Vietnamese food is one of the most diverse, delicious and healthy cuisines across the world. From well known dishes like pho, banh mi, and spring rolls to lesser known ones like Ca Kho To (carmelized fish in clay pot) and Cháo (rice porridge), the flavor profiles in each dish are unique to Vietnam.
Broadly, Vietnamese dishes typically contain some combination of the following: rice, in many forms (steamed, sticky, noodles, pancakes, porridge), aromatic herbs (sawleaf, mint, cilantro, etc.), seafood, pork, beef, chicken, and tropical fruits (rambutan, banana, papaya, mango, etc.), with some borrowed flavors from French gastronomy and nearby countries like Cambodia, Thailand, and China. And don’t forget fish sauce, a popular flavoring ingredient, that is also used in Nước mắm, which is traditionally served with most dishes for dipping.
Most dishes fall under broad categories. “Bánh” (which generally translates to “bread” or “cake”) includes a wide variety of cakes, buns, sandwiches, and other food items, prepared in a variety of ways including steaming, baking, frying, and boiling. On the other hand, the “bún” family involves rice vermicelli in some form (whether with pork, as in bún chả, or the various noodle soups, such as bún rieu). “Gỏi” is synonymous with salad, and in Vietnam they’re typically made with things like mango or unripe green papaya.
The variety in Vietnamese food means there is no shortage of new things to try. We hope you’ll begin your journey at Sawleaf.