuffed with shrimp and wrapped in banana leaves. When you peel the leaves. Bahn Bot Loc La look like this.

Bahn Bot Loc La

Bahn Bot Loc La – Unwrapped and Ready to Eat

Dip them in Nuoc Mam and enjoy. An order of 5, costs only 10,000VND ($0.44USD)

Rong Bien Tuoi

Rong Bien Tuoi is a Healthy Tea made from Seaweed

Wash it all down with a bottle of Rong Bein Tuoi for another 10,000VND ($0.44USD). It’s a delicious tea made from a type of seaweed. It tastes fantastic.

Banh Duc Nong Ba Gia – It’s a small place, but it’s actually on google maps.

Banh Duc Nong

Address: 76 Cuu Long, P15, Q10, HCMC
Phone: 0934666861 (They don’t speak English.)

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  • Abigail
    Posted at 22:09h, 07 December

    Vietnam is on my travel bucket list. These are some interesting food items you’ve featured. Look forward to trying them out myself!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 23:17h, 07 December

    Hi Abigail. Hope you get to visit Vietnam someday soon. Yes, they were quite interesting and delicious.

  • neha
    Posted at 00:34h, 08 December

    I actually dont like gooey food. So, am really glad to learn from your post it is the only gooey food in Vietnam. I would love to try the others (though veg)

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:09h, 08 December

    Hi Neha. LOL You are definitely in luck. There are plenty of non-gooey, vegetarian options in Vietnam. 🙂

  • cindyrina
    Posted at 01:09h, 08 December

    I went to Vietnam twice. love their food. I love both.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:15h, 08 December

    Hi Cindy. You have great taste! 🙂

  • sherry
    Posted at 01:35h, 08 December

    looks great to dine there.
    I feel hungry now, now yet eat.

  • Mar Pages
    Posted at 01:46h, 08 December

    Those tofu puffs make it look pretty similar to the fried tofu pockets used in some korean meals. But I have to say, I’ve never seen such ooey gooey goodness in a soup like that. Will have to try it for myself. Thanks for the review.

  • Rane Chin
    Posted at 02:10h, 08 December

    the food looks exotic. wish to try when visit VN

  • Shini Lola
    Posted at 04:10h, 08 December

    Thanks for sharing. I haven’t been to Vietnam before. Will take your tips as reference. =)

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 04:11h, 08 December

    Hello Shini Lola. Thanks for commenting.

  • Baz Tan
    Posted at 05:57h, 08 December

    Looks really nice!! Just in time for my trip to Saigon next month!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 05:59h, 08 December

    Hello Baz Tan. Have a great time in Saigon and enjoy all the yummy food.

  • Divya @ Eat Teach Blog
    Posted at 06:39h, 08 December

    Oh gosh, I don’t know if I could do gooey. I’m a big texture person and if it’s gooey or jiggly like Jell-o, you might have to count me out!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 06:41h, 08 December

    Hello Divya. If you like melted cheese, this dish will feel normal. If you don’t like melted cheese, then you won’t like Bahn Duc Nong. But for less than a buck, its worth a try, if you’re in Saigon. Just sayin.

  • Tasheena @
    Posted at 06:48h, 08 December

    I’ve never been to Vietnamese and would love to try their food. The Banh Duc Nong looks delicious.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 06:49h, 08 December

    Hello Tasheena. Vietnamese food is very yummy. It would be so cool if you’re first taste test was actually in Vietnam.

  • Loudy
    Posted at 07:39h, 08 December

    I would like to Visit Veittnam and taste the food. I have a friend that is there right now. He told me so much about it

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 07:40h, 08 December

    Hello Loudy. We hope you get to visit Vietnam. We love it.

  • Gareth
    Posted at 07:40h, 08 December

    Well, it certainly is a big statement to imagine that Banh Duc Nong is better than Pho but during my time there I certainly did enjoy it. As you say, it isn’t something that is commonly available in may places and as others have said before me, I avoided gooey looking food but I have to say, when I did try it, I was pleasantly surprised. And honestly, in all my travels, the only type of food I really get a craving for is Vietnamese food and unfortunately, I have yet to have it adequately replicated anywhere outside the country

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 07:42h, 08 December

    Hello Gareth. The food in Vietnam is truly one of the best in the world. Vietnamese people are very competitive – with food as well. So each place tries to be the best around which leads to better and better quality of food in Vietnam.

  • Briana Marie
    Posted at 08:01h, 08 December

    I’ve never tried Vietnamese food but traveling to Vietnam is actually on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 08:03h, 08 December

    Hello Briana. Vietnam is a great place to visit. And the food here is literally some of the best in the world.

  • Emily
    Posted at 08:09h, 08 December

    As I don’t eat beef, I really have to be very careful with Vietnamese food. The names give me no inkling at all what they are! LOL

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 08:10h, 08 December

    Hello Emily. There are many great Veg dishes here. Buddhism is the main religion. The names can be baffling. We’ve ordered so many dishes simply by pointing to something random on the menu. We weren’t wild about all of them but we have made a few great discoveries that way.

  • Rose
    Posted at 09:04h, 08 December

    It’s sounds good. A nice hearty soup! I would be willing to try this compared to Ummm those critters, lol. I’m interested in that gooey rice flour substance.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:06h, 08 December

    Hello Rose. Ha ha. Yes Bahn Duc Nong and Pho are both much much much better than the creepy food we ate.

  • Leah
    Posted at 09:15h, 08 December

    I don’t know much about Vietnamese food so I really enjoyed this. I’ve always loved pho. Loved the photos and so hungry now!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:17h, 08 December

    Hello Leah. Thanks. The food in Vietnam is so good. It’s worth a trip across the world to try it. Many people actually do that. Of course, there’s so much to see and do in Vietnam, but the food here is amazing.

  • Jessica
    Posted at 09:32h, 08 December

    I have never had Banh Duc Nong but we have Pho all the time and it is amazing! Now I really want to try Banh Duc Nong!
    xo Jessica

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:34h, 08 December

    Hello Jessica. Give it a taste and let us know if you like it.

  • Audrey Yap
    Posted at 09:37h, 08 December

    The food definitely looks amazing and my mouth is watering! OHMYGOD. Must eat some vietnamese food tomorrow!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:39h, 08 December

    Hello Audrey. Thanks. Enjoy it!

  • Krista Dial
    Posted at 12:57h, 08 December

    Yum! I’ve never really tried Vietnamese food, but this has pushed me over the edge. We have 1-2 Vietnamese places here in Nashville. Definitely giving one of them a whirl next week when I meet a friend for lunch! 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:59h, 08 December

    Hello Krista. That’s very cool. Let us know what you think of Vietnamese food.

  • Katie
    Posted at 13:47h, 08 December

    So I love Pho – like a lot! I haven’t tried Banh Duc Nong but will deffo try it on our next visit! An interesting blog that has got me questioning!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 13:49h, 08 December

    Hello Katie. Thanks for your kind words. We love Pho too. There was a little while when it was most of what we ate. But there’s just so many truly delicious vietnamese foods to try.

  • Tamara
    Posted at 15:45h, 08 December

    I have no familiarty with Vietnamese at all, so I’m going to have to take your word for it! How exactly do you pronounce the Banh Duc Nong? Or Pho, for that matter? If I want to try it, is it likely that I would find it in an Vietnamese restaurant in the United States?

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:46h, 08 December

    Hello Tamara. Vietnamese is notoriously difficult to pronounce. We always try but then usually have to write it down. haha. Pho will be in any Vietnamese restaurant in the US. Bahn Duc Nong may be hard to find in the US, unless you go to places with big Vietnamese populations like Westminster near Los Angeles. You could always ask the restaurant. They might may a special batch for you.

  • Amber Myers
    Posted at 15:52h, 08 December

    Mm, I would love to eat the food from here. I imagine I’d enjoy it. I’m impressed by the low prices too!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:53h, 08 December

    Hello Amber. Vietnamese food is awesome and diverse. Definitely give it a go. The prices in Vietnam are insanely low. Eating out is usually cheaper than cooking at home.

  • Juliette | Snorkels to Snow
    Posted at 15:54h, 08 December

    This sounds super delicious! I’m a big fan of Pho – I absolutely LOVE pho but I’m going to have to try this dish because it sounds super tasty! Love Vietnamese food – some of my favourite international cuisine. Great guide!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:57h, 08 December

    Hello Juliette. Thanks. We hope you love Bahn Duc Nong. Let us know your opinion when you try it.

  • Miera Nadhirah
    Posted at 18:45h, 08 December

    i do want to try this… have never tried this banh duc nong yet…. it sounds great though…

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 18:47h, 08 December

    Hello Miera. Good to hear. Try it and let us know what you think.

  • Shane
    Posted at 19:01h, 08 December

    I’ve never had Vietnamese cuisine but the way describe it makes me ready to dive right in!! Yum!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 19:04h, 08 December

    Hello Shane. Thanks. We love Vietnamese food and definitely recommend giving it a try.

  • Iza Abao, Two Monkeys Travel Group Writer
    Posted at 19:31h, 08 December

    I cannot remember if I have eaten Banh Duc Nong here in the Philippines. There are many variations of noodles in Asia which I think are similar to each other. I would love to the Banh Duc Nong when I visit Vietnam in the future.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 19:33h, 08 December

    Hello Iza. It is amazing how many varieties of noodles and noodle dishes there are in Asia. Some are similar but many are so different too. We really loved Pancit in the Philippines.

  • Christina from Happy to Wander
    Posted at 21:31h, 08 December

    Hahah I’m definitely #TeamPho, but I’ll be honest that I’ve never tried Banh Duc Nong before… STILL I have a hard time believing anything can be better than pho. I had it 3 times in 18 hrs once when I was in Vietnam haha. Straight up addicted.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 21:33h, 08 December

    Hello Christina. Wow, 3 times in a day basically. You really do love pho. It is awesome.

  • CourtneyLynne
    Posted at 22:44h, 08 December

    Omg everything looks so yummy!!! Way to make me hungry

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:46h, 08 December

    Hello CourtneyLynne. HaHa. It’s not us it’s Vietnamese food. It’s irresistible.

  • Shub
    Posted at 22:47h, 08 December

    Looks like yummylicious varieties..My all time fav is Vietnamese rice roll.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:49h, 08 December

    Hello Shub. We agree. Vietnamese food is full of yummylicious variety. Well said.

  • Manavi Siddhanti
    Posted at 22:52h, 08 December

    I’m not so sure if i can eat Banh Duc Nong because i’m very much particular with the texture of the food-runny or gravy like. Other than that I would love to try Vietnamese food and cuisines. 😀

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:54h, 08 December

    Hello Manavi. No worries. Vietnamese food has lots of other great options.

  • Allison
    Posted at 00:05h, 09 December

    Oh wow, so cool! I had never heard of banh duc nong before. I would love to give it a try! I think it’s hard to beat pho though… it’s one of my favorite dishes of all time

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 00:08h, 09 December

    Hello Allison. Pho is definitely awesome. Bahn Duc Nong just has that gooey goodness when you’re in the mood for it.

  • Zayani Zulkiffli
    Posted at 05:51h, 09 December

    I’ve heard this one before, but never tries. My Vietnam’s friend also recommended this to me.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 05:55h, 09 December

    Hello Zayani. Vietnamese friends are awesome for many reasons. One them is certainly food recommendations.

  • Anna
    Posted at 07:53h, 09 December

    I enjoy Vietnamese food (especially Gỏi cuốn) and this post is making me hungry haha! I don’t think I’ve ever tried Banh Duc Nong though, so I’m quite intrigued. Will check it out next time I’m at a Vietnamese restaurant because it looks delicious!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 07:55h, 09 December

    Hello Anna. Goi cuon is delicious. Definitely give Bahn Duc Nong a try too.

  • Roxy
    Posted at 10:07h, 09 December

    I just recently jumped on the pho bandwagon and it seems to have fairly recently grown in popularity here in St. Louis. I don’t know that I’ve seen Banh Duc Nong anywhere, but I’d totally be willing to try it.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 10:10h, 09 December

    Hello Roxy. Ok just had a crazy idea off the top off my head. If you know of a good Vietnamese restaurant. Ask them about Banh Duc Nong. Maybe they’ll whip up some special for you. Might be worth a try?

  • neha
    Posted at 12:26h, 09 December

    Such a comprehensive list of restaurant and what best to get there. Vietnamese food seems to be delicious..although I would be looking for the veg options only

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:28h, 09 December

    Hello Neha. The Vietnamese are generally buddhists so there are many great vegetarian dishes here too.

  • Ana Ojha
    Posted at 17:56h, 09 December

    I’ve only tried Thai cuisine but never got an opportunity to try Vietnamese food! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 17:59h, 09 December

    Hello Ana. It you like Thai food, you’ll probably enjoy Vietnamese food as well.

  • Chuojashni Subramaniam
    Posted at 23:01h, 11 December

    Looks great! Must give it a try soon!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 23:03h, 11 December

    Hi Choujashni. It’s delicious! You definitely need to try it. ?

  • Sharon
    Posted at 03:16h, 12 December

    I definitely need to visit Vietnam one day =D with good food and view!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 03:20h, 12 December

    Hi Sharon. You definitely should visit Vietnam. You would love it! ?

  • Kevin Wagar
    Posted at 11:35h, 12 December

    I’m a huge fan of Vietnamese food, but I’ve yet to try this. Looks like I have something delicious to order the next time I go!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 11:39h, 12 December

    Hello Kevin. Give it a try and let us know what you think. Hope you like it.

  • Debra @ Traveling Well For Less
    Posted at 11:51h, 12 December

    Banh Duc Nong looks delicious. I love a cheese, but not sure I could do gooey gelantious stuff. But who knows, I may give it a try one day. 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 11:55h, 12 December

    Hello Debra. It’s gooey but it melts in your mouth. Hope you enjoy it, if you try.

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    Posted at 22:54h, 12 December

    I have never tasted Vietnam Cuisine and hence this is a revelation. Again not much of a fan of gooey food. However, Banh-Duc-Nong looks worth experimenting with. Maybe I will try it with Vegetarian ingredients and make a new dish Banh_Duc_Nong_VyjayVeg

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 23:00h, 12 December

    Hello Vyjay. Haha. Great idea. Seriously, It would probably work well as a vegetarian dish too.

  • chris
    Posted at 06:47h, 13 December

    Pho remains for me the classic dish!

    The only Vietnamese soup that came close for mind was Bun Bo Hue, but those processed deli meats, they’re best left off the soups in my opinion!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 06:50h, 13 December

    Hello Chris. Bun Bo Hue is awesome. And we agree that the deli meats are better in a Banh Mi sandwich than on a soup.

  • Ami Bhat
    Posted at 03:50h, 14 December

    Now I will have to hunt for Banh duc … I love pho but have never tried this thing and from your description… I suspect I will find it yummy. Lovely post

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 04:00h, 14 December

    Hello Ami. Thank You. We hope you find some to try. Let us know what you think.

  • Liyana
    Posted at 05:46h, 15 December

    I am honestly super hungry now after seeing all these foods…

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 05:48h, 15 December

    Hi Liyana. LOL ? I think it’s time for you to go grab some food! 😛

  • Shivani
    Posted at 20:01h, 22 December

    All the dishes look really good, especially the Banh Duc Nong 🙂 Would love to give this a try someday.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 20:20h, 22 December

    Hi Shivani. Thanks. Hope you try it and enjoy it. Let us know.

  • Stacey
    Posted at 05:01h, 30 January

    I love pho. I have never heard or seen this dish, not even when I was in north Vietnam a few months ago, but I will definitely try it when I get a chance to.

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