Vietnam à la carte - N+1 meals not to miss during the trip
Suppose you went to a spectacular theatre show. Actors (one actor at a time) danced, recited poems, made magic tricks and many more. In the end you surprisingly find out there was only one actor playing all the parts in the show. The situation with vietnamese cuisine is very similar. Rice can be found in almost every meal, though it is capable of being different every time. Rice can be a part of desserts and savory dishes, don’t be surprised.
Soups are usually a simple home food. Vietnamese soups mainly contain rice noodles. If you hear the word “bun” (would sound like “boon”), that means the dish is packed with rice noodles. There are plenty of the varieties of soups, that are both filling and comforting: bún rieu (includes tomatoes), bún bò Huế (made with beef).
If the Vietnamese want to get their “five a day” in the diet, one of these would be without a doubt a serving of water spinach. It is eaten in salads, as filling, as topping and as a deep-fried version with garlic.
Surprising savory dishes
Of course, it’s rice again. Savory pies, spring rolls, leaf parcels filled with unexpected filling. You can even find minced snails among the ingredients of the dishes. If you’re very hungry, try “Bò 7 món”. This means “7 courses of beef”. It is not something to grab as a snack between the excursions, this requires sitting down and spending some quality time with your fellow-travelers.
If you’re going sugar-free, gluten-free and fat-free life, you will want to stop that nonsense right away after you see the vietnamese desserts. Tastes differ, but at least trying as many as you can is a must. The mouthwatering word “banh” means a whole variety of remarkable treats (though savory pies are also called “banhs”).
Most of them are rice-based, all having local exotic flavors. The textures can also be very unusual, like in chè bánh lọt. It is something between a drink and a cold soup, including floating worm-like jelly and shaved ice. There is even a special gadget to produce the green jelly worms for the dish.
Even more exotic?
If you are into even more exotic things, you may want to try a balut. It’s a fermented duck egg, where a duckling has already started to develop. We have no idea if it’s still considered to be an egg, or is it meat already, but the main thing is that you probably won’t find analogs outside Vietnam. At least have a look at them if you’re not keen on unusual meals.
It doesn’t matter what places do you plan to visit in Vietnam, every city and town will find a “specialite de la maison” to surprise you.