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Vietnamese cuisine encompasses the foods and beverages of Vietnam. Regular ingredients include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. Vietnamese recipes utilize lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander and Thai basil leaves. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of oil, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. Vietnamese food is often ranked as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.
The mainstream culinary traditions in all three regions of Vietnam share some fundamental features:
While sharing some key features, Vietnamese culinary tradition differs from region to region.
In northern Vietnam, colder climate limits the production and availability of spices. As a result, the foods here are often less spicy than those in other regions. Black pepper is used in place of chiles as the most popular ingredient to produce spicy flavors. In general, Northern Vietnamese cuisine is not bold in any particular flavor—sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, or sour. Most northern Vietnamese foods feature light and balanced flavors that result from subtle combinations of many different flavoring ingredients. The use of meats such as pork, beef, and chicken were relatively limited in the past. Freshwater fish, crustaceans, and mollusks—such as prawns, squids, shrimps, crabs, clams, mussels—are widely used. Many notable dishes of northern Vietnam are crab-centered (e.g., bún riêu). Fish sauce, soy sauce, prawn sauce, and limes are among the main flavoring ingredients. Being the cradle of Vietnamese civilization, northern Vietnam produces many signature dishes of Vietnam, such as phở, bún riêu, and bánh cuốn, which were carried to central and southern Vietnam through the road of Vietnamese migration.
The abundance of spices produced by central Vietnam’s mountainous terrain makes this region’s cuisine notable for its spicy food, which sets it apart from the two other regions of Vietnam where foods are mostly non-spicy. Once the capital of the last dynasty of Vietnam, Hue’s culinary tradition features highly decorative and colorful food, reflecting the influence of ancient Vietnamese royal cuisine. The region’s cuisine is also notable for its sophisticated meals constituted by many complex dishes served in small portions. Chili peppers and shrimp sauces are among the frequently used ingredients. Some Vietnamese signature dishes produced in central Vietnam are bún bò Huế and bánh xèo.
The warm weather and fertile soil of southern Vietnam create an ideal condition for growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and livestock. As a result, foods in southern Vietnam are often vibrant and flavorful with liberal uses of garlic, shallots, and fresh herbs. Sugar is added to food more than in the other regions. The preference for sweetness in southern Vietnam can also be seen through the widespread use of coconut milk in southern Vietnamese cuisine. Vast shorelines make seafood a natural staple for people in this region. Southern Vietnam has also been the region where influences from foreign cuisines (Chinese, Indian, French, Thai, etc.) are most prominent
As distinct as Vietnamese cuisine is, it has been influenced by several sources.
Due to historical contact with China, Vietnam shares many of its characteristics with China. In culinary traditions, the Chinese introduced to Vietnam many dishes, including hoành thánh (wonton), xá xíu (char siu), há cảo (har gow), hủ tiếu (ka tieu), mì (wheat noodles), bò bía (popiah), bánh quẩy (youtiao), mooncake and bánh pía (Suzhou style mooncake), bánh tổ (nian gao), sủi dìn (tang yuan), bánh bò, bánh bao (baozi), cơm chiên Dương Châu (Yangzhou-fried rice), mì xào (chow mein). The Vietnamese adopted these foods and added their own styles and flavors to the foods. Ethnic minorities in the mountainous region near the China–Vietnam border also adopted some foods from China. Ethnic Tày and Nùng in Lạng Sơn province adopted thịt lợn quay (roasted pork) and khau nhục (braised pork belly) from China. Some New World vegetables, such as chilli and maize, also made way to Vietnam from the Ming dynasty.
The French introduced baguettes to Vietnam, which were then combined with Vietnamese stuffing to become a popular fast food in Vietnam called bánh mì and known overseas as “Vietnamese sandwich”. The French also brought to Vietnam onions, cauliflower, lettuce, potatoes, tarragon, carrot, artichoke, asparagus, and coffee. Onions are called hành tây (literally “Western shallots”), asparagus as măng tây (literally “Western bamboo shoots”) and potatoes are called khoai tây (literally “Western yam”) in Vietnamese, which reflect their origin before arriving in Vietnam. French-influenced dishes are numerous and not limited to: xà lách (salad), pâté, patê sô (a Brittany pasty called "paté chaud), bánh sừng trâu (croissant), bánh flan, ya ua (yogurt), rôti (rotisserie), bơ (butter), vịt nấu cam (duck à l'orange), ốp lết (omelette), ốp la (œufs au plat), phạc xi (farcies), bít tết (beefsteak), sốt vang (cooking with wine), dăm bông (jambon), xúc xích (saucisse).
During the 17th century, contact with Siam and merchants from India lead to the adoption of curry in Vietnamese cuisine. Though not common in the north, cà ri is a quite popular dish in central and southern Vietnam. The most common form is the chicken curry and to a lesser extent, the goat curry. The chicken curry is an indispensable dish in many social gathering events such as weddings, funerals and the yearly death anniversary of a loved one. In Vietnam, curry is eaten either with the French baguettes or with steamed rice. The round rice noodles (rice vermicelli) are sometimes eaten with curry.
Vietnamese cuisine also has Khmer influences with the adoption of mắm bồ hóc (prahok). Mắm bồ hóc is used as a central ingredient of a Vietnamese rice noodle soup called bún nước lèo.
With the contact with communist countries from Eastern Europe, the Vietnamese adopted dishes such as stuffed cabbage soup, xà lách Nga (Russian salad) and Czech beer.
From Thai cuisine, Vietnamese adopted xôi xoài (mango sticky rice) and lẩu Thái (Thai hotpot) – a very popular party food in Vietnam, especially in Saigon. Recently, the Koreans and Japanese also introduced mì Hàn Quốc and mù tạt wasabi.
Common Vietnamese methods usually observed in preparing all ingredients include:
A typical meal for the average Vietnamese family would include:
All dishes except individual bowls of rice are communal and are to be shared in the middle of the table. It is also customary for the younger to ask the elders to eat first and the women sit right next to the rice pot to serve rice for other people. They also pick up food to each other as an action of care.
Feast (Vietnamese: cỗ, tiệc) is a significant event for families or a villages, usually up to 12 people for each table. Feast is prepared for weddings, funerals and festivals, including the wish-for-longevity ceremony. In a feast, ordinary foods are not served but boiled rice is still used. The well-known feast is the feast of 49 quan họ villages with cỗ năm tầng.
Vietnamese feast has two courses: main course (món mặn. Literally: salty dish) and dessert (món ngọt. Literally: sweet dish). All dishes, except for individual bowls of rice, are enjoyed collectively. All main course dishes are served simultaneously rather than one after another. The major dish of the main course is placed in the centers of the tables, usually big pots of soup or hotpot.
Attendants are arranged into several groups according to their social status, genders, ages, their degree of acquantaince and their eating habits and preferences. It is a custom that female guests will bring some food and help the hosts to prepare the feast.
A basic feast (cỗ một tầng) consists of ten dishes: five dishes in bowls (năm bát): bóng, miến (cellophane noodles), măng (bamboo shoot), mọc (meatball), chim or gà tần (bird or chicken stew dishes) and five dishes in plates (năm đĩa): giò (Vietnamese sausage), chả, gà or vịt luộc (boiled chicken or duck), nộm (Vietnamese salad) and xào (stir-frying dishes). This kind of feast is original and is organized in the Northern Vietnam. Other variations are found in Central and Southern Vietnam.
Four dishes are indispensable in the feast of Tết are giò (Vietnamese sausage), nem (spring roll), ninh (stew dishes) and mọc (meat ball). At this time, the feast for offering ancestors includes sticky rice, boiled chicken, Vietnamese rice wine, and other preferred foods by ancestors in the past.
Gifts are given before guests leave the feast.
In Nguyễn dynasty, 50 best chefs were selected in to Thượng Thiện board all over the kingdom to serve the King. There are 3 meals per day, 12 dishes in breakfast and 66 dishes in lunch and dinner (including 50 main dishes and 16 sweets). An essential dish is bird's nest soup (Vietnamese language: tổ yến). Others are: fish fin (vi cá), abalone (bào ngư), deer's tendon (gân nai), bear' hands (tay gấu), rhinoceros' skin (da tê giác), etc. Water must come from Hàm Long well, Báo Quốc pagoda, Cam Lồ well near Thúy Vân mountain's bottom or from the source of Hương river. Rice is de variety coming from An Cựu imperial rice field. Phước Tích clay pots for cooking rice was used one time only. Except for Thượng Thiện board members, no one are allowed to have any contact with cooked dishes. The dishes then are given to eunuchs before passing to the King' wives, and at last, being offered to the King. The King enjoy meals (Vietnamese: ngự thiện) alone in comfortable musical space. (ref: Vietnamese language: ).
Outside of Vietnam, Vietnamese cuisine is widely available in countries with strong Vietnamese immigrant communities, such as Australia, the United States, Canada, and France. Vietnamese cuisine is also popular in Japan, Korea, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, and Russia, and in areas with dense Asian populations. In recent years, Vietnamese cuisine has become popular in other Southeast Asian countries such as Laos, and Thailand. Dishes that have become trademarks of Vietnamese cuisine are phở, gỏi cuốn (spring/summer rolls), bún, and bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich).
Television shows featuring Vietnamese food have increased its publicity. On The Great Food Truck Race, a Vietnamese sandwich truck called Nom Nom Truck received the most money in the first five episodes. Anthony Bourdain wrote for the Financial Times in 2005:
A year from now, I plan to live here. I will move to a small fishing village in a coastal area of Vietnam near Hoi An. I have no idea what I'm going to do there, other than write about the experience. I plan only on being a visual curiosity, the lone westerner in a Vietnamese community; to rent a house, move in with few, if any, expectations and let the experience wash over me. Whatever happens, happens.
The principle of yin and yang is applied in composing a meal in a way that provides a balance that is beneficial for the body. While contrasting texture and flavors are important, the principal primarily concerns the "heating" and "cooling" properties of ingredients. Certain dishes are served in their respective seasons to provide contrasts in temperature and spiciness of the food and environment.
Some examples are:
|Spices (ngũ vị)||Sour||Bitter||Sweet||Spicy||Salty|
|Organs (ngũ tạng)||Gall Bladder||Small Intestine||Stomach||Large Intestine||Urinary Bladder|
|Colors (ngũ sắc)||Green||Red||Yellow||White||Black|
|Senses (năm giác quan)||Visual||Taste||Touch||Smell||Sound|
|Nutrients (ngũ chất)||Powder||Fat||Protein||Minerals||Water|
Many Vietnamese dishes include five spices (ngũ vị) that correspond to five organs (ngũ tạng). Vietnamese dishes typically include five types of nutrients (ngũ chất) in addition to five colours (ngũ sắc) when possible. Dishes in Vietnam appeal to gastronomes via the five senses (năm giác quan) by the use of food arrangement for the visual, crispy ingredients for the sound, five spices for the taste, aromatic herbs for the smell, and contrasting texture and consistency for the touch.
Salt is used as the connection between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Bánh phu thê is used to remind new couples of perfection and harmony at their weddings. Food is often placed at the ancestral altar as an offering to the dead. Cooking and eating play an extremely important role in Vietnamese culture. The word ăn (eat) is included in a great number of proverbs and has a large range of semantic extensions.
|This section may need to be wikified to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (June 2012)|
Vietnamese cuisine is reflective of the Vietnamese lifestyle from the preparation to how the food is served.
Going through long phases of war, political conflicts, as well as cultural shifts, the vast majority of the Vietnamese people have been living in poverty. Therefore, the ingredients for Vietnamese food are often very inexpensive but nonetheless, the way they are cooked together to create a yin-yang balance make the food simple in look but rich in flavor.
Due to economic condition, maximizing the use of ingredients to save money has become a tradition in Vietnamese cooking. In earlier decades and even nowadays in rural areas, every part of a cow is used, from the tasty meat to the gamy intestines; nothing is wasted. The same goes for vegetables like scallions: the leafy part is diced into small bits which are used to add flavor to the food while the crunchy stock and roots are re-planted.
Nước Mắm (Fish Sauce) is the most commonly used and symbolic condiment in Vietnamese cooking. It is made from fermented raw fish, and is served with most of the Vietnamese dishes. Vietnamese cuisines are not known for ingredients with top quality, but rather for the very inexpensive and simple scraps that are creatively mixed together to create dishes with bold flavor. A traditional Southern Vietnamese meal usually includes Cơm Trắng (plain white rice,) Cá Kho Tộ (catfish in a clay pot,) Canh Chua Cá Lóc (Sour Soup with Snakehead fish,) and it will not be completed without Nước Mắm (Fish Sauce) as a condiment. The average cost for a complete meal for a Vietnamese family is most often less than $3, but it is never less delicious and satisfying. Dishes are prepared not for the look, but are served family style to bring everyone together after a long day of work.
Despite being a small country in Southeast Asia, the food from each region in Vietnam carry their distinctive and unique characteristic that portray the geographical and living condition of the people there. The traditional Southern Vietnamese meal is made up of fresh ingredients that only the fertile Mekong Delta could provide like Cá Lóc, and a wide range of tropical fruit like Măng Cụt (Mangosteen,) Hồng DÒn, Xoài Cát (Mango,) Thanh Long (Dragon fruit,) etc. To sum it up, the Southern style diet is very 'green' with vegetable, fish and tropical fruits as the main ingredients. Central Vietnam is the region in which food is prepared with the strongest, boldest flavor. This region is constantly under harsh weather condition all throughout the year, so people here do not have as many green ingredients as others do in the North and South of Vietnam. Instead, the coastline around the Central Vietnam area is known for its salt and fish sauce industries, these two condiments are central to their daily diet. Northern Vietnamese cuisine has a strong Chinese influence, and its iconic dish is Phở. While rice is a staple in the Southern Vietnamese diet, the North has a preference for noodles. Due to the drastic differences in climate, lifestyles throughout the three main regions of Vietnam vary and so do their foods. Northern Vietnamese cooking is the least bold in flavor compared to the foods from Central and Southern Vietnam.
When Vietnamese dishes are referred to in English, it is generally by the Vietnamese name without the diacritics. Some dishes have gained descriptive English names as well.
Popular Vietnamese dishes include:
Vietnamese cuisine boasts a huge variety of noodle soups, each with distinct influences, origins and flavours. A common characteristic of many of these soups is a rich broth.
|Bún bò Huế||Spicy beef noodle soup originated from the royal city of Huế in Central Vietnam. Beef bones, fermented shrimp paste, lemongrass, and dried chilies give the broth its distinctive flavors. Often served with mint leaves, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. Blood cakes and pig's feet are also common ingredients at some restaurants in the United States and possibly elsewhere.[clarification needed].|
|Bún măng vịt||Bamboo shoots and duck noodle soup.|
|Bún Ốc||Vermicelli with snails (sea snails similar to the snails in French cuisine).|
|Bánh canh||A thick tapioca/rice noodle soup with a simple broth. Often includes pork, crab, chicken, shrimp, spring onions and freshly sautéed onions sprinkled on top.|
|Bún riêu||A noodle soup made of thin rice noodles and topped with crab and shrimp paste, served in a tomato-based broth and garnished with bean sprouts, prawn paste, herb leaves, water spinach, and chunks of tomato.|
|Mì bò viên||A Chinese-influenced egg noodle soup with beef meatballs and raw steak|
|Phở||A noodle soup with a rich, clear broth made from a long boiling of meat and spices. There are many varieties of phở made with different meats (most commonly beef or chicken) along with beef meatballs. Phở is typically served in bowls with spring onion, (in phở tai) slices of semi-cooked beef (to be cooked by the boiling hot broth), and broth. In the South, vegetables and various herbs are also added.|
|Phở satế||Spicy noodle soup with thinly sliced rare beef steak, satế hot chili sauce, sliced cucumber, tomatoes, and peanut.|
|Mì vįt tiềm||Yellow noodle soup with roasted duck and Chinese broccoli.|
|Hủ Tiếu||A noodle soup with many varied styles including a 'dry' (non-soup but with sauce) version, brought to Vietnam by way of Chinese (Teochew) immigrants. The noodles are usually egg noodles or rice noodles, however, many other types may be used. The soup base is made of pork bones.|
|Súp măng cua||Asparagus and crab soup typically served as the first dish at banquets.|
|Lẩu (Vietnamese hot pot)||A spicy variation of the Vietnamese sour soup with assorted vegetables, meats, seafood, and spicy herbs.|
|Cháo||A variation of congee. There are also a variety of different broths and meats used, including duck, offal, fish, etc. When chicken is used, it is called Cháo gà.|
|Cháo lòng||Rice porridge with pork intestine, liver, gizzard, heart, and kidney.|
|Bò kho||Beef stew with carrots and usually served with toasted bread or rice noodles.|
|Lẩu||Firepot with a combination of fish, chicken, or seafood cooked in chicken broth and mixed vegetables.|
|Nhúng dấm||Firepot with a combination of sliced rare beef and seafood cooked in sour broth, served with thin rice vermicelli noodles, fresh vegetables, rice spring roll wrapper, and dipping sauce.|
|Canh chua||Vietnamese sour soup – typically include fish, pineapples, tomatoes, herbs, beansprouts, tamarind, and various kinds of vegetables; when made in style of a hotpot, it is called Lẩu Canh Chua.|
|Cơm chiên Dương Châu||A Chinese fried rice dish, named after the Yangzhou region in China. It is a well-known dish in Vietnam.|
|Cơm gà rau thơm (chicken and rice with mint)||A dish of rice cooked in chicken stock and topped with chicken that has been fried then shredded, and flavoured with mint and other herbs. The rice has a unique texture and taste that the fried mint garnish enhances. Served with a special herb sauce on the side.|
|Cơm hến||Rice with clams – a popular inexpensive dish in the city of Huế and its vicinity.[not specific enough to verify]|
|Cơm chiên cá mặn||Fried rice with salty fermented fish and chopped snow pea and chicken.|
|Cá/thịt kho||A traditional family dish <12>. Fish or pork cooked in clay pot and served with sweet and sour soup (canh chua).|
|Gà xào gừng||Chicken sauteed with ginger and fish sauce <12>.|
|Bò lúc lắc||Cubed beef sauteed with cucumber, tomatoes, onion, pepper, and soy sauce <12>.|
|Rau muốn xào tỏi||Chinese broccoli sauteed with garlic and soy sauce.|
|Cơm tấm||In general, grilled pork (either ribs or shredded) plus bì (thinly shredded pork mixed with cooked and thinly shredded pork skin plus fried ground rice) over com tam ("broken rice" in Vietnamese) and sweet and sour fish sauce. Other types of meat, prepared in various ways, may be served with the broken rice. One can have barbecued beef, pork, or chicken served with the broken rice. The rice and meat are served with various greens and pickled vegetables, along with a prawn paste cake (chả tôm), steamed egg (trứng hấp) and grilled prawns.|
|Bánh chưng||Sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves and stuffed with mung bean paste, lean pork and black pepper, traditionally eaten during the Lunar New Year(Tết). Bánh chưng is popular in the North, while its cousin version bánh tét is more popular in the South. Bánh tét has the same content, except cylindrical in shape and lean pork is substituted with fatty pork.|
|Xôi||Sticky rice with coconut milk, cooked the same way as one cooks rice, or steamed for a firmer texture and more flavorful taste. It comes in a great number of varieties.|
|Bánh bao||A steamed bun dumpling that can be stuffed with onion, mushrooms, or vegetables. Bánh bao is an adaptation from the Chinese baozi to fit Vietnamese taste. Vegetarian banh bao are also available. Vegetarian bánh bao are popular food in Buddhist temples. Typical stuffings for bánh bao include slices of marinated xá xíu (BBQ pork from Chinese cooking) meat, tiny boiled quail eggs, and pork.|
|Bánh bèo||A central Vietnamese dish consisting of tiny round rice flour pancakes, each served in a similarly shaped dish. They are topped with minced shrimp and other ingredients such as chives, fried shallots, and pork rinds. Eaten with nước chấm.|
|Bánh bột chiên (fried rice flour cake)||A Chinese influenced pastry that exists in many versions all over Asia; the Vietnamese version features a special tangy soy sauce on the side, rice flour cubes with fried eggs (either duck or chicken) and some vegetables. This is a popular after-school snack for young students in the Southern part of Vietnam.|
|Bánh bột lọc||A Huế food, consisting of tiny rice dumplings made in a clear rice flour batter, often in a small flattish tube shape. Stuffed with shrimp and ground pork. It is wrapped and cooked inside a banana leaf, served often as Vietnamese hors d'œuvres at more casual buffet-type parties.|
|Bánh xèo||A type of crêpe made out of rice flour with turmeric, shrimps with shells on, slivers of fatty pork, sliced onions, and sometimes button mushrooms, fried in one or two teaspoons of oil, usually coconut oil, which is the most popular oil used in Vietnam. It is eaten with lettuce and various local herbs and dipped in Nước chấm or sweet fermented peanut butter sauce. Rice papers are sometimes used as wrappers to contain banh xeo and the accompanying vegetables.|
|Bánh cuốn||Rice flour rolls stuffed with ground pork, prawns, and wood ear mushroom. They are eaten in a variety of ways with many side dishes, including one out of many kinds of chả (sausage).|
|Bì cuốn||Rice paper rolls with the bi (bì) mixture of thinly shredded pork and thinly shredded pork skin tossed with powdered toasted rice, among other ingredients, along with salad. Similar to summer rolls.|
|Bò bía (Vietnamese-style popiah)||Stir-fried jicama and carrots, Chinese sausage, shredded scrambled eggs, all wrapped with vermicelli noodle in a rice paper roll. Dipped into a spicy peanut sauce (with freshly roasted and ground peanuts). It is of Chinese (Hokkien/Chaozhou) origin, having been brought over by the immigrants. In Saigon (particularly in Cholon), it is common to see an old Teochew man or woman selling bò bía at their roadside stand. The name bò bía phonetically resembles its original name popiah in the Teochew language.|
|Chả giò or Nem rán (Northern)||A kind of spring roll (sometimes referred to as egg roll) – deep-fried flour rolls filled with pork, yam, crab, shrimp, rice vermicelli, mushrooms ("wood ear" variety) and other ingredients. The spring roll goes by many names – as many people actually use (falsely) the word "spring roll" while referring to the fresh transparent rice paper rolls (discussed below as "Summer Rolls"), where the rice paper is dipped into water to soften and then rolled up with various ingredients. Traditionally these rolls are made with a rice paper wrapper but in recent years Vietnamese chefs outside of Vietnam have changed the recipe to use a wheat-flour-based wrapper.|
|Gỏi cuốn (Salad rolls)||Also known as Vietnamese fresh rolls, or summer rolls. They are rice paper rolls that often include shrimp, herbs, pork, rice vermicelli and other ingredients wrapped up and dipped in nước chấm or peanut sauce. Spring rolls almost constitute an entire category of Vietnamese foods, as there are numerous different kinds of spring rolls with different ingredients in them.|
Bánh tráng can be understood as either of the following:
|Bánh mì kẹp thịt||Vietnamese baguette or French bread traditionally with pâté, Vietnamese mayonnaise, cold cuts, jalapeños, pickled daikon, pickled carrot, and cucumber slices. While traditional cold cuts include ham, head cheese, and Vietnamese bologna, it is common to see varieties of stuffing such as eggs, canned sardines, shredded pork, fried tofu, and grilled meats. Sandwiches are often garnished with coriander leaves and black pepper.|
|Bánh Pâté Chaud||A French inspired meat-filled pastry. Characterized by flaky crust and either pork or chicken as the filling.|
|Bò kho (Meat Soup)||A beef and vegetable stew, often cooked with warm, spicy herbs and served very hot with French baguettes for dipping. In northern Vietnam, it is known as "bò sốt vang"|
|Bò lá lốt||A dish of spiced beef rolled in a pepper leaf (lá lốt) and grilled.|
|Bò lúc lắc (Shaking beef)||A dish of beef cut into cubes and marinated, served over greens (usually watercress), and sautéed onions and tomatoes. Eaten with rice.|
|Bò 7 món (Vietnamese seven courses of Beef)||A less popular version is the Cá 7 Món, seven courses of fish.|
|Chả lụa||A sausage made with ground lean pork and potato starch. Also available fried; known as chả chiên. There are various kinds of chả (sausage), made of ground chicken (chả gà), ground beef (chả bò), fish (chả cá), or tofu (chả chay, or vegetarian sausage).|
|Gà nướng sả||Grilled chicken with lemon grass(sả). Lemon grass grilled beef and other meats are also popular variations.|
|Nem nướng||Grilled meatballs, usually made of seasoned pork. Often colored reddish with food coloring and with a distinct taste, grilled on skewers like kebabs. Ingredients in the marinade include fish sauce.|
|Nem Nguội||A Huế dish and a variation of the Nem nướng meatballs, these also come from Central Vietnam. They are chilled, small and rectangular in shape, and stuffed with vermicelli. The reddish meat is covered with peppers and typically a chili. Very spicy, eaten almost exclusively as a cocktail snack.|
|Cá cuốn||A roll with fish and spring onions.|
|Cá kho tộ||Caramelized fish in clay pot.|
|Chạo tôm||Prawn paste/cake on sugarcane.|
Gỏi is Vietnamese salad. Many varieties with the most popular including:
|Gỏi đu đủ||Vietnamese papaya Salad typically with shredded papaya, herbs, various meats such as shrimp, slices of pork, liver, or jerky, herbs, and with a more vinegar-based rendition of nước chấm.|
|Gỏi Huế rau muống||A salad dish originating from Huế (Central Vietnam), including water spinach (Rau Muống).|
|Gỏi ngó sen||Lotus stem salad, with shrimp and pork or chicken.|
|Gỏi đậu hủ||Tofu salad with shredded cabbage, mint, and soy dressing.|
|Gỏi sứa||Jelly fish salad with carrot, cucumber, and sesame dressing.|
|Gỏi chân vįt||Duck feet salad with shredded cabbage and sweet and sour fish sauce <12>.|
|Bò tái chanh||Shredded salad with thinly sliced rare beef, fresh lemon, onion, fried onions, and fish sauce.|
|Gỏi gà||Chicken and cabbage salad.|
Dưa muối is Vietnamese term for this.
|Dưa chua, Dưa cải muối chua||Made from a kind of mustard green|
|Cà bát muối xổi||Made from Thai eggplant|
|Dưa kiệu||Made from Allium chinense. This is a dish of Tết holiday.|
|Dưa hành||Made from onion bulbs.|
|Dưa món||Made from carrot, daikon, green papaya,...|
Mắm is a Vietnamese term for fermented fish or shrimps. Mắm is used as main course, ingredients or condiments. The types of fish most commonly used to make mắm are catfish, snakeheads, and mackerels. The fish flesh remains intact (this is how it is different from nước mắm), and can be eaten cooked or uncooked, with or without vegetables and condiments.
|Mắm tôm||Made from fermented shrimps.|
|Mắm cá thu||Made from mackerel fish. This is usually made in Bình Định province.|
|Mắm nêm||Usually made from round scad fish. This is a dish of Central Vietnam.|
|Mắm tôm chua||Made from shrimp, green papaya. This is a dish of Huế city.|
|Mắm ruốc||Made from krills. This is a dish from Central Vietnam.|
|Mắm cá linh||Made from a kind of fish that immigrates to Mekong delta every flood season from Tonlé Sap, Cambodia.|
Nem chua is Vietnamese term for this. Nem chua is used instantly or being fried. Nem chua is made from pork meat, coated by fried rice (thính gạo), mixed with pork skin and then wrapped in country gooseberry's leaves (lá chùm ruột) or Erythrina orientalis's leaves (lá vông nem). The preservation process will finish in about 3–5 days.
Nem chua has its variations in many areas: Vĩnh Yên, Ước Lễ village (Hà Đông), Vẽ village (Hà Nội), Quảng Yên (Quảng Ninh), Thanh Hóa, Đông Ba (Huế), Ninh Hòa (Khánh Hòa), Thủ Đức (Ho Chi Minh city), Lai Vung (Đồng Tháp), etc.
The Vietnamese term for sausage is giò, usually made from fresh ground pork and beef. Sausage makers may use their meat, skin or ear. Fish sauce is added before banana leaves are used to wrapped. The last step is boiling. For common sausage, 1 kg meat is boiled for 1-hour. For chả quế, the boiled meat mixture will then be roasted with cinnamon.
|Chè||A sweet dessert beverage or pudding usually made from beans and sticky rice. Many varieties of chè are available, each with different fruits, beans (for example, mung beans or kidney beans), and other ingredients. Chè can be served hot or cold and often with coconut milk.|
|Rau câu||A popular gelatin dessert cake made with agar and flavored with coconut milk, pandan or other flavors. Because the gelatin is firm in texture compared to American gelatin, Vietnamese gelatin can be layered and shaped into intricate cakes. The gelatin is often called sương sa.|
|Chuối Chiên||Banana deep-fried in a batter and often served hot with cold ice cream, usually vanilla or coconut.|
|Bánh Flan||Influenced by French cuisine and served with caramel or coffee sauce .|
|Sinh tố||A fruit smoothie made with just a few teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk, crushed ice and fresh local fruits. The smoothies come in many varieties including custard apple, sugar apple, avocado, jackfruit, durian, strawberry, passionfruit, dragonfruit, lychee, mango, and banana.|
|Sữa chua||Made with condensed milk and has a sweet, tart flavor. It can be eaten in its cool, soft form or frozen. In Vietnam, it can be seen served frozen in small, clear bags.|
There are also various cakes and confections made with any combination of sweet beans, tropical fruit and glutinous rice.
Vietnamese use fruits in season. When the season is passing, they made candied fruit, called ô mai and fruit preserves, called mứt in Vietnamese language. The original taste of ô mai is sour, sweet, salty and spicy. The most famous kind of ô mai is ô mai mơ, made from apricot harvested from the forest around Perfume pagoda (chùa Hương), Hà Tây province. This ô mai consists of apricot covered by ginger, sugar, liquorice root slivers.
Other soybean products ranges from soy sauce (nước tương)- usually light soy sauce, fermented bean paste (tương), fermented bean curd (đậu phụ nhự or chao) to douhua (soft tofu sweet soup- tàu hũ nước đường, or tào phớ).
The Vietnamese name for pastries is bánh. Most Vietnamese pastries is made by leaf-wrapping and boiling. The most famous pair of cake is square cake (bánh chưng) symbolizing the Earth and a round cake (bánh dày) symbolizing the Heaven, which are used in Vietnamese New Year (Tết).
Vietnamese usually use raw vegetables as condiments for their dishes. It named rau sống (literally: raw vegetable) or rau ghém (literally: sliced vegetable). It combines properly with each main dish in flavour. For some dishes, rau sống could come into almost all the flavours: sour, bitter, spicy,...Dishes in which rau sống is indispensable are bánh xèo and hot pot. The vegetables principally are herbs and wild edible vegetables gathered from forests and family gardens. Leaves and buds are the most common parts of vegetables used. Most of the vegetables have medicinal value.
Rau sống includes:
The colour of Vietnamese food comes from natural ingredients.
Colourings can be absorbed by mixing ground colourings or colouring liquid or wraping before boiling to get the extracts. When colouring dishes, the tastes and smells of colourings must also be considered.
|Bia hơi||A Vietnamese specialty draft beer produced locally in small batches.|
|Cà phê sữa đá||Strong iced coffee, most often served with sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of the cup to be stirred in. The beverage is very popular among the Vietnamese.|
|Nước mía||Sugar cane juice extracted from squeezing sugar cane plant, served with ice.|
|Rau má||Pennywort juice made from blending fresh pennywort leaves with water and sugar until dissolved. The beverage is a near-transparent green color and served over ice.|
|Sữa đậu nành (Soy milk)||A soybean drink served either hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened.|
|Rượu đế||A distilled liquor made of rice.|
|Trà đá||A kind of ice tea popular for its cheap price. Has a faint lime-yellow color and usually doesn't have much taste.|
|Trà đá chanh||Lemon iced-tea.|
|Chanh muối||Sweet and sour salty lemon drink.|
|Soda xí muội||Sweet and salty plum soda.|
|Soda hột gà||Egg soda.|
|Sinh tố||Vietnamese fruit smoothie with green bean, red bean, avocado, pineapple, strawberry, jackfruit, durian, sapota, or mango with sweet condensed milk.|
|Nước sắn dây hoa bưởi||Made of kudzu and pomelo flower extract.|
The use of ingredients that are typically uncommon or taboo in most countries is one of the quintessential attributes that make Vietnamese cuisine unique. Television chef Andrew Zimmern visited Vietnam in the twelfth episode of his popular show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Cobra beating heart and dried bones, silk worms and bull penis are some examples of the dishes he sampled.
In some countries, unusual ingredients, most of the time, can be found only in exotic restaurants. What makes the use of these ingredients in Vietnam stand out is that ingredients that are deemed atypical in most countries can play a customary role in daily family dishes, from the poor's to the riches'.
A common and inexpensive breakfast dish that can be found in any wet market, balut (hột vịt lộn) is a fertilized duck egg with a nearly developed embryo inside which is boiled and eaten in the shell. It is typically served with fresh herbs: rau răm or Vietnamese coriander, salt, and pepper; lime juice is another popular additive, when available. A more unusual version of balut dish – Fetus quails (trứng cút lộn)- is a snack favored by many Vietnamese students. Paddy crab and paddy snail are the main ingredients in bún riêu ốc – a popular noodle dish – and in some everyday soup dishes (canh) and braised food (món bung). Family meals with silk worms (nhộng), banana flowers (hoa chuối), sparrows, doves, fermented fish and shrimp (mắm cá, mắm tôm tép) are not rare sights. Seasonal favorites include ragworm (rươi), which are made into many dishes such as fried rươi omelet ( chả rươi), fermented "rươi" sauce (mắm rươi), steamed rươi (rươi hấp), stir-fried rươi with radish or bamboo shoot (rươi xào củ niễng măng tươi hay củ cải).
Vietnamese cuisine is also notable for its wide range of meat choices. Exotic meat such as dog meat, snake, soft-shell turtle, deer and domestic goat are sold in street-side restaurants and generally paired with alcoholic beverages. A taboo in many Western countries, consumption of dog meat is a common sight throughout the country and is believed to raise the libido in men. Paddy mouse meat – barbecued, braised, stir- or deep-fried – is a rarer dish that can be found in many Vietnamese rural areas or even high-end city restaurants.
Anthony Bourdain, the host chef of Travel Channel's Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, wrote in April 2005, for the Financial Times, "...everything is used – and nothing wasted in Vietnam." Animal parts that are often disposed of in many Western countries are utilized fully in Vietnamese cooking. Organs, including lungs, livers, hearts, intestines and bladders of pigs, cows and chickens are sold at an even higher price than their meat. Chicken testicles and undeveloped eggs are stir-fried with vegetables and served as an everyday dish.
Many of the traditional Northern Lunar New Year – Tết – dishes such as thịt đông, giò thủ, canh măng móng giò involve the use of pig heads, tongues, throats and feet. Pig and cow tails as well as chicken heads, necks and feet are Vietnamese favorite beer dishes. Bóng, used as an ingredient in canh bóng – a kind of soup, is pig skin baked until popped. Steamed pig brains can be found anywhere along a Vietnamese street. Different kinds of animal blood is made into tiết canh by whisking the blood with fish sauce and cold water in a shallow dish along with finely chopped cooked duck innards (such as gizzards), sprinkled with crushed peanuts and chopped herbs such as Vietnamese coriander, mint, etc. It is then cooled until the blood coagulates into a soft jelly-like mixture and served raw.
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