Understanding Vietnamese Food Culture

Elly Hoang

2016 August 17

 What is it about Vietnamese food that makes it outstanding and remarkable?

Although food enthusiasts have Vietnamese cuisine in their list of the best cuisines all over the world, not many people actually have the idea how good this Asian cuisine is. As compared to Chinese or Thai food, Vietnamese food hasn’t actually been taken up by most home cooks. While there are some people who crave for this cuisine, there are also some who only discover the goodness of Vietnamese food when they travel to Vietnam.

Due to French invasion of the country, many people think that Vietnamese cuisine is heavily French-influenced. However, Vietnamese people strongly disagree on that and argued that Vietnamese cuisine is solely from an ancient country whose culinary traditions have also been shaped by nations such as China and India. But despite these influences, Vietnamese food has kept its own identity and remained diverse from other Asian cuisines.

 Variations in different regions

 Vietnamese food culture and cuisines vary from different regions in Vietnam — the north, south, central regions — differ from each other. They, however, share the love for rice and having it as a staple part of any meal. Rice plays an essential role in the country’s diet. Rice is usually consumed jointly by family members. Aside from the common love for rice, all regions in Vietnam are also crazy about noodles. In fact, the locals regularly eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Noodles are usually eaten wet and dry, with soup or just served with soup, and are usually made in different shapes and thickness of wheat, rice, and mung beans.


   Rice plays an essential role in the country’s diet

  Vietnam’s cuisine mirrors its geography and history. Geographically, it is consist of two great river deltas which are separated by a belt of mountains and they are supplying mainly rice for the whole country and for exporting. The Red River Delta surrounding Hanoi is the source of rice for the residents of North Vietnam. On the other side, the fertile Mekong Delta which is connected to Ho Chi Minh city supplys rice and a massive mount of different fruits and vegetables.

 The dishes in the northern part of the country reflects more Chinese influence than the central or the south since it’s closer to the Chinese border. People in the north often use soy sauce as influenced by the Chinese, as well as stir-frying. The Northern cuisine has fewer herbs and vegetables as compared to other regions since its climate is not as crops-friendly than that of the Mekong Delta area. Moreover, the chili dishes in the north are cooked with black pepper than chilies.

 The central region is mostly influenced by the Vietnamese monarchy to the ancient kingdom of Champa, thus, the servings of the food has to be many and bountiful. The more lavish the serving, the wealthier the household. At present, even the less privileged families in the central region are still used to preparing and serving multiple dishes of simple vegetables.

 The distinct features of Vietnamese cuisine

 Perhaps, one of the most distinguishing features of Vietnamese food is the use of fresh herbs, soft lettuce and raw vegetables in their dishes. The vegetables may just be a side dish or the garnish but they add to the flavor of the dish. Another important feature of a Vietnamese dish is the fish sauce. It is a flavorful, amber-colored liquid made from salted and fermented fish. It is used as an ingredient in dipping sauce and as flavoring in cooked dishes.


Raw vegetables are favourite food of the country


daily Vietmanese meal


Daily traditional Vietmanese meal

A Vietnamese food culture is often characterized by the abundance of leafy vegetables served with every meal. Vietnam people usually prepare several dishes that are placed on a tray or table. Each person has his/her own bowl or plate filled with rice and then takes food from the tray. They would then add in some leafy vegetables and pour in a small amount of fish sauce or dip the food into it. Every place has it’s own flavor. Northern cuisine is known for using a lot Mononatri glutamat when they cook, Middle cuisine for it’s saltines and spiciness while sounther cuisine for it’s sweetness

 Let't travel to Vietnam and enjoy many dishes from many regions to understand more about the culture and people of Vietnam!




  • Vietnam
  • Vietnamese food
  • Vietnamese cuisine
  • Vietnamese culture
  • Vietnamses rice
  • Culture

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