To describe Vietnamese cuisine one would choose to use words like, vibrant, fresh, distinctive, colourful, harmonising, delicious, and healthy to name a few. Vietnam has been described as ‘three countries in one bowl’ with very distinctive styles from the North, Centre and the South. Cultures that have influenced Vietnamese food include, Chinese, French, Indian, Khmer(ancient Cambodian) and Siamese (ancient Thai).
In the North, the Red River Delta, you will find the best quality rice in Vietnam which has made the rice noodle dish “pho” famous around the globe for its silky textured noodle soaked in a delicious beef broth, thinly sliced beef strips and garnished with fresh herbs like coriander, mint, basil and bean sprouts.
Central Vietnam is characterised by its saltier and slightly more spicy flavours. The sea salt farms in this region have led to the preserving of fish and vegetables, making pickles a regional specialty.
The flavours of the South can be distinguished by their sweeter and more tropical tastes. Influences here came from ancient Cambodians, the Khmer and Siam cultures introducing palm sugar and coconut into dishes such as curry.
Wherever you go in Vietnam you will be overwhelmed by the quality and freshness of the food, the lingering smells of freshly ground spices, the cooking of regional specialties and the smiles on the faces who serve them. The market is the central pillar of Vietnamese life and it would be difficult to say you had been to Vietnam and not have taken the time to walk through the most tantalising sensual experience one can have.