Influenced by the geography of the country, the Vietnamese cuisine is divided into three distinct regions including the North, Central, and the South. Each region has a ton of unique local specialties which definitely compete for your attention and affection. However, the cuisine of any region also has two things which are rice and a very specific fish sauce. You can easily realize that soups play a large role in North cuisine.
Breakfast in Vietnam is strictly a savoury affair; you rarely find many people chowing down on sugary breakfast cereals here. The Vietnamese are early risers and they need serious fuel, so it is all about steaming hot soup, broken rice and Banh Mi for starting the day. The country’s famous Pho soup is in fact traditionally a breakfast dish although it can be consumed any time of the day.
Lots of fresh herbs for flavor in the food in Vietnam
One observation you will make immediately is how fresh and flavorful the food is. The Vietnamese use mounds of herbs in their dishes, which make for very fresh and delicious meals. As soon as we arrived in Vietnam from Bangkok, Thailand, we could immediately taste the difference in the food. The herbs used are diverse and plentiful and accompany practically all meals.
Raw herbs are served in a huge bowl and they are chopped, tossed, rolled and wrapped into dishes. From soups, rice, sandwiches, rolls and noodles, the fresh and simple herbs bring forth the delicious flavors of the foods.
Drinking coffee in Vietnam
As the world’s second-largest producer of coffee, Vietnam has many kinds of coffee that served both hot and iced ranging from very strong, black or with condensed milk (called ca phe sua).
If you are in Ha Noi, do not forget to taste egg coffee (ca phe trung) the most famous coffee in the north of Vietnam. It is a dark coffee topped with egg yolk whipped with condensed milk into an airy froth. Egg coffee is quite rich and tastes similar to tiramisu dessert. Vietnamese people love drinking coffee in a small roadside coffee shop while watching the forever crowded traffic of Vietnam filled with motorbikes flowing.
Animal blood soup
Raw animal blood (usually from a duck or pig) is a delicacy in Vietnam. It is a soup made from freshly slaughtered animal blood, fish sauce, cooked meat and herbs. Its taste is described as cool, sour and buttery, often washed down with some strong rice wine. It can be found on the street but is also often consumed during festive occasions, such as the Lunar New Year, when the animal is typically slaughtered at the host’s home.
Fish sauce, or nước mắm, is a major component of Vietnamese cuisine. Made from fermented anchovies and salt, the sauce tends to lose its strong fish taste when combined with other ingredients and instead adds simultaneously sweet and salty flavours to the food. This incredibly versatile condiment is used in many popular dishes and as a delicious dipping sauce for spring rolls, Bun Cha and broken rice. No experience of Vietnamese cuisine is complete without a taste of fish sauce.