Vietnamese food contains a brilliant balance of aromatics, heat, sweetness, sourness and fish sauces. 

What Makes Vietnamese Food Special?

Fresh herbs, the combination of sweet and salty and the combination of fresh and fermented make Vietnamese food very special. This type of cuisine is a favourite for many people around the globe.

To gain an understanding of the flavour of Vietnam, one must first look at geography. The food in this country is heavily influenced by China, with its stir-fries and noodle-based soups. As you move south, there is more flavour-blending with Thailand and Cambodia nearby.

The food in southern Vietnam tends to be sweeter; it’s also necessary to mention the French colonization when talking about Vietnamese food. This period has had a lasting effect on the country and the flavours found within this region. Phố is a great example of French colonialism leaving its mark, because the soup is a blend of Vietnamese rice noodles and French meat broths.

The Universal Dishes of Vietnam

There are two universal themes you will find when travelling all over Vietnam; rice and fish sauce. Vietnam is the second-largest rice exporter in the world after Thailand, and rice is grown all over the country.

In Vietnam, rice will appear at breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. It can be served in a wide variety of dishes, using different methods such as rice noodles, rice porridge, sticky rice or puffed rice snacks.

Fish sauce is also a very popular Vietnamese food; most salt intake in the Vietnamese diet is delivered in the form of fermented fish sauce. Fish sauce is used in salad dressings, soup broths and marinades, and it’s very hard to think of a Vietnamese dish in which fish sauce is not used!  Nước chấm is the most common example of dipping sauce, made with fermented fish sauce, garlic, lime juice, and chilli.

Vietnamese Herbs & Spices

Additionally, Vietnamese food makes extensive use of fresh herbs, spices and aromatics. Cilantro, mint, basil, lemongrass, garlic chives, fish mint, green onions and dill are examples of fresh ingredients you will find in Vietnamese foods, as are turmeric, ginger and Saigon cinnamon. 

You will not find much cheese, butter or cream in Vietnamese food. Also, instead of fresh milk, you will find lots of sweetened condensed milk. People in Vietnam traditionally get their servings of calcium by way of fish bones and shells. Sweetened condensed milk is mixed with Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee, which is sweet but also very strong.

Unripe fruits are considered more like vegetables in Vietnam and are usually a bit sour. These pair nicely with fish sauce, chilli, garlic and dried shrimp. Ripe, sweeter fruit, however, is typically used as a dessert, ending a meal with a hot teapot and a big platter of indigenous fruits—as opposed to cakes or cookies. Slices of banana, mango, pineapple and watermelon are all popular as Vietnamese dessert options.

Vietnamese Food in Nanaimo and Parksville, B.C.

There is a lot of flavour and taste in Vietnamese food, and Lan Vietnamese specializes in this kind of cuisine. We understand Vietnamese food and if you are looking for a restaurant near me or are searching for Vietnamese food near me in the Nanaimo or Parksville areas, contact us today at 250-756-7943 (Nanaimo, B.C.) or 250-586-6979 (Parksville, B.C.).

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