Gastronomy of Vietnam

The essential components of Vietnamese cuisine

Nuoc mam

Sauce anchovies or different fish fermented in salt similar to the garum of the ancient Latins. Used during cooking and accompanying some dishes.


Rice is the staple food. Crushed, it is transformed into patties, used in spring rolls. Reduced to powder, it is used as flour to make pancakes, cakes or noodles.


There are two types of noodles, those based on rice (called size bun, hu tieu, pho ...), and those based on wheat (mi). The use of one or the other varies according to the dish.

The main features

- Use of chopsticks
- Dishes arranged together in a tray during the meal and tasted at the same time.
- The meal is a moment of sharing and guarantor of the social bond.
- A wide variety of aromatic leaves and vegetables is present in all recipes.
- The ingredients and spices are used in harmony with each other according to the Yin - Yang coordination principle. The properties of a dish's ingredients are combined to create a balance between "hot" foods and "cold" foods. For example, duck ("cold" food) is often eaten with a ginger sauce ("hot" food).
- At dessert, the Vietnamese consume more readily the fresh fruits, mangoes, papayas, mangosteens, rambutans, longans that pastries reserved for holidays.
- Tea is the national drink, served hot in the North and frozen in the South.

The cuisine of three regions and typical dishes

The cuisine of Northern Vietnam is less spicy, less oily and less sweet than those of other regions. The culinary art of Hanoi is considered the epitome of Vietnamese cuisine. Many vegetables and seafood are used, making extensive use of soups, casseroles and grills.

Gastronomy of Vietnam - Northern dishes

The cuisine of Central Vietnam is distinguished by a significant use of peppers. Besides the refined gastronomy of the imperial court, there is a popular cuisine of the inhabitants consisting mainly of fishermen.

Gastronomy of Vietnam - Central dishes

Strongly influenced by Chinese, Cambodian and Thai cuisine, Southern Vietnam cuisine is usually characterized by the addition of sugar and coconut milk. Many dishes are also made from different dried fish and seafood.

Gastronomy of Vietnam - Southern dishes