It’s not very surprising that the Vietnamese kitchen has rice as its main ingredient. The country is known for its endless rice fields. Rice is the base of many dishes and also has lots of varieties. Who isn’t familiar with spring rolls made from rice paper? Or rice noodles that are almost glass like and characteristic for the Vietnamese kitchen?
Another benefit of rice is that it is easy to combine with other parts of your meal. Meat, fish, vegetables, fresh herbs: it can be combined with everything. Concerning meat, the Vietnamese kitchen is totally different from the European. Like China, the Vietnamese kitchen is also famous for its consumption of dogs, cats, rats and snakes. But don’t worry: consumption of these animals can be avoided easily when travelling Vietnam. Poultry, beef and fish are common sources of animal protein and widely available.
Having rice three times a day
As said before, rice is the main ingredient for every meal. It’s an easy choice: rice or noodles. For breakfast, the Vietnamese often eat Pho (pronounced as ‘fuh’). This is a light noodle soup. If you do not like noodle soup in the morning, you can also go for Xoi, which is sticky rice with soybeans, corn and peanuts. If this is still too exotic for you, you can always go for a western breakfast. That is usually widely available in the cities and tourist areas.
More than rice
There is more to a Vietnamese diet than only rice. They also eat fish and seafood, which are extremely popular in the Vietnamese kitchen. One of the popular fish is the pangasius which is also farmed in Vietnam, not just for export, but also afor their own consumption. It is a very versatile fish that goes well with the simple, versatile Vietnamese cuisine.
One of the popular sauces in the Vietnamese kitchen is Nouc Mam. This is a fish sauce with a quite pungent smell at first side. Once added to the dish, it appears to be a flavorful sauce that has both sweet and sour flavors. It is made of fresh anchovies and therefore very healthy.
Speaking of healthy: the Vietnamese cuisine is healthy. Every dish should be balanced, called ying and yang. This entails that every flavor, structure and taste has to be balanced. Sweet can be combined with salty, crispy with soft and raw with cooked. Enjoy your meal!