Fresh vegetables, herbs and spices constitute most Vietnamese dishes.user rating
The three major regions of Vietnam—north, central and south—have cultivated specific variations on a cuisine that is reliant on fresh vegetables, herbs and spices. Central Vietnam stands apart with its use of very spicy chilies and serving numerous small dishes. The north’s proximity to the border of China reflects in the food with soy sauce appearing in dishes, while the cuisine of the southern region is more influenced by the French colonial era. The commonalities lie in the ingredients, with fish sauce (nuoc mam) being the most popular addition, and all regions serving a platter of sides to complement meals, such as cucumbers, bean threads, slices of hot pepper, and sprigs of basil, coriander, mint and herbs. An ideal culinary adventure for vegetarians, Vietnam has a plethora of Buddhist vegetarian dishes based on rice, legumes, vegetables and little oil, making its food healthful and delicious. Noodle soups are eaten all times of day; beef noodle soup (pho), is seen as a fast, but tasty, food in the cities.
Rice and fruits and vegetables are cultivated in or near the two massive river deltas that run through Vietnam (the Red River Delta and the fertile Mekong Delta are separated by mountain ranges). The rivers and coastline brings crab, shrimp, squid, mussels and a variety of fish. Many of the meats will be familiar, such as pork, beef, and chicken, but you may encounter a bite of snake or dog meat, or even some turtle soup.—Denise Shoukas