Food Drink

Staples Specialities - Pho - Com - Nem - Herbs Spices - Fruits Vegetables - Fish Meat Fowl - Desserts - Regional Specialities - The North - The Centre - The South - Drinks - Celebrations - Where To Eat Drink - Quick Eats - Vegetarians Vegans - Habits Customs - Table Etiquette - Cooking Courses - Eat Your Words - Useful Phrases


Vietnam has a healthy drinking culture, and the heal and humidity will ensure that you hunt out anything on offer to slake your thirst. You will never be more than ,a few minutes from beer. There is no national brand, but a rip-roaring selection of regional beers, some of them distributed countrywide. Memorise the words bia hoi. which mean 'draught beer'. There are signs advertising it everywhere and most cafes have it on the menu. See the boxed text on for the full picture on this Vietnam institution. Xeo (rice wine) is as old as the hills. Formerly seen as a sort of cider for country bumpkins, it is gaining new kudos in the cities as a cheap and cheerful route to oblivion. Another Vietnamese speciality is ruou ran (snale wine). This is basically rice wine with apickled snake floating in it. This elixir is considered a tonic and allegedly cures everything from night blindness to impotance. The preparation, serving and drinking of tea has a social importance seldom appreciated by Weatern visitors. Serving tea in the home or office is more than a gesture ol hospitality, it is ,a ritual, Vietnamese coffee is fine stuff. There is, however, one qualifier: most drinkers need to dilute it with hot water The Vietnamese prefer then" coffee so strong and swest that it will ,strip the enamel from your teeth. Ordering 'iced coffee with milk' (ca phe sua da) usually result in coffee with about 30% to 40% sweetened condensed milk. Hoi coffee with milk (ca phe sua nong) is available in big cities and tourist places, but not in more remote areas where they might not keep fresh milk