Vietnamese cuisine encompasses the foods and beverages of Vietnam, and features a combination of five fundamental tastes in the overall meal. Each Vietnamese dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements.
Common ingredients include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, and fruits and vegetables. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird’s eye chili, lime, and basil leaves.
Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of oil, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.
Vietnamese cuisine doesn’t win any points for complexity. Many of the most popular dishes can be made just as well on the side of the road as in a top-end restaurant. But it’s precisely this simplicity, the subtle variations by region and the fresh ingredients that keep us pulling up a plastic stool for more.