Vietnamese cusine traditionally combines five fundamental flavors: spicy (metal), sour (wood), bitter (fire), salty (water) and sweet (earth). Taling influence from both Chinese and Thai cooking styles it is considered one of the healthiest cusines in the world, rich in fresh ingredients and unique flavor combinations.

The basis of most meals is rice or rice noodles along with meat, seafood and plenty of herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables. Shirmp paste and fish sauce forms the foudation of most stocks and result in deep, flavorsome broths.

If you aren’t keen on trying new things then don’t worry, you won’t starve. There are plenty of fast food and tourist restaurants serving international food – at tourist prices.

If you want to fully embrace the Vietnamese lifestyle then try as much local food as you can. Eat with the locals at the side of the road and you will be rewarded with some of the tastiest (and cheapest) meals of your whole life.

If you are vegetarian then you are in for a treat, wholesome and delicious meat free food is available everywhere and comes in so many different forms. Vietnamese for vegetarian is “chay”, just say this to the vendor and they will understand. This can also be a great word to use if you are a little dubious as to what the “mystery meat” on display is and think that going veggie is the safer option.

Pho (Rice Noodle): A delicious, rich rice noodle soup with so many varieties it’s impossible to count. It’s cheap, it’s tasty and event better – you can have it for breakfast. The complex, rich broth usually contains beef or chicken and is flavored with fish sauce, chili, bean sprouts, herbs and other secret ingredients that the famous Pho houses will never reveal.

Northern Pho tends to have a clear broth whereas Sounthern Pho has a cloudy, murky soup. You should try them both and compare!

Banh mi – The daddy of all sandwiches! Few are aware that Vietnam is considered to have some of the best sandwiches in the world. Banh mi translates to “bread”, or more specifically “baguette” in Vietnamese and boy are you in for a treat.

The freshly baked baguette is stuffed with pork, sausages, pate, meatballs or fish as well as salad, cheese and mayo – anything that your heart desires! A dash of soya sauce usually completes this sandwich masterpiece. You will often find a list of sandwiches but if you can’t determine the content then pointing to what you want usually works.

Lau – Classic hot pot but with a typical Vietnamese twist. A vat of hot broth is placed in the middle of the table, usually on a heat element or hot coals to keep it hot. You then add the ingredients that you want to complete the dish. Add seafood, thinly slided meat, vegetables and noodles then allow it to all cook together and let the favours infuse. This dish is warm, hearty and a novel way to enjoy a meal with friends or family.

Goi cuon – Literally translating to “salad roll” these are the healthier, but equally tasty, equivalent of friend spring rolls. Crunchy vegetables, shirm and meat are wrapped in little sheets of rice paper.

Bun cha – A moreish dish found at most food stalls, especially in Hanoi. These tiny little meat patties are like mini hamburger. Yum!

Banh xeo – It literally translates to “sizzling pancake” and it certainly doesn’t lie! These monster-sized pancakes are packed with shrimp, meat, bean sprouts and egg. Dip them in some chili sauce to really finish the dish off.

Chao – Traditional Vietnamese rice porridge, it is cheap, thick and hearty. Great if you are feeling a little under the weather (or a little hung-over). The porridge is topped with slided meat or offal and usually has fried dough strips on top.

Nuoc cham – Not technically a dish in itself but probably the one thing you will eat most of while you are in Vietnam. It’s the sweat and spicy dipping sauce that accompanies most dishes. Every region and restaurant has their own versions of this chilli sambal so make it your mission to try as many as possible.

Che – A delicious sweet dessert, a cross between a pudding and soup usually topped with variety of dried or jellied fruits. It’s super sweet and super sticky!

Nguồn: Vietnam paradise or hell – Giang Pham

 

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