The multi-coloured cuisine of Vietnam
- on Jan 10, 2021       By: BN
Vietnamese territory is divided into three distinct regions: North, Centre and South. The geographical, climatic, cultural and ethnic characteristics mainly define the specificities of the cuisine of each region. This goes a long way in making Vietnamese cuisine rich and diverse.
Vietnamese cuisine has different characteristics according to each region and each ethnicity although in each of these regions, the cuisine of the sub-regions also has the following characteristics.
Northern cuisine is not as hot and sweet as other regions. They mainly use diluted fish sauce and shrimp paste in the preparation of dishes. A variety of readily available vegetables and aquatic products such as prawns, crabs, fish, mussels are well used in the daily life of Vietnamese people.
Northern cuisine brings the value of an ancient culture through different dynasties of which Hanoi is its symbol. Hanoi cuisine is well appreciated for its culinary art, as it represents the quintessence of the most typical cuisine of Northern Vietnam with pho, bun thang and bun cha.
The dishes of the Central region are very typical and are distinguished by a significant use of peppers, sometimes making them difficult to eat even for guests from other regions. The emphasis is on a good combination of ingredients to achieve a colourful picture.
The gastronomy of Hue, the former capital of the country, is well influenced by the royal cuisine. It is therefore very complicated in processing and presentation. Each type of ingredient is used with so much imagination to create very diverse dishes.
Central Vietnam is also a region that offers the greatest contrast at the table for the distinction of social classes in feudal times. Thus, next to the imperial court with its refinements, lives a population mainly of fishermen on poor soil which is not very suitable for cultivation. This explains the coexistence of hearty and very sober dishes in a contrasting picture.
Southern cuisine, which is heavily influenced by Chinese, Cambodian and Thai cuisine, is characterised by the addition of sugar and coconut milk to dishes.
Locals often seek, despite poverty and hardships in life, to create their own recipes from simple materials for a distinctive flavour of the region. We also use more salted and brackish seafood than in the North (fish, crabs, shrimps, sea snails, etc.). This kitchen also produces countless types of dried fish sauce.
Vietnamese ethnic minority cuisine
54 ethnic groups of the country live together in the various geographic regions. This multi-ethnic nature has a direct effect on the habits of each community group. Their habits and customs are more or less modified, in particular the gastronomy.
Many dishes of these groups are among well-known specialities in Vietnam such as xoi ngu sac, khau nhuc, ruou can and more.