Vietnamese cuisine is one of the 10 best cuisines in the world. Food in Vietnam is distinguished by its finesse and lightness but also the use of vegetables and spices that give it a unique flavor.
In Vietnam there are more than 500 national dishes (depending on the region), very often accompanied by the famous nuoc-mam (fish sauce) and a great variety of aromatic herbs such as coriander, basil, mustard leaves to accompany dishes made with rice or noodles.
They also eat a lot of fish and shellfish (but less meat). There is of course a great quantity of exotic fruits to delight our taste buds (especially the fruit of the dragon or the fruits of the passion).
During our stay we preferred the little street restaurants and food stalls, because in general it is true and typical cuisine. The dishes were around € 2 per person without drink. The soft drinks are extremely cheap and it’s the same for beer (there are places where beer is even cheaper than water!).
Prepare your bowls and hold your chopsticks, we’re going to show you what we ate during our month in Vietnam.
The dishes based on rice
Rice is one of the basic products of Vietnamese cuisine. It is found in all sauces, with vegetables and meat, or vegetarian. You can even order garlic rice for breakfast!
It’s the same as rice with the difference that one can find regular or crispy noodles.
Having travelled along the whole coast of Vietnam from north to south we saw a lot of seafood (shrimps, crabs, shellfish, etc …). We ate a little but it was not our favorite food.
Meat and vegetables
Many vegetables are found in dishes such as morning glory (omnipresent in Southeast Asia), broccoli, carrots, soybean sprouts accompanied by chicken or beef. We also ate quite a lot of tofu which is always accompanied by vegetables.
The Vietnamese eat soups at all times, from morning till evening, and even for small snacks in the afternoon or late evening.
There are 3 different types:
- Noodle soups that are very well known, such as pho, bun bo, bun rieu, bun mam …
- The soups of rice, called chao with rice therefore and accompanied either of minced meat or fish, seafood … There are all kinds of sauces.
- “Canh” soups made of rice, meat, fish or seafood, a dish or two of vegetables and a soup. They eat the ingredients then leave a portion of the rice at the end to pour it into the soup and eat it as well.
They are made of rice vermicelli, slices of pork, shrimp, soybean sprouts, mint sometimes accompanied by other aromatic herbs according to taste, a stem of garlic chive, carrots… all wrapped in a thin rice of raw rice. They are infinitely adjustable according to your taste. They are either fresh or fried!
Of course we found a lot of fruit! We took the opportunity to eat fruit that we eat less often such as passion fruit or dragon fruit. We drank a lot of delicious smoothies and fresh juices.
To our surprise it is a specialty of Vietnam and we loved it!! Every morning for breakfast we had our banana pancake! We’d kill for one!
Banh khoai in Hoi An: it is a kind of cake filled with soybean sprouts, thin slices of pork and shrimp. The outer part is made from cumin-flavored rice flour. Then it is fried and served warm and crispy, seasoned with nuoc mam (fish sauce).
Wonton: it’s a kind of ravioli made with rice flour and filled with ingredients like shrimp, eggs and spices. In Hoi An the wonton is fried and covered with a garnish of vegetables and shrimp, topped with sweet sour sauce! A treat!
Apparently, European culture has also had an influence on Vietnamese food, and it’s easy to find bread (yes, real baguettes!) all over the country. And sandwiches, of course!
How not to talk about coffee in Vietnam!! Frankly, knowing that it is the world’s largest producer of robusta and the second largest exporter in the world (after Brazil).
In Vietnam, coffee is consumed either hot or frozen, with fresh or concentrated milk. It is served in a metal filter with water, just let it flow! We enjoyed the coffee which in addition costs nothing (less than a euro usually depending on the area).
A short tour at the market
A must to discover the true flavors of the country! We visited the markets in almost every city we visited but stopped for lunch in one, Hoï An. There is a place in the market where there is plenty of small stands, the cook prepares meals in front of you seating on benches, prices are very low and the quality of the food delicious!
Vietnamese Cooking Classes
We attended a Vietnamese cooking class. The meal was frankly simple (spring rolls) but frankly they were just delicious!! The aromatic herbs play their role, it’s very nice.
This is what we ate in Vietnam! We enjoyed the food, it is tasty and varied. But we must admit that the first place still remains for Thai cuisine for the moment!