Vietnamese food has gained a lot of popularity in the last decade, with scores of restaurants opening up in cities across the world. It is one of the most widely-used cuisines for takeout and delivery, but surprisingly few people know how to cook it at home.
If you want to try something new but are worried it might be too difficult to find a Vietnamese restaurant in Australia or a food, Vietnamese cuisine is a great choice — it’s as healthy as it is delicious.
Vietnamese food is similar to Chinese cuisine, although there are some important differences. Vietnamese food uses a lot of fish sauce and fermented shrimp paste, which flavors every dish differently, and it also incorporates lemongrass and mint leaves into many dishes.
Vietnamese cuisine has its roots in China, specifically in the south called Nam Bo. The Chinese brought their own cooking style to the region, which stayed for hundreds of years before French chefs began influencing Vietnamese cooking in the late 1800s. The French brought ingredients like cream, butter, and milk to Vietnam, complemented by indigenous ingredients like chili peppers and coconut milk. Vietnamese cooking is known for its emphasis on fresh ingredients and light preparation techniques.
Pho is basically a noodle soup; bo means beef. Pho is Vietnam’s national dish, and it’s one of the most popular street foods there. The broth is made from boiling bones all day long, so it’s very rich and flavorful. From there, they add noodles, fresh herbs, lime juice, and chili peppers to make this delicious dish. Bún chả: bún chả is similar to pho, except instead of using meat broth as the liquid base, they use pork bone broth — that makes sense because chả means pork! They add noodles and green leafy vegetables and sometimes pork belly or grilled sausage.
Tôm Chấu Soup (Crab Soup)
One of the most popular dishes in Vietnam is tôm chấu or crab soup. This soup is eaten all over the country and made with crab, lettuce, herbs, and often rice noodles. The crab can be either steamed or boiled in this dish. Another popular dish is bún riêu or noodle soup with clear broth filled with seafood and vegetables. This dish is served with rice noodles and topped with fried shallots. Miến gà is a popular dish consisting of sliced chicken breasts served alongside rice noodles, bean sprouts, and herbs covered in a savory sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and pepper.
Taste Vibrant, Spicy and Savory
Vietnamese cuisine is loved worldwide for its bright, bold flavors. Unlike other Asian cuisines, which often rely on subtlety and refinement, Vietnamese cooking focuses on highlighting a variety of tastes and textures. This means that you might find dishes that are hot and spicy, salty and sour all at once! The ingredients used also differ from other Asian cuisines. While garlic, soy sauce, and ginger are frequently used as flavoring agents in Chinese cooking, they are rarely present in Vietnamese cuisine. Instead, Vietnamese cooks use lemongrass, fish sauce, and lime juice to create their signature taste.
In addition to being extremely flavorful, Vietnamese food is also extremely healthy. Many dishes rely on fresh vegetables like cabbage or carrots as their base ingredient rather than meat or fish.