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What’s the scoop with Vietnamese food?
The traditional Vietnamese food philosophy is all about the number five – the Asian principle of Wu Xing (five elements). Many dishes are created to balance out the five basic taste senses of spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet, to correspond to five organs of the body, including five types of nutrients, appealing to the five senses, and with five colors of food.
Interestingly, there are said to be around 500 traditional Vietnamese dishes. The diet of Vietnamese people mainly consists of fresh fish, rice and vegetables as well as herbs and spices, and although there are meat dishes of course, a powerful fish sauce seems to be in most dishes and at most mealtimes.
We take a look at some of Vietnam’s classic dishes, so you know what to expect before you try them, whether at home or abroad.
What are the Top 4 Vietnamese food dishes?
Traditional Vietnamese meat sausage spring rolls, known as cha gio, can be found in both restaurants and on street stalls pretty much anywhere you go in Vietnam. Meat (usually pork) and vegetables are wrapped in rice paper and then deep-fried, making a cheap and filling snack.
Pho is noodle soup that’s the go-to dish in Hanoi and the most common street food around Vietnam. This cheap and filling beef or chicken noodle soup is traditionally served with lime, mint and beansprouts and is actually a typical breakfast meal.
Banh cuon are thin rice crepe-like pastries that have a savory filling such as meat, mushrooms and shallots. Another breakfast special, this dish has a thin, delicate texture and is best accompanied with a dipping sauce with a strong fish flavor.
THIT KHO TAU
The dish known as thit kho tau is both an everyday meal and one that is offered to ancestors at Vietnamese New Year. It consists of caramelized pork and boiled eggs that are braised in coconut juice, which may sound like an odd concoction, but it’s raved about in Vietnam and we think it’s a must-try.
What else do I need to know about Vietnamese food?
There are hundreds of other traditional dishes that you should try, especially when traveling around Vietnam, and hopefully this introduction has whet your appetite!