We continue this food guide of Vietnam with these 5 dishes and foods not to be missed!
6. Rice specialties
Rice is omnipresent in Vietnamese cuisine. Rice, rice noodles, rice flour, glutinous rice, rice-based desserts…. it’s almost in every meal.
A nice discovery I made during my last stay is certainly the specialties of the city of Hue, made from rice and shrimp or meat fillings.
For example, banh nam are steamed rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves with minced pork or shrimp.
So delicious, especially when accompanied by a spicy fish sauce.
Banh beo are also rice cakes but served in small cups, with a filling of chopped pork or shrimp, spring onions and fried pork rind.
Banh ram it are rice flour balls with a pork and shrimp filling in the center, placed on a fried patty. Yummy!
7. Fish and seafood
Going to Vietnam without enjoying the delicious seafood feasts and fish would be a real shame, especially if you stay along the coast.
Some restaurants even allow us to choose our evening meal from a whole inventory of live fish and seafood.
Grilled, poached, steamed, with lemongrass, you’re sure to enjoy it!
8. The fruits
The fruit stalls of the markets are real explosions of colors. It’s impossible to remain indifferent to the diversity and freshness of the fruits.
Dragon fruits with their pink rind, milk apples that are massaged to extract their juice, rambutan, longan, jackfruit, green mangoes sold with salt and hot pepper, you will be spoilt for choice.
And why not take advantage of this opportunity to taste the durian, this fruit forbidden on board several airlines and in some hotels because of its smell?
9. Coffee and sugar cane juice
In Vietnam, it is best to forget about wine and focus on the other beverages the country has to offer.
I could have told you about the excellent teas or the refreshing lager beers that we sometimes drink with a big block of ice in the glass, but my favorites were the coffee and the sugar cane juice.
In my opinion, coffee can almost be a dessert. Prepared with condensed milk, it is often drunk cold with ice or hot. Tasty!
Another must-have is freshly squeezed sugar cane juice.
We finish with a last category, the condiments! Because without Nuoc Nam sauce, bird peppers, pepper, lime, garlic and all the fresh herbs, Vietnamese cuisine would not be the delight it is!
Of course, we all heard of the fish sauce (nuoc nam), a sauce made of fermented fish. On its own, it is used to enhance dishes and marinades.
It is also used as an accompaniment to dishes to dip rolls, pancakes or as a dressing.
It is then mixed with finely chopped bird’s eye peppers and garlic. Sugar is also sometimes added.
A mixture of salt and pepper served in a small bowl with the juice of a lime wedge is often served with fish and seafood.
And of course, there is the inevitable duo of salt and hot pepper to accompany some of the more acidic fruits such as coconuts or green mangoes.
Herbs, on the other hand, steal the show. Sometimes sour, bitter, sweet, lemony, they bring flavor and freshness to the dishes they flavor, from soup to rolls, salads and vermicelli or rice dishes.
There is a wide variety that we don’t often have the opportunity to taste in Quebec: peppermint (rau Bạc hà), paddy grass (rau ngo), tía tô with its slightly purple leaves, betel, lemongrass, coriander or Thai basil to name a few.