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food appears to be similar to Chinese, but there are subtle differences.
Vietnamese foods tend to be spiced differently with fresh vegetables and herbs
enhancing the flavor. With plentiful seafood to be found, such as lobster,
crabs, shrimp and fish, it's no surprise that nuoc mam (a fish sauce) is
a staple in Vietnamese food, whereas soy sauce is liberally used in other Asian
a bowl of soup (pho) is consumed in the morning, but is also eaten at
lunch and dinner time. A meal usually consists of several courses served
concurrently: meat or seafood, rice, noodles, egg dishes, vegetables, etc. Green
tea is the beverage of choice and is available pretty much all the time.
Kho khô:Literally dried stew (until the
Hầm: boiling with spices or other
ingredients over a long period of time.
Luộc: boiling with water, usually
applied to fresh vegetables and pork.
Om:Clay pot cooking of Northern style.
Nướng xiên: Skewered dishes.
Bằm:Sauteed mixed of chopped
Rô ti: Roasting meat then bring to a simmer.
Quay: Roasted dishes.
Lẩu: hot pot dishes.
Vietnamese family meals
A typical meal for the average Vietnamese family would
Individual bowls of rice
Meat, fish or seafood (grilled, boiled, steamed,
stewed or stir fried with vegetables)
Stir-fried, raw, pickled or steamed vegetables
Canh (a clear broth with vegetables and often
meat or seafood) or other Vietnamese-style soup
Prepared fish sauce and/or soy sauce for dipping, to
which garlic, chili, ginger or lime juice are
sometimes added according to taste.
All dishes apart from the individual bowls of rice are
communal and to be shared.
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
Dishes that have become trademarks of Vietnamese
cuisine are phở, gỏi cuốn
(spring/summer rolls), bún, and bánh mì
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,
influences on Vietnamese cuisine
The principle of yin and yang is applied in selecting
the ingredients of a dish and the dishes of a meal, in
matching dishes with seasonal or climatic conditions, with
the prevalent environment and with the current physical
well-being of the diners.
Some examples are:
Duck meat is considered as "cool" so is
served in summer, which is hot, and with ginger fish
sauce which is "warm", while chicken which
is "warm" and pork which is "hot"
are used in cold winters.
Seafood ranging from "cool" to
"cold" are suitable to use with ginger
Spicy, which is extremely yang, must be harmonized
by sour, which is extremely yin.
Balut ("cold") must be combined with
Vietnamese mint ("hot").
Cold and flu patients must drink ginger water
Vietnamese cuisine is influenced by the Asian principle
of five elements and Mahābhūta.
Many Vietnamese dishes include five spices (Vietnamese:
ngũ vị): spicy (metal), sour (wood), bitter
(fire), salty (water) and sweet (Earth), corresponding to:
five organs (Vietnamese: ngũ tạng): gall
bladder, small intestine, large intestine, stomach and
Vietnamese dishes also include five types of nutrients
(Vietnamese: ngũ chất): powder, water or
liquid, mineral elements, protein and fat.
Vietnamese cooks try to have five colours (Vietnamese:
ngũ sắc): white (metal), green (wood), yellow
(Earth), red (fire) and black (water) in their dishes.
Dishes in Vietnam appeal to gastronomes via five
senses (Vietnamese: năm giác quan): food arrangement
attracts eyes, sounds come from crisp ingredients, five
spices detected on the tongue, aromatic ingredients coming
mainly from herbs stimulate the nose and some meals,
especially finger food, can be perceived by touching.
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.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
For a longer list of popular dishes, see List of
Vietnamese dishes. For a list of popular dishes
organized by province, see List of Vietnamese culinary
When Vietnamese dishes are referred to in English, it
is generally by the Vietnamese name with the diacritics
left off. Some dishes have gained descriptive English
names as well.
Popular Vietnamese dishes include:
Bún Bò Huế
An extremely thin noodle that is woven into
intricate bundles. Often topped with spring onion
and a complementary meat dish, such as thịt
heo quay (roasted pork, often eaten at
Bún thịt nướng
A thin rice vermicelli served cold with grilled
marinated pork chops and nước
chấm (fish sauce, served with julienned daikon
and carrot). A similar Northern version is bún
chả with grilled pork meatballs in place
of grilled pork chops.
A simple and popular dish, basically a
combination vermicelli plate. Grilled pork (often
ground) and vermicelli noodles are served over a
bed of greens (salad and sliced cucumber), herbs
and bean sprouts. Often includes a few chopped-up
egg rolls, spring onions, and shrimp. Served with
roasted peanuts on top and a small bowl of nước
Bún chả giò
it is similar to the above dish except
deep-fried spring rolls are substituted for the
A Hội An dish, made of specially
"burnt-flavoured" egg noodles topped
A popular and extremely complicated noodle dish,
originating from Quang Nam. Mi Quang varies in its
preparation but features sharply contrasting
flavors and textures in a shallow bowl of broth,
noodles, herbs, vegetables, and roasted rice chips
Mì xào dòn
A dish of crispy deep-fried egg noodles, topped
with a wide array of seafood, vegetables and
shrimp in a gravy sauce. This is a dish of Chinese
Bánh tằm cà ri
A Ca Mau specialty, made of special rice noodles
and very spicy chicken curry.
Main article: Vietnamese noodles
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
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, lime
wedges, shredded banana blossoms and shredded rau
muống. Blood cakes and pig's feet are
also common ingredients at some restaurants in the
United States and possibly elsewhere.
Bún măng vịt
Bamboo shoots and duck noodle soup.
Vermicelli with snails (sea snails similar to
the snails in French cuisine).
A thick udon-widthed rice noodle soup with a
simple broth. Often includes pork, crab, chicken,
shrimp, spring onions and freshly sautéed onions
sprinkled on top.
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
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
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.
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