What are some traditional foods from Vietnam

Food in Vietnam

On your journey through Vietnam you will quickly realize: Vietnamese cuisine is versatile and rich in spices and taste nuances, but relatively unknown in the West. The Vietnamese are traditionally farmers and, due to the history of the 20th century, also relatively poor. A variety comparable to the Chinese cuisine cannot be found. Most of Vietnam's dishes are based on rice and noodles. Traditionally, three to four different dishes are served when eating: rice or noodles, a fish or meat dish, vegetables and a soup. The more affluent a Vietnamese family is, the more varied the dishes are. The four different dishes are characterized primarily by their different preparation and the taste of the food. Sauces, like the sweet and sour sauce so popular in China, are unknown to Vietnamese cuisine.

Traditional dishes from the north are very Chinese. Mainly meat and fish dishes, rice pancakes and noodle soups can be found here. One of the most famous dishes in Ha Noi is pho, a noodle soup with vegetables and meat. It is so popular that it can now be found all over Vietnam as a meal at any time of the day. There is even a fast food chain that offers different varieties. The bun, mi and hu tieu noodle soup differ in the type of noodles: wheat, rice and glass noodles. This meal is also served with shrimp, fish, meat, chicken and vegetables. A variant to be found in the south of Vietnam that is not easily digestible for European stomachs, but very tasty, is the bun mam, which is cooked with fish and fish sauce.

Central Vietnam, one of the poorest regions in Vietnam, only has a fairly simple cuisine. In many restaurants there are hardly any rice dishes (of course, this does not apply to centers such as Da Nang, Hue or Hoi An, but to the country). Hue has the most sophisticated cuisine and the most delicious food in the region. Here, guests should definitely try the dishes from the imperial court kitchen. Hue also has the hottest cuisine in the country. However, Vietnam does not come close to the Thai spiciness when eating.

Southern cuisine is particularly familiar with banh xeo, a type of rice pancake in which vegetables, duck meat (or chicken, beef, pork) and shrimp are baked. These are then wrapped in rice paper with vegetables and herbs and eaten with fish sauce. The Mekong Delta is famous for its fish specialties such as cooked catfish (ca loc nuong) and elephant ear fish. The canh chua (sweet and sour soup) - a stew made from fish with vegetables that is both sweet and sour when eaten is part of the simpler, yet tasty cuisine.

Holidaymakers who do without meat can breathe a sigh of relief: There are rice and pasta dishes in many variations with vegetables. Vietnamese are Buddhists, but they only eat vegetarian two days a month, the first and 15th day of the lunar month. Vegetarian restaurants can be found near temples and monasteries. Vegan cuisine is also offered. Some guests are also lucky and are spontaneously invited to dinner when they visit a monastery (don't forget a small donation!).

A tip for your trip to Vietnam: Vietnamese people traditionally eat with chopsticks, but certain foods only go with a fork and spoon - knives are never used. Rice dishes are eaten with a spoon. The Vietnamese are fascinated to watch foreign holidaymakers in restaurants as they try to use chopsticks to convey small grains of rice from the bowl. There's no shame in using a spoon here! This is also common in Vietnamese cuisine, but the bowl is brought to the mouth and the rice is shoveled. Many vacationers fear meat dishes during their trip to Vietnam as they are afraid of being served dog meat. Dog is one of the delicacies in Vietnam - which is unimaginable for European standards. It is expensive. A cook who would serve guests a dog instead of beef could soon close his restaurant. It would be like being served a steak instead of a schnitzel. Dog meat is offered in special places. There is no regulatory office for meat, but guests can be sure that it is fresh. The best advice: just eat where many Vietnamese eat out every day. That means a little observation time, but guests should look suspiciously at restaurants that are empty and are also avoided by Vietnamese (maybe the prices are just too expensive for Vietnamese!).

Food in Vietnam:
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Eating in Vietnam doesn't always have to take place in a European-themed restaurant! Guests should allow themselves a few days to get used to and then go on a culinary journey of discovery. Then Vietnamese cuisine is also fun!