Do you know that Vietnamese cuisine is considered as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world? Fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, fish sauce, and soy sauce, make the dishes unique, tasty, and healthy. Other than the mentioned ingredients, Vietnamese people absolutely love rice and noodles and can eat them every day. In fact, they can have it with every meal.
Read on to know some more interesting and little-known facts about Vietnamese cuisine!
1. Tao Quan – Three Kitchen Gods
Vietnamese legend says that three kitchen gods visit every kitchen in Vietnam. Surprised, right? Even more interesting is that they also believe that these three kitchen gods observe and track the daily affairs of the cookery and make annual reports based on their findings. Once a year they travel to heaven to submit the report to The Jade Emperor.
2. Tiet Canh – Blood soup
If vampires are real, this is surely a go-to soup for them! Made from freshly killed duck blood, Tiet Canh is a traditional blood pudding that is served with cooked duck meat.
- While preparing the soup, the blood is first mixed with fish sauce to stop it from coagulating prematurely.
- After that, the duck meat is cooked with crushed peanuts and chopped herbs.
- Then the watery broth, left from cooking the meat, is mixed with the blood and fish sauce mixture for blood coagulation.
- Finally, the blood soup or Tiet Canh is ready to be served!
3. Balut – Half hatched eggs
A popular street food that does not look appetizing at all, but surely tastes better than it looks! Dating back to the 1800s, Balut eggs were first introduced by the Chinese, and then they became popular in many Asian countries. Balut is mainly made from duck eggs.
Basically, it is a partly developed duck embryo that has been incubated for 14 to 21 days. It can be boiled or steamed, then salt and a few herbs can be added according to the taste. Since the egg is partially developed, you can distinctly see the yolk and the duck fetus. Those who have eaten this delicacy claim that it definitely tastes better than it looks. So, next time you are in Vietnam; be sure to not judge a book by its cover and give this popular street food a try!
4. Snake Wine
Known for its various health benefits; snake wine is a popular drink in Vietnam. We all know that snakes have various medicinal properties. Therefore, it is believed in Vietnam that snake wine can cure back pain, solve digestive and even fertility problems. Some people go as far as calling it the elixir of life!
Vietnamese use two ways to prepare the snake wine. One way of making the snake alcohol is by taking a glass jar, filling it with rice wine, and then putting in a poisonous snake macerate. Because of their medicinal properties, lizards, turtles, scorpions, and insects are also added to the wine. To eliminate the odor of these dead animals, herbs and spices (like ginseng) are also included to the mixture.
Another way Vietnamese prepare the Snake wine is by killing a snake and mixing its blood and bile with rice wine. This beverage is now ready to drink immediately.
Because of its unique ingredients, snake wine is very popular among locals and is also purchased by a lot of tourists.
5. Using all parts of Pig
Except for the pig’s hair, Vietnamese people use all the parts of a pig to cook meals. We know it sounds gross, but it tastes better than it sounds! All the organs, such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs are utilized to prepare meals that are very popular among the locals. In addition to this, the internal parts (like liver and kidney) are also used to prepare a very special soup called the Pha Lau.
6. Vietnamese and their love for noodles
One thing everyone should know is that Vietnamese people love noodles! They can literally eat them all the time. Even though Japan is the home country of instant noodles; Vietnamese people have surpassed them in consuming this processed food.
Other than instant ones, Vietnam has its own wide range of noodles, including Mi Van Than (Egg Noodle), Mien (Grass Noodle), Bun (Vermicelli), Pho, and Hu Tieu.
7. Fresh Herbs
Vietnamese love putting in lots of fresh herbs in their meals. This is one element that gives their dishes a very rich and unique flavor. People visiting from other countries immediately taste a distinct flavor as fresh herbs are added to the food in order to enhance the aroma, flavor and taste.
Along with the seasonings already present in the recipes; Vietnamese people also serve chopped herbs in a separate bowl with the main course.
8. Thirty Sauces
Sauces are something that Vietnamese are very proud of, and they widely use them with several dishes. The Cuisine has almost thirty types of different dips, including fish sauce, shrimp sauce, frog sauce, crab sauce, crab egg sauce, etc. These dressings are meant to enrich the flavor of the meals.
So, on your visit to Vietnam, be sure to try the dipping sauces with the main dish to get a complete Vietnamese cuisine experience!
9. Chè – Soup Desert
Chè is known as one of the most popular and tasty desserts in Vietnam. If you have a sweet tooth and love experimenting different food options, then this is one dessert you should not miss! You can find various kinds of chè, as it refers to dessert soup, pudding, and even a sweet beverage.
10. Adding broth to the rice bowl
Vietnam is the only country in the entire world that adds broth or soup to the rice bowls. This is one reason why rice is so popular in the country, and their grain-based meals have a taste like no other cuisines in the world!
Because of this, Vietnamese do not prefer to have drinks with their food, and usually prefer a beverage before or after their meals.
Vietnam is also famous for its traditional cakes that are a part of their culture and are especially eaten in festivals, events, or during the Lunar New Year. Now when we think about cakes, we imagine about sweet delicacies. However, that is not the case in Vietnam because not all cakes are made from butter, flour and sugar. Neither you expect the cakes to be necessarily sweet.
Vietnam has a variety of different cakes that have been going down from generation to generation, such as, Banh Chung and Banh Giay (Square and Round Sticky Rice Cakes), Banh Tet (Cylindrical Sticky Rice Cake), Banh Phu The (Conjugal Cake), etc. There are more than 200 different kinds of cakes, that are all of different shapes and sizes. Some of them are so unique that they can only be found in Vietnam and nowhere else in the entire world!
The only important thing, when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine, is that “what is not pleasing to your eyes doesn’t mean it won’t be pleasant in taste either”!
The best part of Vietnamese recipes is its healthy ingredients that are full of nutrition. Basically, it has two-in-one qualities, fabulous taste with amazing health benefits. This cuisine is also great for those who want to shed some extra pounds but don’t want to eat boring diet food. Which one of these Vietnamese dishes will you try first?