Food in Vietnam
Food plays an important role on Vietnamese culture and Vietnamese cuisine is one the most popular cuisine all over the world because of its freshness, subtle flavors and harmonious taste. And the diversity in Vietnamese cuisine of each region also helps visitors discover the difference of its local lifestyle, culture and tradition along this beautiful country.
Due to cultural integration from countries in the region and in the world, vegetarian and vegan cuisines also become popular in Vietnam with various restaurant choices in the major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Even there are some available Halal food restaurants for Malaysian, Indonesian and Indian in Vietnam. In some smaller places such as Hoi An and Nha Trang also have some delicious vegetarian restaurants too.
Vietnam Cuisine Culture
Vietnam is an agricultural country, even considered a “bowl of rice” in the world. So it is not surprising for rice to become the main ingredient in all Vietnamese traditional dishes. The Vietnamese also has chopsticks culture to eat all meals from hard foods to soft ones like Bun Cha, Pho, Banh Cuon, etc. Another lovely characteristic in authentic Vietnamese lifestyle is that they are easily satisfied with everything. For example, in eating habits, only need plastic tables and chairs on the streets can give them perfect moments to enjoy food. That is the reason why street food is extremely flourished in every corner of Vietnam.
Typical Vietnamese Dishes
Below are recommended Vietnamese dishes for visitors planning to come Vietnam. Hope it will be an inspiration resource for your Vietnam vacation.
Sticky Rice (Xoi)
Xoi – Sticky Rice is a traditional Vietnamese local snack. As it names, sticky rice is made from glutinous rice, steamed or cooked, a breakfast favorite, usually sold by vendors in the early morning market, but also can be found in restaurants serving Vietnamese traditional food. There are many kinds of sticky rice in Vietnam, depending on cooking style, taste or individual creativity. Some typical sticky rice are Xoi Do Xanh (Green Bean sticky rice), Xoi Xeo (turmeric flavoured sticky rice served with powdered green beans and topped with fried shallots), Xôi lạc (sticky rice with peanuts), Xôi ngô (stick rice with corn) and Xôi đậu đen (sticky rice with black beans), especially Xoi Ga (chicken sticky rice) – particularly liked in the central region.
Pho is one of the most famous Vietnamese traditional dishes, and maybe the most well-know brand of Pho in the world is “Pho Thin”. Pho Vietnam is a harmonious blend of “Banh Pho” or rice soft noodles, some slices of meat – normally beef or chicken, fresh herbs and unique consommé, which made from simmering bone of the chicken, pork or beef. Vietnamese people usually eat Pho for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Besides its nutritional values, Pho has reasonable price and wonderful taste, all of which make it popular in the world and there are plentiful variations to suit with taste of local residents in each region.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Vietnamese spring rolls are one of the most famous Vietnamese traditional dishes, which are loved by lots of travellers and locals. Its main ingredients are greens, coriander, seasonal vegetables, “Bun” or rice vermicelli and either pork, shrimp or crab, before being wrapped tightly into a rice paper. Especially, it is used with a unique dipping sauce, usually either sweet chili or peanut sauce, which is made up with a unique recipe to make this dish become really special.
Banh Mi origins from influence of French colonial period into Southern Vietnam firstly, then spreading into Northern and whole Vietnam. Traditional Banh Mi or Vietnam sandwich is the wonderful combination of pork, pate, Vietnamese herbs and fresh vegetables such as carrot, cucumber, coriander, all of which are put into inside white bread to eat.
Banh Xeo (Crispy Pancake)
Banh Xeo is one of the famous street foods in Vietnam, made of rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric. This “Vietnamese pancake” has a yellow outer layer and is filled with vermicelli noodles, chicken, pork or beef slices, shrimps, spring onions, beansprouts, and mushrooms. All of them are rolled tightly and dipped into a fermented peanut sauce before enjoying it.
Vietnamese Cuisine is also deeply affected by western cuisine, Bo Ne is typical for this influence – Vietnam’s version of “Steak and egg”. It comprises a thin slice of beefsteak, fried eggs and a white bread, all of them are served on a sizzling iron platter.
There can also be tomato, a spicy meatball, sausage, greens or whatever else the cook fancies. Bo Ne is a taste of the real Vietnam, really stimulating all the senses.
Bun Cha is one of the soul of Hanoi Cuisine with grilled pork and noodles. It is severed with grilled fatty pork over a plate of white rice noodle, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs with a bowl of a side specialty dipping sauce.
Vietnam has a cross-country long coastline, which bring a diverse resource of seafood. Visitors can find a lot of seafood restaurants in Vietnam. Among seafood, fish is the most popular, then shrimp and crab, which are usually cooked in Vietnamese spring rolls and other noodle soups.
Cao Lau – Hoi An
Cao Lau is a local traditional dish in Hoi An. Walking down any corner of Hoi An ancient town, you will see its images outside every restaurant. It is served with yellow rice noodles with shrimp, pork, fresh vegetables and herbs as well as little bit consommé. It has become the pride of Hoi An ancient town cuisine.
Vietnamese Hot Pot
Lau or Vietnamese hot pot is other famous dish in Vietnam. It consists of a big consommé pot and main ingredients, cooked inside the consommé pot. To make a perfect bold consommé pot, cooker will simmer the bone of chicken, pork or beef and extra ingredients such as carrot, tomato, potato, pineapple, pepper, etc. After that, this pot will be put at the center of dinning table. Next, main ingredients are gradually put into inside the pot to cook them. They are included meat such as seafood, fish, chicken or beef, fresh vegetables such as cabbage, water morning glory, mugwort, etc. The special thing is that they are eaten with a dipping sauce to stimulate the taste. Vietnamese hot pot is appreciated about nutrition due to fresh ingredients and especially many fresh vegetable to be side eaten.
Drink in Vietnam
Coffee has absorbed into Vietnam since French colony and quickly become a favorite drink of the Vietnamese. Even nowadays, Vietnam became the world’s second largest coffee producing and exporting country. Thanks to tropical climate, Vietnamese coffee beans brings a strong and flavorful taste, make it quickly stimulate every user’s sense. Besides extremely famous original ice-coffee, there are a lot of variations of Vietnamese coffee, such as the use of yoghurt, eggs and even fruit, which help this famous drink develop a style of its own.
An egg coffee is one of the famous creativity of the Vietnamese. It is made from egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee. It originated in Hanoi when a Hanoian used whisked egg yolk to replace for fresh milk, which was scarce in Vietnam in the late 1940s. The egg yolks are hand-whipped with milk and sugar, then boiled. Then hot coffee is poured into the beaten eggs to form a beautiful and aromatic foam. The foam will usually be enjoyed before drinking the coffee at the bottom. It is a must-try drink when anyone come Vietnam.
Tea drinking is considered a hobby of the Vietnamese, especially old generations. With a wide range of varieties, tea in Vietnam can be separated into three main categories: green tea, plain black tea – Tra Man, and scented tea- Tra Uop Huong. Thanks to bold and aromatic taste, drinking a cup of tea in the morning bring wakefulness and energy for a whole working day.
Beer is a Vietnamese favorite refreshing drink, which has been brought to Vietnam since French colonial period. It is usually drunk by a mug with ice cubes rather than by bottles or cans. There are three famous kinds of beer in Vietnam, including draft beer, craft beer and bottled beer. In Vietnamese beer drinking culture, everyone usually say “yooo” means “cheers” in English to make some noise and eating with some delicious food such as deep fried salted chicken feet, fermented raw sausage or some snack such as grilled peanuts, grilled squid and French fries.