Food Culture in Vietnam


Diet is not only the basic material needs for people to sustain life, but also contains rich cultural connotations. As an important part of traditional Vietnamese culture, the Vietnamese diet has formed its own national style and characteristics in the process of long-term evolution and accumulation. The Vietnamese applied the ancient Chinese theory of Chinese medicine and the theory of yin and yang to the food culture, and formed their own traditional and unique food culture.


The Concept of Vietnamese Food Culture

Diet is the most important way to maintain your life. However, Western culture and Eastern culture have different concepts in this field. Westerners regard diet as something that is not worth mentioning. The Vietnamese put the word "eat" in front of almost all their activities, indicating that they take food very seriously.


Food is a cultural subject, a culture that makes use of the natural environment. The residents of the nomadic culture are partial to meat, while the Vietnamese diet clearly reflects the imprint of the traditional civilization of rice agriculture. There is a saying in Vietnam that “rice is like a wife, rice noodles are like lovers”, which fully demonstrate that rice has great significance for their lives.


Dietary Structure of Vietnam

1) Rice


Paddy is the main food crop in Vietnam, so rice is also the main food for the Vietnamese people. Vietnam is located in subtropical and tropical regions, and the northern and southern plains are highly suitable for growing rice in terms of climate. The north can be planted two seasons a year, and the south can be planted three seasons.


2) Vegetables and Fruits

Vietnam is a well-developed place with abundant vegetables and fruits. Tropical products such as rubber, sugar cane, coffee, pepper, coconut, lacquer, betel nut and cashew are also available. Fruits continue throughout the year, the main varieties are: banana, pineapple, jackfruit, lychee, longan, lemon, papaya, durian, hawthorn, red dragon, hairy fruit and so on. For Vietnamese, vegetables and fruits are something that must be eaten in daily life. Vietnamese people like to eat lettuce is also a major feature of Vietnamese food culture.


3) Animal Protein

Meat of common animals such as chicken, duck, pig, and yellow cattle account for a small proportion in their diets. Vietnam is a country with a long coastline and seafood is very rich. Seafood occupies a very important position in Vietnamese life. Vietnamese people use a variety of seafood to make a very special and nutritious seasoning sauce - fish sauce, raw fish sauce, shrimp paste and so on.


Flavor of Vietnamese Cuisine

Vietnamese cuisine is based on fish sauce and is made with other seasonings. In addition to the wide use of tropical fruits and vegetables, the raw materials tend to be naturally refreshing in food practice, and the taste is relatively sour and sweet. The characteristics are light and non-greasy, and the proportion of vegetables added is high. It is based on the principle of preserving the original taste of the vegetables, and is highly praised by the healthy eater. Raw beef noodles, Vietnamese spring rolls, duck eggs, and pickled pork are famous dishes.


Ingredients of Vietnamese Cuisine

1) Spices


The spices in Vietnam are made from fresh plants. Citronella, the most commonly used seasoning in Vietnamese cuisine, smells a rich floral fragrance. Lemongrass, basil, mint, and shepherd's purse add a special flavor to Vietnamese cuisine; Onions, shallots and parsley bring exoticism to Vietnamese cuisine. In practice, the meat is usually marinated with spices and then cooked, so that the flavor of the seasoning is “forced” into the meat, and the tongue is scented between chewing.


2) Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce

In Vietnam, there is a unique seasoning called fish sauce, which is an essential secret of Vietnamese cuisine. Although it is an ingredient, it concentrates on the essence of fish and has a very high nutritional value. Put a lot of fish in the jar, pour salt, vinegar, wine, sugar, sauce and other spices on it, seal the cylinder mouth, bury the tank in the thick sea salt, only reveal a large bowl sized cylinder mouth, let it exposure in the sun, and allow the fish ferment and dissolve. One month later, the liquid poured out of the tank is the fish sauce, which concentrates the essence of the fish and has a high nutritional value.


The Cultural Connotation of Vietnamese Diet

Vietnamese people are inspired by the Chinese food culture of yin and yang. They pay the most attention to the refreshing and original flavor of the ingredients. Only a little spice is added. Fish sauce, broccoli and lime are essential ingredients for cooking.


In general, Vietnamese believe that salty are yang, sour and sweet are yin, Vietnamese people often mix salty and sweet. Vietnamese people not only concern about the balance of yin and yang between foods, but also pay more attention to the balance of yin and yang between people and food.


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