Thai vs Vietnamese Cuisine: What’s the Difference?

January 18, 2021
IN Thai Cuisine

It’s a Saturday night, and you’re wondering what to order for dinner. You know you’re craving Asian food, but what kind? There are many popular types of Asian cuisine, whether it’s Thai, Chinese, Japanese, or Vietnamese. 

To help you narrow down your choices, let’s take a look at the differences in Thai vs. Vietnamese cuisine. Thailand and Vietnam have rich cultures with food to match. Your mouth will be watering in no time.


While Thai and Vietnamese cuisines are different, they do have some similarities. Many types of Asian food share similar ingredients. Common ingredients are rice, noodles, ginger, and chili sauce. 

Peanuts are often used in both Thai and Vietnamese dishes. The similarities mostly stop there. Thai food has an Indian influence, whereas Vietnamese food has a French influence.

Popular Dishes

You can find many differences by observing the most popular dishes of each cuisine. 

One of the most popular Thai dishes is pad Thai. Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish. Our pad Thai at Thai Ginger is some of the best Thai food in Seattle. It won the “Best Bite of Seattle” award!

Other popular Thai dishes are green curries and tom yum, which is a flavorful chicken or shrimp soup.

The most popular Vietnamese dish is pho. Pho is a broth-based soup with rice noodles, meat, and herbs. The French influence shows in the popular banh mi sandwich. Banh mi is a crispy baguette sandwich with pork and pickled vegetables.

While both cuisines often use vegetables, Thai food usually features stir-fried vegetables. Vietnamese food most often uses fresh, raw vegetables.

Cooking Process

Cooking Vietnamese dishes is usually simpler than cooking Thai food. Vietnamese dishes often have a simple base, such as beef broth. In general, the number of ingredients is less than in Thai dishes.

The Vietnamese cooking process consists of boiling, steaming, deep-frying, and stir-frying. 

Thai dishes use more base ingredients. There is a large emphasis on the use of coconut milk and shrimp paste

The Thai cooking process is usually achieved through stir-frying, grilling, tossing, and deep-frying. 

Spices and Flavor Profiles

The handling of spices is different in both cuisines. Spices are added separately by the person eating Vietnamese food. But with Thai food, spices are immersed in the cooking process.

In regards to spiciness, Thai food is generally spicier than Vietnamese food. Since you add the spice yourself to Vietnamese food, you could leave it out entirely.

With Thai food, chile pepper is often used, and the spice is incorporated in the dish. If spicy food isn’t your thing, you can always specify your preferred spice level on your restaurant order. 

Another flavor difference is acidity. While both Thai and Vietnamese food use sweet and hot flavors, Thai cuisine features more acidity than Vietnamese food.

Thai vs. Vietnamese Choices

Now that you know the difference between Thai vs. Vietnamese food, you’re probably hungry. Have you decided what you want for dinner?

If you’re in the mood for the best Thai food in Bellevue or Seattle, we’re happy to serve you. Order Thai Ginger online to place your take-out or delivery order!

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