Famous for its lively, fresh flavours and artfully composed meals, Vietnamese food and cooking is the true ‘light cuisine’ of Asia.
Abundant fresh herbs and greens, delicate soups and stir-fries, and well-seasoned grilled food served on, or with, rice or noodles are the mainstays of the Vietnamese delicacies. Even the beloved sweets for snacks or desserts are often based on fresh fruits served with sweetened rice or tapioca. Rarely does any dish have added fats. While the Vietnamese cuisine relies on fresh vegetables, subtle seasonings and rice, Vietnamese cooking also reflects its Chinese and French influences and it has numerous regional difference; in the south, look for plentiful fresh seafood and in the colder north, you’ll find slightly heartier meals with beef. In central Vietnam, around the ancient royal capital Hue, the food may contain influences of the former court cooks.
Rice is the staple food in the Vietnamese diet, present at all main meals, closely followed by the condiment added to most dishes: ‘nuoc mam’. This is made from salt and well fermented fish.