By Jose Alberto U. Dunca, K44-CTTT
“Vietnamese cuisine encompasses the foods and beverages of Vietnam, and features a combination of five fundamental tastes in the overall meal. Each Vietnamese dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of dairy and oil, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.”
I like the most at Vietnam is their foods. Why, because it’s kinda the same with ours, and the way Vietnamese serve foods. Their food is so healthy, every meal includes the needs for “GO”, “GROW”, and “GLOW”. And their foods is also balance according to the principle of “Yin and Yang” for providing the right benefits for our body. The primarily of this principle are “cooling and heating” properties of ingredients.
Majority of Vietnamese families in Vietnam eats sitting at the floor with mat. Every meal includes large bowl of rice (which is served last), individual bowls of rice, the main course (Fish/seafood, meat, tofu), vegetables (raw, pickled, steamed, or fresh), Canh or the soup, dipping sauce (fish sauce with any of garlic, pepper, chili, ginger, or lime juice), small dishes of relishes (salted eggplant, pickled white cabbage, pickled papaya, pickled garlic or pickled bean sprouts), fresh fruits, desserts (such as chè, ice cream, yogurt and many sweets), and wine or rice wine particularly (if there’s visitor). All dishes except individual bowls of rice are communal and are to be shared in the middle of the table. It is also customary for the younger to ask/wait for the elders to eat first and the women sit right next to the rice pot to serve rice for other people. They also pick up food for each other as an action of care. All dishes also, except for individual bowls of rice, are enjoyed collectively. All main course dishes are served simultaneously rather than one after another. The major dish of the main course is placed in the centers of the tables, usually big pots of soup or hot pot.
Rice is the major food served and eats by the Vietnamese just like the Filipinos. Most of the viand is eaten with rice. The noodles are also made from rice such as Phở, and Bún. Vietnamese loves to eat vegetables and fruits while in the Philippines teens or children hate to eat that. That’s why when some Filipinos when they will eat outside the university they will request to the restaurant owner that don’t put vegetables in their food (anh, chị, bạc ơi, không có rau nhé).
Food plays a major role in Vietnamese culture and everyday life. Both the preparation and consumption of meals is serious business, and often connected to a long tradition of recipes that have been handed down through the generations. As you can see, every holiday in Vietnam there’s a specific food that they prepare. For instance, Tết Holiday they prepare Bánh Chưng.
As I mentioned above Vietnamese food is so healthy and it’s easy to find anywhere. That’s why Vietnam became well known for its street food. According to Forbes.com, Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest city in Vietnam, is one of the best 10 places to have street food, not Hà Nội the capital or Thái Nguyên the place where I stay.
Foods I eat most in Vietnam:
Bánh Chưng - I (or we) always wait for someone to give us this during Tết Holiday because we always eat noodles during holiday and all of the restaurants around the university are close.
Xôi – favorite food every breakfast or even not breakfast, every time feel hungry I will just go down the dormitory and eat where have near of this. I always eat xôi thịt (pork) or xôi trứng (egg).
Bánh bao – we also have this at the Philippines and we called it “siopao”.
Lẩu – (Vietnamese hot pot) every party they cook this. The ingredients are assorted vegetables, meats, seafood, eggs (chicken, quail, duck and “balut”), noodles and spicy herbs.
Cháo - we also have this we called it “lugaw” or congee in English. It is good to eat this every morning.
Nem rán – (spring rolls) one of my favorite food. This is fried flour rolls filled with pork, yam, crab, shrimp, rice vermicelli, mushrooms ("wood ear") and other ingredients.
Bánh mì – healthy Vietnamese Sandwich, having meat or egg, sliced cucumber, sliced carrots, and mint or rau thơm (which I don’t like to eat). I will just eat this if there’s no Bánh Bao, because it takes time to prepare while bánh bao is ready to eat.
Cơm Rang – Vietnamese Fried rice whether mix or with beef is the one I always eat when going out. This is also healthy; why; because it has rice for the carbohydrates, meat for protein, and vegetables for calcium, zinc and etc.
Chè – “Halo-Halo” in Philippines, a refreshing and sweet dessert in Vietnam.
Sữa Chua - In Việt Nam, is my first time to eat yogurt. At first I regret to eat this but as time go by, I love it. Yogurt in Việt Nam is cheaper than in Philippines as I asked my friends in my country, because I don’t buy yogurt here.
Xúc Xích – “Hotdog” not “nóng chó”. I love hotdogs since childhood. That’s why I know already what the best brand of it in the Philippines. It’s “Purefoods Hotdog” (ps: I’m not endorsing this product). For the other brand of it, I don’t want to eat. And in Việt Nam I like “Xúc Xích Đức Việt”.
Phở Bò - Vietnam's national dish is eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and a must. Deep bowls of steaming aromatic beef broth contain thin slices of beef, tender rice noodles, and plenty of herbs.
Bún - especially Bún Chả, most of us like this. This is sweet and the pork is so delicious.
In general, Vietnamese food is well known all around the world and its nutrition is overloaded. The main staples of Vietnamese cuisine are rice (also used for making noodles), coconut, ginger, garlic, chilies, and copious amounts of fish sauce and fresh herbs. Vietnamese cooks employ a number of different cooking methods, including stir-frying, steaming, stewing (in clay pots), and grilling. The chief influence of Vietnamese cuisine comes from China, which among other things, is evident in the use of chop sticks. Spices from India have found their way into Vietnamese dishes via its neighboring countries Laos and Cambodia, while the Europeans brought tomatoes, peanuts, coffee, baguettes, yogurt, and butter. The Vietnamese love to snack, and one will never have to look far for a delicious meal when traveling. And the manners and culture of the Vietnamese regarding in food preparation or food serving is never been forgotten. They always treasure what their ancestors teach them. Vietnamese food tradition is well preserved. Vietnamese cuisine adheres to the principles of yin and yang as well as the notion of five flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and spicy). Meals are composed according to these principles, resulting in a diet that is balanced and beneficial for the body.