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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Vietnam on a plate: a trip of Vietnam's best local meals

By Ton Tu  |  18:56

Vietnam on a plate: a tour of Vietnam's best local dishes

Travel for even a week in Vietnam and you'll quickly realise how few of its gastronomic specialities are well known outside the nation. Every region claims unique edible delights. Culinary classics such as northern pho, Hue royal banquet fare, and southern sizzling pancakes are just a delicious sample of what's on offer.
In the north of Vietnam, the food is closely aligned with China. Less spices are made use of than in central and southern Vietnam, but black pepper is very essential.

In the temperate centre of the country and the tropical south, more vegetables and fruits are readily available, and many different spices are utilised in regional kitchen areas. Southerners also use more sugar, even in savoury dishes, and dining is quite a hands-on experience. Many meals integrate a mountainous plate of fresh herbs, which are wrapped with cooked meat and seafood in a crisp lettuce leaf, and after that dipped in flavour-packed sauces.

Meals of northern Vietnam Pho

A fragrant serving of pho is truly Vietnam in a bowl. A range of garnishes is always on hand to customise the meal to the restaurant's individual taste. Lime juice, bean sprouts, or a dash of chilli or fish sauce can all be added, and in the south of Vietnam a tangle of fresh herbs is offered for extra flavour and texture.

Bánh cuon

Mon cuon (rice rolls) are consumed throughout Vietnam-- the most famous are goi cuon (summer season rolls)-- but the Hanoi range of bánh cuon have their own special characteristics. The fragile wrappings are gossamer thin and soft, yet providing subtle resistance when consumed. Ingredients may include grilled pork, fried bean curd, or veggies. In Hanoi, bánh cuon crammed with minced pork and earthy mushrooms are served at Banh Cuon Gia Truyen.

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Bun cha

Bun cha makes up grilled pork meatballs served on a bed of cold bun (rice vermicelli), dressed with aromatic herbs and a sweetly moderate dipping sauce. In the street-food stalls of Hanoi, robust nem cua be (deep-fried crab spring rolls) are served as a hearty side meal.

Bun rieu cua

Thank the northern propensity for turning humble ingredients into something superb for this crustacean-flavoured soup. It's made from rice-paddy crabs, loaded with tomato portions, green onions and bun (rice vermicelli), and topped with sautéed crab fat. Some cooks include bean curd and oc (big snails) in a dish called bun rieu cua oc. Green leaves, herbs and sliced banana-tree stem are all popular additions at the easy sidewalk stalls of Hanoi's Old Quarter. Our favourite supplier is at 40 P Hang Tre.

 

Meals of central Vietnam
Bánh

One of the tastiest legacies of Emperor Tu Duc's reign in the imperial city of Shade in main Vietnam is bánh, steamed rice cakes served with a drizzle of fish sauce. The heat-loving individuals of main Vietnam typically add a dollop of chilli sauce to additional enliven a shared plate of these fragile dishes.

Mi quang

Chewy and thick turmeric-yellow noodles are topped with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, herbs and chopped peanuts, and dampened with just a dash of rich broth making mi quang. Called for its native province of Quang Nam in main Vietnam, the dish includes rice crackers for crumbling and is finished in typically main Vietnamese design: with a dab of sweet-hot chilli jam. Exceptional mi quang can be had

Com hen

For com hen, rice includes a rich broth and tiny clams collected from Color's Fragrance River. Garnishes include rice crackers, pork crackling, peanuts, sesame seeds, fresh herbs and vegetables. Served riverside at the easy 17 Ð Han Mac Tu location in Tone, a bowl of com hen accomplishes the cooking task of being all at once hearty and delicate of flavour. Bun hen is an equally tasty variation using rice noodles.

Cao lau

The heritage of centuries of global trade appears in cao lau, the signature noodle meal of the main Vietnamese town of Hoi An. Thick soba-like Japanese-style noodles are experienced with herbs, salad greens and bean sprouts, and served with pieces of roast pork. Attempt this extremely local dish on a street-food walking tour with Consume Hoi An.

Lime juice, bean sprouts, or a dash of chilli or fish sauce can all be included, and in the south of Vietnam a tangle of fresh herbs is available for additional flavour and structure. Mon cuon (rice rolls) are consumed throughout Vietnam-- the most famous are goi cuon (summer rolls)-- however the Hanoi range of bánh cuon have their own special attributes.

One of the tastiest heritages of Emperor Tu Duc's reign in the royal city of Color in central Vietnam is bánh, steamed rice cakes served with a drizzle of fish sauce. The heat-loving individuals of main Vietnam typically add a dollop of chilli sauce to more enliven a shared plate of these delicate meals. Named for its native province of Quang Nam in main Vietnam, the meal comes with rice crackers for crumbling and is finished in characteristically main Vietnamese style: with a dab of sweet-hot chilli jam.

Author: Ton Tu
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