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Vietnamese Food - La Nouvelle Cuisine of Asia

Serious foodies have long appreciated the unique flavors and textures of what the Vietnamese call their “la nouvelle cuisine of Asia.”  As Vietnam roars to the top of the list of popular destination for travelers, its signature dishes are beginning to make their way into the ethnic food lineup in international capitals such as New York, Berlin, Prague (home to a growing Vietnamese diaspora) and even Paris.  International gourmets are learning that Vietnamese cuisine is more than just noodles and soup.  Though… they constitute a major part of it!

Vietnam’s culinary legacies from its onetime Chinese overlords include the importance of rice, the technique of flash cooking in hot oil or broth, the tradition of eating with chopsticks, and the notion that the more sauces one offers one’s guests, the a better host one is. 

Vietnam’s verdant climate yields a delightful abundance of fresh fruit, greens, herbs, and vegetables and all of these are important parts of the regional cuisines of North, Central, and South Vietnam. 

And then there are the noodles, for which Vietnam is justly renowned.  They come in all shapes and sizes and are available literally for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: wheat, Mung bean, or rice noodles are everywhere in Vietnamese cuisine, as is the sound of expert slurping that no foreigner can correctly imitate. 

Other flavor accents include red chilies (particularly in the south, where they replace black pepper as the heat component), cilantro, basil, garlic, ginger, soft fruits, and salt.

Try these delicious Vietnamese dishes on your trip to this fascinating Asian country:

Nuoc Cham - not a dish but an essential part of almost all of them, this Vietnamese fish sauce makes an appearance with almost every meat or soup dish.  

Phó - literally means, “One’s own bowl” and is one of the very few Vietnamese dishes not designed to be shared from a communal serving dish.  Pho is a hearty bowl of broth with meat and noodles, in which crunchy vegetables, bean sprouts, herbs, and aromatics are added at the very end.  

Goi - a salad of vegetables and fruits.

Che - a sweet bean soup.

Goi cuon - spring rolls in rice-paper wrapping, usually with shrimp or pork with greens, herbs, and possibly rice noodles, with the ubiquitous Nuoc Cham.

Banh Mi - Vietnam’s most popular export is a legacy of later French colonists, who brought their baguettes with them.  The Vietnamese simply filled the baguettes with their own signature flavors such as pork, shrimp, chicken, pickled root vegetables and greens.  Traditionally served hot and spicy!

Alexander + Roberts craft innovative tours to Asia to suit all palates, including our Vietnam, Cambodia and the Riches of the Mekong with a breathtaking visit to Ha Long Bay.

Posted: 3/17/2016 12:20:00 PM by Alexander + Roberts