Thom's Recipe File
Vietnamese cooking draws from a number of cultures including French.
Vietnamese food in the north of this
long, skinny country is heavily influenced by Chinese cooking and often
features stir-fries and noodle-based soups. The south is tropical and has
many rice paddies and coconut groves. The food here tends to be spicier. And
all that coastline means fish and seafood are prominently featured at the
Vietnamese table. The predominant flavors are mint, coriander, lemongrass,
shrimp, nuoc nam and nuoc cham fish sauces, star anise, ginger, black
pepper, garlic, basic and rice wine. Popular Vietnamese dishes include Pho,
a beef noodle soup, sticky rice and a spring roll called nem ran.
Vietnamese food appears to be similar to Chinese, but there are subtle
differences. Vietnamese foods tend to be spiced differently with fresh
vegetables and herbs enhancing the flavor. With plentiful seafood to be
found, such as lobster, crabs, shrimp and fish, it's no surprise that nuoc
mam (a fish sauce) is a staple in Vietnamese food, whereas soy sauce is
liberally used in other Asian countries.
Usually a bowl of soup (pho) is consumed in the morning, but is also eaten
at lunch and dinner time. A meal usually consists of several courses served
concurrently: meat or seafood, rice, noodles, egg dishes, vegetables, etc.
Green tea is the beverage of choice and is available pretty much all the