The seven most famous Vietnamese dishes
Vietnamese food is distinct and unforgettable. The cuisine relies on a balance of salty, sweet, sour and hot flavours, achieved through use of nuoc mam, a fermented fish sauce, cane sugar, the juice of kalamansi citrus fruit or tamarind and chilli peppers. Dishes use plenty of fresh herbs but tend not to be overly spicy, as chilli sauces are served separately.
Bun cha is popular in the Northern region of Vietnam. In the South, a similar dish of rice vermicelli and grilled meat is called bun thit nuong.
The familiar dish from Hanoi was in the top 10 best street foods of the world, voted by travelers on National Geographic last November.
Banh mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)
The Banh Mi sandwich has very different forms depending on where you are in Vietnam. There is the Infamous Banh Mi of Hoi An that was visited by Anthony Bourdain. This Banh mi is dubbed the “Deluxe” and along with fresh salad, pickles, and four types of pork is topped with a fried egg. Just a little bit up the road in Da Nang, you can find a specialty in the dehydrated pulled chicken sandwich called Banh Mi Ga. In Hanoi, you can find a grilled pork in a spicy sauce with fresh vegetables. Other variations found all over Vietnam include Fish sauce marinated grilled pork, Grilled Pork Patties with a sweet sauce, Meatballs in tomato sauce, and a morning favorite of fried egg. These are just a few of the variations, not to mention what foreign chefs and cooks are now doing with the humble Banh Mi.
Chuoi nep nuong (Vietnamese grilled banana sticky rice)
At the World Congress Street Food (WSFC), held in Singapore in June 2013, this dish was voted the most favorite street food.
Pho (Vietnamese noodle)
The Hanoi and Saigon styles of pho differ by noodle width, sweetness of broth, and choice of herbs.
In January 2013, Business Insider ranked Vietnamese pho in the first place of the top 40 cuisines you should try once in your life. International travelers also said that it was the food that they wanted to enjoy the first when they went to Vietnam
Bun rieu (Vietnamese crab noodle soup)
Bun rieu cua (crab noodle soup) is served with tomato broth and topped with crab or shrimp paste. In this dish, various freshwater paddy crabs are used, including the brown paddy crab found in rice paddies in Vietnam. The crabs are cleaned by being placed in clean water to remove dirt and sand. The crabs are pounded with the shell onto a fine paste. This paste is strained and the crab liquid is a base for the soup along with tomato. The crab residue is used as the basis for crab cakes.
Other ingredients for this dish are: tamarind paste, fried tofu, me or giam bong (kinds of rice vinegar), Garcinia multiflora Champ., annatto seeds to redden the broth, huyet (congealed pig’s blood), split water spinach stems, shredded banana flower, kinh gioi (Elsholtzia ciliata), spearmint, perilla, bean sprouts and cha chay (vegetarian sausage). This dish is rich in nutrition: calcium from the ground crab shells, iron from the congealed pig’s blood, and vitamins and fiber from the vegetables.
Bun rieu cua was on the list of the most attractive street foods of Asia on CNN Go 2012.
Goi cuon (salad roll)
It is listed at number 30 on World’s 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011. Fresh goi cuon have gained popularity among Vietnam’s neighboring countries and in the western hemisphere as well. These rolls are considered to be a very popular appetizer among customers in Vietnamese restaurants.
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