INTRODUCTION TO VIETNAMESE CUISINE
Vietnam has abundant food supply and elaborate food
preparation techniques. As food preparation has become an art
of the Vietnamese people, some Vietnamese dishes are world
famous. People can find countless restaurants throughout the
In Vietnam, you will have an opportunity to enjoy some
surprisingly good dishes, some of which can be found nowhere
else in the world. On the table of a traditional banquet, you
can find dozens of such specialty dishes pleasingly and
elaborately presented. Some dishes are prepared from sea foods
such as lobsters, fish, crabs and squids... which are
relatively rare and expensive in some Western countries but
abundant and cheap in Vietnam. Besides enjoying traditional
foods such as beef noodle soups (pho), pork sausages (gio
lua), spring rolls (nem ran), fish balls (cha ca), etc...,
Vietnamese also adopt a number of dishes from countries that
are well-known for their food preparation and cooking
BANH CUON (RICE STEAMED ROLLS)
Banh cuon is made of rice flour. Rice, which is thoroughly
selected, is soaked for a night, then ground with a stone
mortar. A relevant percentage of secret formula put into the
flour will make banh cuon softer and smooth.
A village in Thanh Tri District, a suburb of Hanoi is famous
for banh cuon. For convenience, today banh cuon with dressing
is made. The dressing comprises lean meat, deshelled shrimp,
thin-top mushroom, dried fungus, onion, fish sauce, pepper.
The mixture is stir-fried. We put stir-fried dressing into
banh cuon then roll it up. Banh cuon with dressing is put in a
dish, and we sprinkle it with stir-fried onion. Banh cuon is a
popular dish. both cheap and delicious.
Vietnamese vermicelli is a luxurious as well as a popular
dish. There are different kinds to name it as depending on its
form: tousled vermicelli (bun roi), pinched vermicelli (bun
mam), leaf vermicelli (bun la), or vermicelli ranged into
hundreds of pieces (bun dem tram).
There are many ingredients to go with vermicelli. Bun cha with
grilled meat of pork, bun nem with fried rolled cake, bun oc
with snail, bun thang with fried egg, lean meat pie,
chicken..., bun rieu with fresh water crab soup, bun moc with
pork pie, bun bo gio heo with beef steak and pork pie....In
each region, in each population locality, even in each
restaurant, there would be various dishes of vermicelli with
their own ingredients and seasoning.
BUN BO HUE (HUE BEEF NOODLES)
How to cook a pot of Hue beef noodle is the period to learn
seriously for years. The noodles should be soft, tough, wet
and sweet. Besides the rice noodles, the secret is inside the
water processed from boiling bone and meat. Put it in a
separate pot, boil and watch out the suds, keep till cool and
take the upper water line to cook, to ensure the tasteful
smelling of shredded meat.
The special thing of Hue beef noodles is that a lot of
condiments are required: sprouts, banana spayte, coriander
which make us feel fresher in summer. In the winter, Hue is
very wet with continuous rain, the cook has to put some more
salt in the pot, adding there some branches of vervain made
from good sauce and red chilli slices. The eater when enjoys
noodles with chilli can feel the warmth of the dish, specially
the warmth of Hue, the ancient royal city of Vietnam.
TOM CHUA HUE (HUE SOUR SHRIMP)
The Hue natives who live away from Hue, when visiting home
usually take with them some flavors of their land, one of them
is Sour Shrimp. The tourist before leaving Hue, also buy some
jars for their relatives as present. They can make this dish
with the same formula but only real sour shrimp in Hue is
delicious, like Hue Mussel Rice.
In the shop, with the order of customers, some more galingale
is added to make the food more delicious. During the meal we
can put in some more condiment. We will find a very tasty dish
with sour shrimp.
CHA GIO (FRIED MEAT ROLLS)
It is a popular kind of dish which we can find it every where
in banquets or in common meals of the grass roots. Materials
for "Cha Gio" include pulverized lean meat, sea-crab or
shucked shrimp, thin-top mushroom, wood's ear, dried onion,
fachyrrhizus, (or beansprouts), egg, pepper, salt, seasoning,
etc... All are mixed well then the mixture is packed with rice
paper and dipped into a pan of boiling lard, and fried until
it becomes yellow.
It is necessary to make a delicious dip which comprises sugar,
vinegar, water, pepper, chili etc.. and has a good taste and
smell of garlic. Vegetable pickles can be made of papaw or
turnip cabbage and carrot. A dish of hot fried meat roll
accompanied by a dish of vegetable pickles, a dish of fresh
vegetable (salad, sage, basil, sweet marjoram, beansprout), a
bowl of dip with chili, and soft noodles makes you appetizing.
PHO (VIETNAMESE BEEF NOODLES)
Pho is a wonderful dish for all Vietnamese people. Research
shows that Pho have existed in Vietnam for about 100 years.
Statistics from books and dictionaries show that there are
about 17 kind of Pho from the South to the North, but in fact
the number is larger, some kind of Pho are mentioned
unofficially but they still attract the eater so much like
"Moc" Noodles (Bun Moc), Ten-ingredient Noodles (Pho thap
Pho is basically made with beef. There may have some kinds of
other meat with better taste, but Pho always goes with beef.
If you want to change the taste of beef, the chicken or
seafood as crab or shrimp can be a good substitute. Beef may
be well-done or a bit rare.
CHAO TOM (GRILLED SHRIMP PASTE)
One foreigner after enjoy this food say "This is an unusual
food making from unusual source". Shrimp is clean up the
cover, the black line on back, pitching in salt, putting in
water of coconut. Shrimp will have a special smell by the
garlic, salt, peppers. The sweet of sugarcane and shrimp makes
the pure sweet. Grilled shrimp paste should be used with good
fish sauces. Grind the white bean soup, the tamarind, the bean
sauces mixed up with a little of boiled sugar water, pouring
the flour of roast peanuts, and some garlic and chili. The
disk of grilled shrimp paste is ready for you.
The dish is good with green color of herb, the red of chili;
the white color of bitle banana, yellow color of peanut.
Eating a piece of grilled shrimp paste, we fell all tastes:
sour, spicy, salty, sweet.
GIO LUA (LEAN MEAT PIE)
Gio lua (Lean meat pie)Lean meat pie is a special, keen dish
in Vietnam only. It is called differently in the South. And
the foreigners enjoy Vietnamese lean meat pie very much. The
most delicious part of lean meat pie is the top. It is
delicious because it absorbs all aromas from banana leaves.
Outside is old leave, inside is younger leave. Lean meat pie
is delicious because of the smell from boiled meat adding the
smell of boiled banana leaves.
HU TIEU MY THO (MY THO SEAFOOD NOODLES)
My Tho seafood noodles soup is different from Chinese one, Nam
Vang, beef noodles and Hue style beef noodles soup... because
it is used without herb or salad but with bean-sprouts, lemon,
chili and soya sauce. The most important thing makes the fame
of My Tho seafood noodles soup that so many people liked from
1960s is the rice flour for the noodles and the pot of boiled
water with secret preparation of famous shop in My Tho: Phanh
Ky, Nam Son, Tuyen Ky and generation recently. It is said that
the most delicious noodles soup should be made by Go Cat rice
(special food like Tau Huong from Dao market rice), this is
the most famous rice growing area of My Phong village, a
suburb of My Tho. And the rice in Go Cat can make the noodles,
roll paper, luck cake with the fame for over 40 years. But the
My Tho noodles soup is really delicious with dried noodles,
put in boiled water, sour with onion-fried, cleaned water for
The noodle soup better in boiled water, of course each shop
has each secret. Basically, the sweet in water is from grilled
cracked bone, meat and dried squid (cuticle fish) and some
particular condiments and it was cooked for the taste of
customers. People can not ignore the food while the cook open
the pot of soup with rememberable smelling. My Tho noodles
soup is a special food with traditional color of domestic
people who love My Tho or love the friendly, sincere manner of
people in the South Vietnam.
BANH TRANG TRANG BANG (TRANG BANG
Up to 22nd highway from Tay Ninh, 4-km from Saigon, that is
Trang Bang town, the country of special food: fresh rice paper
in fog and soup cake. You can find both of them anywhere, but
nowhere make them better than Trang Bang because it is make
from special local rice. They roasted flour into cake, a
little thick. The specialty is that it is roasted at 4-5 hour,
then bring to dry under fog until it is soft, they put it in a
sealed bag. We can eat anytime without water dripping it is
still flanked and soft. Trang Bang people use this cake to eat
with shrimp, meat, salad, coriander, gill, blit, and drong.
In the Tet holidays, they can use with roasted salty meat, egg
and sour mustard. The flavor of the cake with shrimp, meat,
sauce, herb, chili, condiment make you never forget. Flour for
soup cake of Trang Bang is made of rice flour, not other
flour. The fiber's size is larger than noodles. In the bowl,
we put in some meat, garlic, shallot, condiment and fish
sauce. It is very cool to eat and drink this soup, and also
flavor. Over hundred years, this dish is in Trang Bang and
famous so far.