While we all enjoy a delicious takeaway, it’s important to know that not all Asian cuisine is a guilty pleasure. In fact, Vietnamese takeaway can be a healthy and satisfying option! Let’s delve into why and discover how to make wise choices to keep those calories in check. 

What to get in a Vietnamese takeaway 

  • Spring/summer rolls 
  • Pho – Beef or Chicken
  • Banh Mi 
  • Fish Cakes 
  • Noodle salad 
  • BBQ Meat 
  • Griddled Meat 
  • Prawn Pancakes 
  • Pancakes
  • Steam Rice Cakes 
  • Meat Stews
  • Ice Creams (Avocado Ice Creams, Bean Ice Cream, Coconut Ice Cream)

These dishes are made fresh, with a lot of protein and vegetables and not too much oil or fat. Even our ice cream is often made of pulses or vegetables and because cow milk isn’t too common it’s often also vegan! 

It’s all in the broth 

When my grandparents first arrived in the UK in the 1980s, having fled Vietnam, they made friends with the local butcher in their new hometown of Bristol. There, the butcher would routinely give them offcuts, bones, offal, and cartilage, which would often be thrown away. What did my grandparents do with these? They made broth, of course! 

Growing up broth was the answer to everything. Feeling unwell? Drink broth. Need warming up? Drink broth. Had a bad day? Have some broth with dinner. You get the idea. There was a reason behind this, though. A well-made broth featuring bones and cartilage will include vitamins and nutrients, including calcium and magnesium. The cartilage offers collagen. This broth, by the way, is the base stock used in Vietnam’s most famous dish – Pho. So, if your Vietnamese takeaway offers a well-made pho, chances are there’s a lot of good in that broth!

Vegetables galore 

Fresh vegetables play a starring role in countless dishes; the more vibrant, the better, honestly! Vegetables are a cornerstone of flavour and texture, from vibrant herb salads to stir-fried noodles brimming with bean sprouts and julienned carrots. Even heartier offerings like crab noodle soup boast a generous amount of greens and herbs like watercress and mint, compared to some takeaways – Vietnamese food will never be beige!  

A lot of protein 

When it comes to Vietnamese food, lean protein is often used. Sure, we like our pork belly, but many dishes use leaner cuts. Chicken is incredibly common, and because Vietnam is known for its seafood, there’s a lot of that packed in there, too. Because the protein used in Vietnamese cooking is very similar to the UK, my grandparents had no issues when it came to sourcing what they could and what they needed from the local butcher!

Things to watch out for 

Now, that isn’t to say all Vietnamese food is healthy, there’s still some things to watch out for. 

When it comes to our food, one of the key staples is fish sauce. While this adds a delicious flavour, it can sometimes be very high in sodium. Similarly, some sauces can be laden with hidden sugars – especially if you don’t know what’s in them. Read on to find my solution to that problem, though! 

Also, be mindful that some of the items I’ve listed as generally healthy above can sometimes be fried; spring rolls and Banh Xeo (pancakes) are prime examples. 

A lot of Vietnamese food is designed for sharing, so watch out for portion sizes. Our food can often be deceptive, too. Just because it’s laden with vegetables, don’t underestimate how full this can make you, especially when there’s loads of rice on the side! 

A great accompaniment 

Sometimes, takeaways use lower-quality condiments laden with salt, sugar, and other preservatives. Thankfully, if you want an authentic Vietnamese dipping sauce to go with your takeaway, Boat People Sauce has you covered. My Nước Chấm is based on my grandparents’ recipe and is the perfect condiment for your healthy Vietnamese takeaway. Full of flavour and versatility, you can pick up a bottle now in our store