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

One of the delights of visiting Virtnam is the cuisine. and there are said to be about 500 traditional dishes. Eating is such an integral patt of the culture (hat a time-honoured Vietnamese proverb. 'hoc an. hoc noi' dictates that people should 'learn to eat before learning to speak' Vietnamese cuisine is the sum of many parts. Vietnam has an enviable natural prosperity and the cooking echniques showcase the bounty from land and sea to great advantage. Colonialism and foreign influences led to a marrying of techniques and ingredients. The result? The Vietnamese table. Famous dishes such as pho(rice noodle soup) and fresh spring rolls are but the tip of a gastronomic iceberg. In addition to a myriad of foods and preparations, there are a staggering number of sauces and dips limited only by the imagination of the cook, If cooking were painting. Vietnam would have one of the world's most colorful palettes. The Vietnamese have no culinary inhibitions and are always willing to try something new. When you combine these two tendencies. nothing is ruled out
Nuoc mam(fish sauce) is the one ingredient that is quintessentially Vietnam ese and it lends a distinctive' character to Vietnamese cooking. Yhe s auce is made by fermenting highly salted fish in large ceramic vats for four to 12 months. Connoisseurs insist the high-grade rocket fuel has a much milder aroma than the cheaper variety Dissenters insist it is a chemical weapon It is very often used as dipping sauce, and takes the place of salt on a Western table Insist on the real thing (rather than the lighter stuff) - you will not have been to Vietnam otherwise,
If nuoc-mam isn't strong enough for you, try mam tom,a powerful shrimp paste that American soldiers sometimes called 'Viet Cong tear gas’. It's often served with dog meat. a popular dish in the north - foreigners generally find it far more revolting than the dog itself.