Vietnam Food Tours
Vietnam food culture Techniques and Regional variations
As a whole, Vietnamese cuisine contains strong influences mainly from Cantonese cooking with a bit of a French twist to it. This is because unlike many other Indochinese nations, which are strongly influences by the culture of India, Vietnam is the only country in which Chinese-like cultures remained strong, since that it was first ruled by China for at least a thousand years, followed by control from France centuries later for a hundred years. However, depending on the region, it can be divided into three categories, each pertaining to a distinct geographical region. With Northern Vietnam being the cradle of Vietnamese civilization, many of Vietnam's most notable dishes such as phở and bánh cuốn can trace their origin to the North. Northern cuisine is more traditional and less diverse in choosing spices and ingredients.
The cuisine of South Vietnam has historically been influenced by the influx of southern Chinese immigrants, French colonists and other nationalities. Southerners prefer sweet flavors in many dishes. As a region of perhaps greater diversity in terms of external influences, the South's cuisine uses a wider variety of herbs.
The cuisine of Central Vietnam is distinct from the cuisines of both the Northern and Southern regions in its use of many small side dishes. For a while the country was ruled from Huế in Central Vietnam, so that most of the dishes were made small and dedicated to the kings. Compared to its counterparts, its cuisine is more spicy.
The most common meats used in Vietnamese cuisine are beef, pork, chicken, fish, and various kinds of seafood. The Vietnamese also have a strong vegetarian tradition influenced by Buddhist values.
One most common French influence is the use of baguettes in Vietnamese meals. Vietnamese sandwiches are traditionally made with baguettes, and sometimes soups such as ca-ri are served with a baguette on the side