Vietnam Food and Drink

Vietnamese cooking is varied and usually superb, as the profusion of Vietnamese restaurants in New York, London and Berlin contest. It is a mixture of Vietnamese, Chinese and French traditions, with a plethora of regional variations. As in all countries of the region, rice or noodles usually provide the basis of a meal. Not surprisingly, fish is plentiful. Pride is taken in the fact that the freshest of vegetables are used and the vegetables and fruit served is seasonal.

Specialities

• Breakfast is often congee (rice porridge) or a meaty noodle soup locally known as pho.
Nem (spring rolls: pork mixed with noodles, eggs and mushrooms wrapped in rice paper, fried and served hot).
Banh chung (glutinous rice, pork and onions wrapped in large leaves and cooked for up to 48 hours, to be eaten cold at any time).
Nuoc mam (Vietnamese dishes are not complete without this fermented fish sauce).
• Bun cha, (grilled pork, cold rice noodles, deep fried rolls and a big bowl of salad leaves).

Tipping

Tipping is now quite customary, especially in tourist areas, and is much appreciated in a country where salaries are still low. Upscale restaurants and hotels may add a 5-10% service charge to the bill.

Regional drinks

Soda chanh is a refreshing lime soda served with freshly squeezed lime juice, sugar and ice mixed into club soda.
• Vietnamese coffee grown in the Central Highlands is served thick, strong and black through a drip filter. Sometimes it is served with condensed milk to sweeten it.
• Vietnamese green tea is light and refreshing and served at the end of meals.
Ruou can (rice wine) is made by members of the Vietnamese hill tribes and drunk straight from ceramic fermentation jars through bamboo straws.
Bia hoi or fresh beer is produced daily and served ice cold in small, local bars. It is not particularly alcoholic but very refreshing.

Drinking age

None

Edited by Jane Duru
Did you find what you were looking for?
Newsletter