Delight Your Palate with Vietnamese Ham: Traveler’s Must-Try Treat

Delve into the heart of Vietnamese culture with Giò Lụa, the beloved Vietnamese ham. Discover its unique preparation, regional nuances, and the best places to savor this flavorful delicacy. Get ready for a mouthwatering adventure into Vietnam’s culinary heritage.

See more: Embracing Vietnamese Cuisine

Discovering Vietnamese Ham: Giò Lụa

Giò Lụa, known as Vietnamese ham, holds a special place in Vietnamese cuisine. This beloved food item is more than just a dish; it represents the cultural and culinary heritage of the Vietnamese people. Let’s delve into what makes Giò Lụa a culinary treasure.

What is Vietnamese ham?

Vietnamese ham, known as “Giò Lụa” in Vietnamese, is a popular and traditional food item in Vietnamese cuisine. It is a type of processed pork sausage made from ground pork, garlic, fish sauce, and sometimes pepper. The mixture is tightly wrapped in banana leaves or plastic wrap, then steamed or boiled. This process infuses the pork with a unique blend of sweet, salty, and savory flavors, creating a smooth and fragrant texture.

Vietnamese Ham Often Eaten With Fish Sauce
Vietnamese Ham Often Eaten With Fish Sauce – Source: Internet
Vietnamese ham is enjoyed for its distinct taste and cultural significance in Vietnam and is often used in various dishes, including the famous Vietnamese sandwich, bánh mì. The mixture is finely ground to ensure a smooth texture. It is then wrapped in banana leaves or plastic wrap, and the steaming or boiling process begins. This is where the flavors intensify, making Giò Lụa a beloved part of Vietnamese cuisine.
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Where to Savor Authentic Vietnamese Ham:

Experiencing Giò Lụa in Vietnam is a must for any food enthusiast. To savor the most authentic and delicious Giò Lụa, consider the following options:
  • Local Markets: Vietnam’s local markets, known as “chợ,” are a treasure trove of culinary delights. Here, you can find vendors selling fresh Giò Lụa made using traditional recipes. Engage with local sellers who are often passionate about their craft and willing to share their expertise. Taste the difference in regional variations by exploring markets in different parts of the country.
  • Supermarkets: Even supermarkets in Vietnam offer a wide range of Giò Lụa. You can find pre-packaged Giò Lụa in various styles, from classic to modern interpretations. These options are convenient and allow you to take a piece of Vietnamese cuisine home with you.
  • In Bánh Mì: One of the most popular ways to enjoy Giò Lụa is inside a bánh mì, the famous Vietnamese sandwich. Giò Lụa slices are often a key ingredient in these delectable creations. The combination of fresh baguette, crisp vegetables, aromatic herbs, and savory Giò Lụa makes for an irresistible culinary experience.
    Vietnamese Ham Is A Layer In Bánh Mì
    Vietnamese Ham Is A Layer In Bánh Mì – Source: Internet
  • Local Recommendations: When in Vietnam, don’t hesitate to ask locals for their favorite places to enjoy Giò Lụa. They can provide insights into hidden gems that may not be well-known to tourists. Additionally, consider reading reviews on platforms like Google to find highly-rated restaurants and eateries serving authentic Giò Lụa.

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Exploring Vietnamese Pork Roll Variations

Vietnamese cuisine is a tapestry of flavors, and its diverse range of dishes is a testament to the country’s culinary richness and cultural diversity. While Giò Lụa, the traditional Vietnamese pork roll, is well-known and cherished, there are other variations of this dish that offer their own unique flavors and cultural significance. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of these variations, including Chả Bì, Giò Thủ, and Chả Bò, and provide insight into their preparation and cultural relevance.

Chả Bì – Vietnamese Pork and Pork Skin Rolls

Chả Bì, also known as Vietnamese pork and pork skin rolls, is a dish deeply rooted in Vietnamese culinary tradition. It is celebrated for its unique combination of pork and pork skin, offering a distinct flavor and texture. This dish showcases the resourcefulness and creativity of Vietnamese cuisine, using various parts of the pig to create a delectable and resilient roll.

Chả Bì is prepared using a combination of pork meat and pork skin. The pork skin, with its fatty and resilient nature, adds a specific texture that sets it apart from traditional pork rolls. The mixture is seasoned with a variety of herbs, spices, and sometimes fish sauce, creating a harmonious flavor profile.

Pork with Pork Skin Roll
Pork with Pork Skin Roll – Source: Internet

The preparation process involves boiling the pork meat and skin, finely chopping them, and mixing them with the desired seasonings. The mixture is then wrapped in banana leaves or plastic wrap to set.

Chả Bì is usually served in thin slices, either as a standalone dish or as a filling in spring rolls. The contrast of textures and flavors, with the inclusion of both pork meat and skin, makes it a delightful addition to Vietnamese cuisine. Its unique characteristics make it a distinctive and appealing choice for those exploring the diverse range of Vietnamese dishes.

Giò Thủ – Vietnamese Head Cheese or Brawn

Giò Thủ, a Vietnamese pork sausage, is a regional delicacy commonly found in central Vietnam. What sets it apart from other pork rolls is the inclusion of pork skin in the mixture. The use of pork skin adds a unique texture and flavor to the dish, making it distinctively enjoyable.

The preparation of Giò Thủ involves a mixture of pork meat, skin, and additional ingredients. The pork skin is often thinly sliced, resulting in a pleasant chewy texture. The dish is seasoned with an array of herbs and spices to create a harmonious flavor profile.

Giò Thủ is often served as an appetizer or a side dish. It is typically accompanied by fresh herbs, rice paper, and dipping sauces, allowing diners to create their own fresh spring rolls. The combination of chewy pork skin, fresh herbs, and flavorful dipping sauces offers a unique dining experience.

Chả Bò – Vietnamese Beef Roll

While pork is the primary meat used in many Vietnamese dishes, Chả Bò, or Vietnamese beef roll, offers an alternative for those who prefer beef. This variation showcases the adaptability of Vietnamese cuisine to accommodate different meats.

Beef Roll with Brown Color
Beef Roll with Brown Color – Source: Internet

Chả Bò is prepared using lean beef, which is minced and mixed with spices, fish sauce, and other ingredients to create a flavorful and aromatic mixture. The mixture is wrapped in banana leaves or plastic wrap and then steamed or boiled, similar to other Vietnamese rolls.

Chả Bò can be enjoyed in various ways. It is often served as part of a larger spread of dishes, complementing the flavors of other Vietnamese specialties. Alternatively, it can be used as a filling in spring rolls, offering a different taste profile compared to the more commonly used pork fillings.

Chả Chiên – Vietnamese Fried Ham

Chả Chiên is a delightful variation of the traditional Vietnamese pork roll, incorporating the savory goodness of pork and the unique texture of pork skin. What sets Chả Chiên apart is the deep-frying process, which adds a crispy exterior while retaining the succulent interior. This dish reflects the ingenuity of Vietnamese cuisine in creating a harmonious contrast of textures and flavors.

Vietnamese Fried Ham
Vietnamese Fried Ham – Source: Internet

Chả Chiên features a mixture of pork meat, including fat, and lean meat, as well as pork skin. The combination of these ingredients contributes to a delicious and resilient texture.

The preparation begins with the meticulous chopping of the pork meat, skin, and other ingredients. The mixture is seasoned and spiced to achieve a well-balanced flavor profile. The deep-frying process transforms the roll, creating a crispy exterior while preserving the succulent interior.

Chả Chiên can be enjoyed in various ways. It is often served as a main dish, accompanied by rice or noodles, allowing diners to relish the delightful contrast between the crispy exterior and the tender, flavorful interior. It can also be used as a filling in spring rolls, where the crispy texture adds a satisfying crunch to the rolls.

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Preparing Vietnamese Ham at Home

Vietnamese cuisine is a culinary journey that many are eager to explore, and crafting authentic dishes at home is a rewarding endeavor. In this section, we’ll delve into the process of preparing Vietnamese ham, Giò Lụa, right in your own kitchen, bringing the flavors of Vietnam to your table.

Crafting Vietnamese Flavors in Your Kitchen

Preparing Vietnamese Dishes at Home: Bringing the taste of Vietnam to your home kitchen is a delightful and educational experience. To get started, consider exploring the following steps:

  • Gather Ingredients: Begin by collecting the necessary ingredients for Giò Lụa, which typically include ground pork, garlic, fish sauce, and sometimes pepper. These ingredients are readily available in many markets and grocery stores.
  • Access Authentic Recipes: There are numerous authentic Vietnamese recipes available online and in cookbooks. These recipes often provide step-by-step instructions, ensuring that you capture the true essence of Vietnamese cuisine.
  • Consider Cooking Classes: If you’re new to Vietnamese cooking, participating in a cooking class can be a great way to learn the techniques and nuances of preparing dishes like Giò Lụa. Many cooking schools and online platforms offer courses led by experienced chefs.

How to Make Vietnamese Ham: Giò Lụa

Making Giò Lụa, Vietnamese ham, is a precise and rewarding process that captures the essence of Vietnamese flavors. Here’s a basic overview of how to make Giò Lụa at home:


  • 500 grams of ground pork
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • Banana leaves or plastic wrap for wrapping


  • Prepare the Meat Mixture: In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, minced garlic, fish sauce, and pepper. Mix thoroughly to ensure even distribution of the seasonings.
  • Shape the Mixture: Take a portion of the meat mixture and form it into a cylindrical shape. The size can vary depending on your preference, but it’s typically about 2 inches in diameter.
  • Wrap in Banana Leaves or Plastic Wrap: Place the meat cylinder on a piece of banana leaf or plastic wrap and tightly roll it. Twist the ends to seal the roll securely.
  • Steam or Boil: Steam the wrapped meat for about 30-40 minutes, or you can also choose to boil it. The cooking process helps infuse the meat with flavors and gives it a smooth texture.
  • Cool and Slice: Once the Giò Lụa is cooked, allow it to cool. Then, slice it into thin rounds, revealing the distinctive texture and flavors.

Making Giò Lụa at home offers a unique and rewarding experience. The ability to control the ingredients and flavors allows you to tailor the dish to your liking. Whether served as part of a larger Vietnamese spread or in a bánh mì sandwich, the homemade Giò Lụa will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Vietnam.


In the diverse tapestry of Vietnamese cuisine, Giò Lụa and its variations stand as cultural treasures. From Northern to Southern regions, these dishes celebrate the rich heritage of Vietnam. We encourage foreign tourists to embark on a culinary adventure, savoring these flavors in the bustling markets, local eateries, and homes across the country. Your journey into Vietnamese culture is not complete without a taste of its authentic dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Make Vietnamese Ham (Giò Lụa)?

  • Ingredients: To make Giò Lụa, you’ll need ground pork, garlic, fish sauce, and sometimes pepper. Mix these ingredients thoroughly.
  • Shape and Wrap: Form the mixture into a cylindrical shape and wrap it tightly in banana leaves or plastic wrap.
  • Steam or Boil: Steam the wrapped mixture for about 30-40 minutes or boil it to infuse the flavors.
  • Cool and Slice: Once cooked, allow it to cool, then slice it into thin rounds for a taste of authentic Vietnamese ham.

How to Make Banh Mi?

  • Ingredients: For a delicious Banh Mi, you’ll need fresh cucumber, grilled pork, and Vietnamese ham like Giò Lụa.
  • Preparation: Slice the cucumber thinly, marinate the grilled pork for a flavorful touch, and use Giò Lụa for a savory twist.
  • Assembly: Layer these ingredients in a fresh baguette, and top with herbs and pickled vegetables for a perfect Banh Mi.

What Is Vietnamese Ham?

Vietnamese Ham: Giò Lụa, commonly known as Vietnamese ham, is a traditional delicacy made from ground pork, garlic, and fish sauce. It is shaped, tightly wrapped in banana leaves or plastic, and steamed or boiled to create a blend of sweet, salty, and savory flavors. Giò Lụa is a staple in various Vietnamese dishes, including Banh Mi, and reflects the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam.