Real taste of Vietnam

Pho Saigon
Not only geographical position, Vietnam’s cuisine also reflects this country’s contacts with other cultures over the centuries. In spite of many outside influences, Vietnamese cuisine has retained its distinctive characters. Thanks to a vast variety of fresh local ingredients, Vietnamese cuisine has formed its own flavors and nuances with amazingly contrasting colors and textures. Go on Vietnam culinary discovery holiday, travel the length of Vietnam, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and sample the local specialties. Dragon Pearl Junk halong bay

Signature dishes

Pho Hanoi

Pho Hanoi- source: internet

Southerners and Northerners often argue endlessly over who has better Pho, the signature noodle dish of Vietnam’s cuisine. A Saigonese will complain that Hanoi’s broth is too bland while someone from Hanoi will complain that the pho of Ho Chi Minh City is too sweet. Nonetheless, the clear but subtle flavors of this simple and intoxicatingly mouthwatering dish are famous throughout the world, thanks to a large Vietnamese diaspora scattered throughout Asia, the USA, Australia and Europe.

Pho Saigon

Pho Saigon- source: internet

With steaming hot broth poured over a bowl of rice noodles topped with beef or chicken, fresh onion and herbs, this noodle soup can be eaten for breakfast or as a late-night snack. Sometimes, to liven up the dish, a raw egg yolk is added and Vietnamese might also add chili sauce, hot peppers, lime juice or vinegar. It is usually served with a side dish of rau thom and quay – a deep-fried piece of flour dough. mekong river cruise vietnam

Seafood galore

Ca kho to

Ca kho to- source: internet

The 3,000km (1,800-mile) coastline and numerous rivers and waterways of Vietnam’s provide an ample supply of fresh seafood and fish all year round. Simply boiled or steamed, squid, lobsters, prawns and crabs, are often at its best when being served with a dip of salt, chili and lemon. Fresh saltwater fish are often steamed in a hotpot or boiled in a broth where the flavors mingle with many kinds of herbs and vegetables. Ca kho to – catfish fillet with slices of coconut, glazed with a rich, caramelized sauce and served in a clay pot is one of the most popular dishes.

Though menus of all restaurants tend to be dominated by seafood, fish and meat, there are also a wide range of delicious options for vegetarians such as tofu served in a variety of styles, crunchy green (unripe) papaya salad or stir-fried spinach with garlic. As fried rice is often cooked with squid or pork, if you are a non-meat eater, when ordering, it is best to declare “toi an chay” (I’m a vegetarian).

Family affair

A Vietnamese meal

A Vietnamese meal- source: internet

A hotpot (lau) or steamboat meal is a great way to enjoy a shared dining experience. This DIY feast consists of several plates of assorted seafood or meats, and noodles and fresh vegetables, which are added to a communal pot of boiling broth at the diner’s discretion. Add more stock and ingredients, while chatting and clinking glasses throughout the evening, Vietnamese can sit over a hotpot for hours.

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