Known as the best heathy and tasty food in the region, true Vietnamese food has a very distinctive character. Instead of soya sauce, there is the universal use of nuoc mam - a very pungent fish sauce, though not all Vietnamese food tastes of fish. There are generous amounts of ingredients such as garlic, tiny minced fresh chili, lime, rice vinegar, basil and coriander being added to their fish sauce, which make the characters of the Vietnamese food.
The form of basic of most Vietnamese meals boast steamed rice or noodles, accompanied by dishes of meat, poultry or fish and vegetable. Their cuisine is overpowering in taste due to the long traditional use of fish sauce, rice vinegar and fresh herbs, including shallots, green onions, basils, parsley and corianders. The combination of ingredients, especially green herbs, in preparing food is the heart of every family in Vietnam. To help our clients learn more about the Vietnamese food culture, we do arrange home-hosted private cooking lessons during a tour. The activity provides a great introduction to the local market, ingredients, food culture, Vietnamese lifestyle and fun learning experience.
If you want to see why Vietnam is known as the best street food destination, check out their Pho, Bun Cha, Nom Bo Kho, Banh Khuc, Banh Mi and the list goes on. Different versions of these dishes as well as the rest of the list can be easily explored in every city along the country, including Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Saigon.
Pho, beef or chicken noodle soup, is the most popular Vietnamese dish. It is considered “king of soups”, and pronounced like “far”. Pho is traditionally eaten for breakfast, but it can also be served for lunch, dinner, or just as an afternoon snack. A good bowl of beef Pho comes with strong stock, fresh rice noodle and slices of beef. It should be served right at the table, preferably really hot. Vietnamese often add rice vinegar and chili sauce, sometime fish cause, to their bowl. It is customary to add “Thai basil”, bean sprouts, lime, pepper and some youtiaos or Chinese doughnuts. That is the most delightful thing about Pho, everyone’s Pho is unique and to their individual taste, two people will never have the same experience.
Historically, Pho was given to the sick in order to cure them. Many philosophers in Vietnam have attempted to relate Pho to everyday life, like “Life is like a bowl of Pho. It is constantly surprising you. When you get meatballs, it means you are having rocky times. When you get beef tripe, you are having trouble internally with your emotions.” I would say that if you traveled to Hanoi without eating Pho, you actually haven’t been here. If you have been to Vietnam but got no Pho, you have missed something!