Vietnamese culture in the Vietnamese meals
- on Oct 13, 2018       By: LucyH
A Vietnamese traditional meal contains many ethics, showing love and affection among family members by gathering around the meal tray and chatting after a hard working day. It’s the meal that is the root of love and happiness and of the family bond among generations.The image of a busy woman in a curling smoke cooking delicious food always carved into the memory of each family member.
A festive traditional meal
Culture of having meals in Vietnam
When it comes to meals Vietnamese usually say "meal of rice" for lunch and dinner because rice is the main ingredient among the dishes. Then come after are the fruits and vegetables used together with rice, and finally meat. Old Vietnamese do not tend to use much meat for meals every day; only the occasion of anniversary, festivals, celebrations there are dishes made of meat on the table.
In the past, the Vietnamese had a habit of serving rice to a tray, all dishes are served up at the same time. A traditional Vietnamese meal includes rice, vegetable and meat so chopsticks are used flexibly while eating. Chopsticks play an important role in the meal, only picking up the food without dropping them takes a lot of practicing. In the past, looking at a person using chopstick was enough to say how they were educated or their family background. Chopsticks have their own voice in Vietnamese family life. Traditional Vietnamese families normally have three generations and above living together with the thought of respecting to the old people and caring to the younger ones. The good food is for the elderly and young children
When guests are invited to a family meal, the person is always invited to sit in the priority position with a warm welcoming from the host
Family meals and especially the meals of extended families are a cultural space that represents the continuation and preservation of Vietnamese culture. Here, cultural elements are not only transmitted through the warmth of the meal, but also in the traditional mold.
Dinning etiqutte is another thing that are carefully noticed. There’s a proverb saying “ăn trông nồi, ngồi trông hướng” which can be directly translated as “ heed the pot while eating, heed the direction while sitting”
Sitting down for the meal, first thing ever needed is “mời cơm” which is an action of asking the elderly and informing people that a person start having the meal. Before holding the bowl, holding chopsticks, the “mời cơm” in the order of age is indispensable. The younger “mời cơm” the older. Everyone can eat just after the oldest person takes the first bite.
There used to be a “village culture” when in the occasion of anniversaries, people of the high positions eat together in a bigger tray, men eat together, women and children eat together. It no longer exists in the modern life but still can be seen in some remote countryside areas.
Vietnamese family meal today
The family of Vietnam has changed from traditional to modern influenced by many factors, both objective and subjective. Nuclear families or even one-generation families are replacing the traditional families. Vietnamese are more and more attached to the messy work, accompanied by office meals, making the family meal impossible.
Anyway, Vietnamese people are always looking forward to good traditional values, especially family bond and that invisible rope is nothing but the occasional gathering on the table for family meals.