Vietnam Country Guide


With unbelievable abundance of fresh vegetables, herbs, fish and seafood, Vietnam has a lot to offer. It can be mentioned that Vietnam offers a range of widely admired dishes such as noodle served with beef or chicken, spring roll, eel or snail vermicelli, crab fried with tamarind, crab sour soup and steamed rolls made of rice-flour rice pancake to name a few. Preparing food and eating together remains the focus of family life.
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Vietnamese cuisine varies slightly from region to region, with many regions having their own specialties. Generally, northern Vietnamese cuisine is known for being bland while southern Vietnamese cuisine is known for being spicy. In rural and regional areas it is usually safe to eat the locally grown foods as these are usually bought each day from the market. It is not uncommon, that after you have ordered your meal a young child of the family will be seen running out the back towards the nearest market to purchase the items. 

Food on a Vietnamese train by anjci

Many Vietnamese dishes are flavored with fish sauce, which smells and tastes like anchovies (salty and fishy) straight from the bottle, but blends into food very well. Try taking home a bottle of fish sauce, and using it instead of salt in almost any savory dish - you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. Fish sauce is also mixed with lime juice, sugar, water, and spices to form a tasty dip or condiment called nuoc cham, served on the table with most meals. Vegetables, herbs and spices, notably Vietnamese coriander or cilantro, mint and basil, accompany almost every dish and help make Vietnamese food much lighter and more aromatic.

Street food by Thomas Schoch

Vegetarian food is quite easy to find anywhere in Vietnam due in large part to Buddhist influence. Establishments offering vegetarian dishes range from the upscale restaurants to street stalls. Basically any Vietnamese dish with meat can be made vegetarian with the abundance of "fake meats". Besides the Buddhist influence of two vegetarian days a month, Cao Dai people eat vegetarian 16 days in a month, and followers of the bizarre Quan Yin method eat vegan daily. Look for any sign that says "Com Chay" or simply remember the phrase "An Chay". 

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