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13 thoughts on “Vietnamese Cuisine: The Introduction”

  1. When I saw this post in my reader, I told myself to read this only after I eat. Otherwise it would be a torture. On my first trip to Vietnam (to the southern part of the country) in 2011, I must admit I only tried the usual: pho, goi cuon, and a few other dishes whose names I can’t remember. But in following years, my palate expanded and I became more adventurous with food. Then in 2017, I visited Vietnam for the second time, but this time to the central region. I sampled as many local dishes as possible, and I was completely blown away with everything I ate. I agree with your descriptions of Vietnamese food. It’s fresh and simple, yet rich and complex. Unfortunately my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Jakarta has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

    1. How sad! The pandemic also took a heavy toll on the Saigonese food scene, especially the vendors. Some lost their lives, while many others returned to their hometown and might never come back…

      So you have tried the cuisine of the Central and the South. Do you see any similarity between them and Indonesian cuisine? Both regions had contact with Java from an early age, so I guess there might be some similar features 🙂

      1. It’s interesting that you mention about the past connection between Java and Vietnam (specifically the Chams). However, none of the dishes I tried in Vietnam reminded me of what I eat back home in Indonesia. They have different profiles and characters.

      2. You’re very welcome. You should come to Indonesia and try the dishes yourself! 😀 (although there are a lot of regional varieties here)

      3. Definitively! It is difficult to find a good Indonesian restaurant here. The cuisine is still underpresented. Appears only on the menu of Asian-fusion eateries. Even so, there is only satay… And I doubt its authenticity. It tastes like VNese skewers, serving with peanut sauce 🙂

  2. Wonderful post, and beautiful photos. It made me hungry for Vietnamese food, and brought back memories of some fabulous meals I had both in Vietnam, and in Vietnamese restaurants in Vancouver. There’s a quite large Vietnamese population here so the local restaurants are pretty good.
    Alison

      1. Not that I can think of. I’ve had fabulous seafood pho in a funky restaurant here in Vancouver. It’s known as a restaurant that the Vietnamese eat at so that’s a recommendation. But there are other places here but I can’t remember the names of the dishes, just that it was always delicious. Check out Anh and Chi in Vancouver to get an idea of a more up-market place.

  3. I found it extremely hard to get through your post as your photos of Vietnamese cuisine was so amazing, so appetising. Had to stop and stare 😄 I’ve always wondered about the background of Vietnaese cuisine, and you presented this cuisine to us in such a straight-forward yet insightful manner, Len. This is such a well-thought out phrase from you, ‘Like other Asian cuisines, Vietnamese food is built around the idea of harmony. That is very true of Chinese cuisine which can also be as colourful as Vietnamese cuisine. Now I finally know why banh mi is the way it is – it looks French and that is because of decades of French occupation and its influence on local Vietnamese food.

    It’s quite easy to find Vietnamese food here in Australia. You can find banh mi and pho in so many shopping centre food courts here. I remember during free work lunches or parties, banh mi is a popular choice on the table – cut up into smaller pieces. Vietnamese rice paper rolls are popular here in the summer too.

    The braised snakehead fish in a clay pot looks so good. Wouldn’t mind trying that. Hope you are doing well, Len 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Mabel! Here, we are gradually getting out of lockdown. There are still restrictions regarding indoor dining and intercity travel. But at least, we are not stuck at home anymore. How about you? I’ve heard that Australia starts to lift restrictions as well 🙂

      1. That is lovely you are able to go out and getting out of lockdown. Enjoy 🙂 Yes here in Australia we are coming out of lockdown. It will be interesting to see what’s to come. Hoping for an upcoming summer where we can get out and about here 🙂

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