Vietnamese Cuisine – Unique Dishes That Excite Your Taste Buds

Vietnamese cuisine is well loved around the world and Vietnamese restaurants are popping up in many Western and European cities. To experience the true exotic yet light taste of Vietnamese cooking, you should take a trip to this unique country and sample dishes that are authentically made. You would experience a gastronomical delight. Vietnamese cooks utilize fresh foods in their dishes and use little oil or fats which makes their cuisine one of the healthiest food choices you can make.

Rice is grown abundantly in Vietnam and forms the basis of many meals. Usual Vietnamese meal would include a rice and meat dish or a rice and vegetable dish. When served traditionally, each person has a bowl of rice and the main dish is shared. Vietnamese cuisine is often compared to Chinese food and they are similar, yet different from each other. Vietnamese food is much lighter than Chinese and relies heavily on fish sauce for seasoning.

Other common seasonings used in Vietnamese cooking include ginger, lemongrass, curry powder, onions, garlic, vinegar, and sugar. Fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, mint, coriander, and fennel are also used. Cooks aim to create meals that have the perfect balance of spicy, salty, sour, sweet, and bitter. Much Vietnamese cuisine is vegetarian but you will also find all kinds of seafood specialties as well as dishes made with pork, beef, and chicken.

The geography and climate of Vietnam divides the country into three distinct parts and each of these has their own variation upon traditional dishes. North Vietnam for example, uses fewer spices but uses more cold weather vegetables like broccoli, daikon, and radish. South Vietnam has been heavily influenced by Chinese immigrants and French colonists. The dishes from this region tend to be sweeter and use more herbs. Many Vietnamese restaurants in the United States borrow heavily from South Vietnamese cuisine. Central Vietnam is known for its abundance of seafood and custom of serving many small side dishes with meals.

Some popular Vietnamese dishes include:

Bun cha – A grilled pork dish served with vermicelli noodles, salad greens, cucumbers, bean sprouts and herbs. This dish is sometimes garnished with shrimp and roasted peanuts.

Mi xao don – Fried noodles served with seafood, shrimp, and vegetables covered in gravy.

Mi bo vien – An egg noodle soup with meatballs and raw steak.

Bun oc – Soup made with vermicelli and sea snails.

Com ga rau thom – A rice and chicken dish that is flavored with fried mint and herb sauce.

Banh bao – Steamed dumpling pockets that may be stuffed with vegetables, mushrooms, pork, or quail eggs.

Bo kho – A beef stew flavored with spicy herbs.

Many tourists to Vietnam fall in love with Vietnamese coffee. It is served both hot and iced. It has an intense flavor that is derived from using a combination of beans that are delicately roasted. The coffee is coarsely ground and brewed using a Vietnamese drip filter. The drip filter is a small metal filter that makes coffee a cup at a time so it retains the full flavor of the coffee oils. The coffee can be consumed black, mixed with condensed milk, or mixed with condensed milk and ice.

Vietnamese cuisine has something to offer everyone. The food is fragrant, light, and healthy. It is suitable for vegetarians and meat lovers and everyone in between. If you can’t take a trip to Vietnam, the next best thing is to visit a Vietnamese restaurant near you. Your taste buds will be glad you did!