Vietnamese cuisine stands out from its neighbors such as Chinese for its less seasoned recipes, as well as for the influence of French cuisine due to the colonization times. It boasts a variety to please everyone and has a reputation for being fresh, rich in herbs and healthy vegetables.
In the north of the country, around Hanoi – one of the best destinations for gourmets – it is easier to find those dishes based on rice and noodles, more in line with Chinese recipes from the neighboring border. Moving south, in the Hoi Chi Minh area, one feels the influences of Cambodian cuisine and the consequences of the climate, which favor fresh flavors: coconut, strong herbs, and sweeter foods.
Let’s start with the national dish, the typical dish of Vietnam. Pho, a soup from the Hanoi area, is usually served with noodles and a type of meat – usually beef. The typical noodles, as you already know, are strictly rice noodles. This Pho soup will refresh your mouth thanks to the presence of mint leaves, lime and bean sprouts. You can add other ingredients of your choice directly to the plate when it is served. Know that during your trip to Vietnam you will find many, many variations of this soup!
Stewed or braised beef. Slow stewing, pieces of meat dipped in a thick and slightly spicy broth, reddish in color, with fresh herbs, delicious vegetables, and served with steamed rice or hot baguette. Among the variants stand out the version with chicken, that with fish, and there are also other similar recipes with vegetables.
Also common in Cambodia and often eaten as an appetizer in many Vietnamese restaurants in Europe and around the world, Goi Cuon are considered the healthiest and lightest version of Chinese spring rolls – and for this reason they are also known as Vietnamese spring rolls.. Absolutely not fried, they are made of crispy shrimp, rice vermicelli, fresh vegetables and herbs, all wrapped in rice paper that keeps this recipe light and healthy. Of course, the variations with sauces, with meat and other ingredients exist, but they make this Vietnamese dish lose its original lightness.
Bún bò Huế
Another of the traditional Vietnamese soups, which you will sometimes find under the simplified name of Bun Bo. Served hot and spicy, with rice noodles which, in the traditional recipe of Vietnamese cuisine, are thicker than those used for Pho soup, and finally veal. The Bún bò Hu z soup originates in the city of Hue, in the central area of Vietnam, and is known for the perfect combination of strong and salty flavors with sweeter and more delicate flavors. A well balanced bittersweet in which the lemon grass aftertaste prevails.
Ech Tam Bot Ran
This section is not suitable for the faint of heart. Among the typical recipes of Vietnam, this dish also finds its place and is certainly suitable for those who are neither afraid to try new things nor limits in the choice of meat to eat. We are talking about frog meat passed in a light batter and then fried in oil.
Cà Ri Gà
Thanks to the globalization of our kitchens, we all know more or less how chicken curry is made! Quite right? Well, however, Cà Ri Gà is the Vietnamese version of this dish: chicken prepared in coconut milk with lemongrass and often with fresh ginger. As the Vietnamese tradition dictates, this chicken curry recipe results in a strongly spicy but not spicy, and slightly sweetish flavor.
Chả Cá (La Vong)
Chả Cá is a seafood specialty. Catfish marinated in turmeric together with lemon juice, nuoc mam sauce and strong flavored roots (the original recipe requires a marinade for up to 12 hours). Then grilled, passed for a few minutes in hot oil and often served in rice paper leaves and cooled with dill – a great accompaniment to fish dishes. There is no need to remember that it will be served to you with other fresh vegetables. Last detail: it is often covered with peanuts with a few drops of lime.
Chè xôi nước
This is a South Vietnamese dish, a dessert made from “mung beans”. It is served in the form of sweet meatballs in a thick and hot broth made with water, sugar and ginger, with a sprinkling of sesame on top.
Also known as bắp, it is a Vietnamese sweet made from corn. It is served hot and consists of a cream of rice with corn and sesame, prepared with coconut cream. It is also possible to find it in its summer version served cold!
Bánh da lợn
Delicious jelly cake made with tapioca starch, rice flour, mung beans, taro, coconut milk, and sugar. Definitely particular ingredients, or at least not very common in our kitchen. For this reason, it is one of those Vietnamese sweets that you should try.
Sinh To Bo
We started with a classic, we end up with a classic. Sinh To Bo is a typical Vietnamese dessert that has some French influences. In fact, prepared with condensed milk, it is a real avocado milkshake, very creamy and rich in potassium. It is served cold and often as a dessert, with a straw or spoon. And do you think that’s enough? No! Obviously, something typically Vietnamese is added to the smoothie: aromatic herbs or a few fresh mint leaves.