The famous Vietnamese food would easily drive you insane!
The difference in soil and customs between three regions North – Central – South has led to the difference in cuisine. Therefore, with one name of famous Vietnamese food, it’s likely that you can come across different dishes through this South East Asia country.
The characteristics leading to the regional famous Vietnamese food
Culinary is not only about eating but also reflects regional characteristics. The differences in taste, seasoning, and spices have created diversity in Vietnamese food. For example, Hanoi cuisine has traditional features, whereas Ho Chi Minh City expresses the cross-cultural one.
The Northern cuisine: elegant famous Vietnamese food
The northern region is where the Vietnamese ancients settled down thousands of years ago. From the clothes to the famous food in Vietnam, they always have their own standard. They prefer a frugal and light meal to maintain the origin of dishes. The Northern cuisine always has harmony in spices, neither hot like the Central nor sweet as the Southern.
The Central cuisine: spicy and flavorful dishes
People in Central Vietnam like spicy and salty tastes. It is because of the location and the weather of this coastal region. They have only two seasons: the dry season and rainy season. It’s quite harsh so that they can’t be fussy as the Northern do. The Central people always add chili into their famous food in Vietnam.
The Southern cuisine: crossing the line
Southern Vietnam used to be the land of explorers. They had to fight for survival so that they learned how to adapt to nature. Therefore, the characteristic of people here is willing to try new things. It’s not surprising that most of the weird famous Vietnamese food comes from this special land. Moreover, there are many coconuts in the Southern area so they’d love to add coconut in most of their dishes.
Thanks to those basic differences, there are some different dishes having the same name that may confuse you.
Banh Da – the side dish or the main course famous food in Vietnam?
When the Central people mention Banh Da, they mean the cake with the round shape, flattened, and sprinkled with sesame seed on top. Furthermore, it turns white and crunchy after being grilled. This can be served with My Quang, Hen xuc Banh Da and other Central Vietnamese specialties as a side dish.
Meanwhile, in Northern Vietnam, especially Hai Phong and Ha Noi, Banh Da is a kind of noodle. Banh Da in Hai Phong looks like Pho but in brown and tougher. The most common kind of Banh Da is Banh Da Cua made of crab meat and crab broth. This is a famous Vietnamese food familiar with students. The broth of this dish is a signature broth of the North: sour and light. The noodle is brown and yellow of crab egg and tomatoes. Later, they added the white noodle for those who can’t stand crabs.
Che – the famous Vietnamese food for dessert or a kind of beverage?
For most people, Che refers to the sweet and watery dessert. There are a thousand kinds of Che throughout Vietnam. It’s such a famous Vietnamese food that each region has its own special Che base on their basic culinary. Che in the South has lots of coconut milk while they just add a little bit sugar into it in the North.
However, in Northwest Vietnam, Che also means a kind of traditional beverage called green tea. The dry tea in the bags you often drink called Tra in Vietnamese, while Che is from the fresh tea leaves. Not only does the fresh tea help you lose weight, reduce the cholesterol in blood but also anti-aging and improve the memory.
What’s more, Che is also a special candy in Northern Vietnam named Che Lam. It is made from sticky flour, gingers, peanuts, and molasses. The elders like to enjoy this sweet food with tea. The warmth of ginger and the special aroma of sticky flour goes perfectly with the bitter taste of the Vietnamese tea.
Nem – the famous Vietnamese food to eat raw or cooked?
When mentioning Nem, there are many kinds of famous Vietnamese food would come across your mind!
In the South, Nem is a puree of pork and spices and then grilled. When customers make the order, they will serve the grilled Nem with rice paper, fresh herbs and special sauce. Though it’s a greasy dish, thanks to the green vegetable, you will find it hard to stop eating Nem.
Meanwhile, in Central Vietnam, Nem is a kind of sour spring rolls in which the ferment the raw meat. They will wrap the ground pork in a punch of banana leaves, then take advantage of the yeast in those leaves to make the raw beef edible. Danang is the most famous city that exports this famous Vietnamese food.
Besides, the Northern people call Nem to express the famous Vietnamese food Cha gio (spring roll). The common ingredients are pork, shrimp, mushrooms, crabs, and some spices. People wrap all of them in the rice paper then deep-fry. Crunchy spring rolls are often served with fish sauce, pickles, and fresh greens. In addition, this is an indispensable dish when the Vietnamese do worship.
Ruoc – a marinated animal or a kind of meat?
Ruoc is a kind of super tiny shrimp living in Central Vietnam, especially Hue. Since it’s too small, the only way locals can eat it is fermentation to make a sauce called Mam Ruoc. They love to use this sauce with the meat side dishes. It’s also a special spice in most of the famous Vietnamese food in Hue such as Beef Vermicelli.
On the other hand, in Northern Vietnam, Ruoc is completely unrelated to water. Even just a little water can ruin this dish. It’s a dried meat product with a light and fluffy texture similar to coarse cotton. Ruoc is a topping for famous Vietnamese food such as Banh Mi or Congee. Ruoc is made by stewing pork, beef or fish in a salty sauce until individual muscle fibers can be easily torn apart. Then it will particularly dry by the microwave or oven. After being dried, Ruoc can stay for a year under a good condition.
Vietnam cuisine is diverse not only because of a large amount of famous Vietnamese food, but also the ingredients and especially the names. If you order a familiar dish but it turns out to be a totally different one, just relax. Welcome to Vietnam!