A Vietnamese noodle soup with beef (pho bo) for breakfast, a French-style baguette with pate for lunch, and a Chinese-influenced chow mein dish for dinner: this meal combination is one of countless- and varied- possibilities in Vietnam. As Vietnamese cities like Ho Chi Minh City have become more sophisticated and modern, so has the country’s cuisine. Vietnam’s message is loud and clear: she is moving above and beyond her colonial, fractured past, taking the best of what came before to reinvent what it means to be Vietnamese.
Following the Ho Chi Minh trail from south to north, one finds astonishing variety. Though Northern Vietnam’s chillier climates limit spice production and availability, the delicious peppercorn helps to bring a spicy kick to this region’s cuisine. Garlic, shallots, fresh herbs and a pinch of sugar give Southern Vietnamese dishes their more vibrant, often sweeter taste. Coconut milk is also a favourite in the south and in the Mekong Delta: an area Famed for its fertile soils and diverse gastronomy as much as its stunning beauty.
For those wanting to experience the unique French-Vietnamese blend, Ho Chi Minh City has a plethora of cafes where you can enjoy locally-grown, French-style Vietnamese coffee, with a croissant, flan, and other French treats.
Vietnam is guaranteed to give you a fresh food experience: in both senses of the word. While the cuisine is likely to be new to your taste-buds, Vietnamese chefs often use fresh ingredients in their cooking with a lack of refrigerating facilities. Visit this ever-evolving country, and be inspired by its innovative spirit and cuisine.