Vietnamese foods are one of the world’s healthiest ones and one of the most famous. Dishes are cooked mainly from fresh products rich in vitamins and minerals. Many dishes are prepared without meat, so vegetarians will also like it. An important part is the many herbs with a strong aroma that the Vietnamese love.
For the Vietnamese, food is a symbol of family and hospitality. Considered to be a bond, food plays an important role in Vietnamese culture. The family gathers at the same table at least once a day.
Most dishes are based on noodles or rice. Meat of all kinds, seafood and a lot of vegetables are often added. The Vietnamese love herbs, especially coriander.
Vietnamese – world’s healthiest foods
Here are some of the most famous and healthiest Vietnamese dishes.
Vietnamese soup pho
The staple of Vietnamese kitchen and a culinary attraction of Vietnam is a pho soup. The main ingredients are broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. The basis is always a delicious broth, which is cooked for at least 8 hours. In any part of the country, the soup has to be accompanied with a bowl of sweet, savory and refreshing herbs: Thai basil, houttuynia (or fish mint mint), fragrant knotweed, perilla, elsholtzia and other plants that we have never seen on the shelves of North American or European supermarkets.
Pho is served in households, street stalls and restaurants countrywide. Rich in vitamins and microelements, nutritious, but not too high in calories, pho soup doesn’t affect your weight.
The origins of pho are a bit murky, but it is generally believed it first appeared on the streets of Hanoi in the 19th century, when street vendors carried two fragrant boxes. One of them contained noodles, spices, seafood and other dressings for the dish. And in another, rich beef broth was languishing on the coals. People could choose what and in what quantities to fill it. This feature of a pho soup has been preserved to this day. And you can choose the filling yourself.
Goi cuon – Vietnamese Spring Roll
Goi cuon or Vietnamese rice paper spring roll is a great example of the balance of herbs and meat. The literal meaning of goi cuon is “salad rolls”. Almost transparent rice “paper” is made from rice, tapioca flour, salt and water and stored dry – it must be dipped in water for 5-10 seconds before wrapping the roll.
For the filling, pork belly, shrimp and thin rice noodles are used. The meat is not fried, but boiled, so the dish is low-fat. They also add lettuce and greens: mint, Thai basil and Vietnamese coriander (aka fragrant mountaineer). Often the roll is served with a sauce made from fermented soybeans and peanuts.
The rolls are full of fresh veggies, herbs, soft slices of pork, and shrimps.
Vietnamese fuzzy melon soup
Fuzzy melon is a naturally sweet edible gourd that looks like a fuzzy zucchini, which is able to keep its shape even after boiling. Loved by Vietnamese women, the soup is a traditional dish with a light refreshing sweetness of a fruit. However, it does not contribute a lot of taste to a dish and instead absorbs the flavors of the ingredients it is combined with. Chunks of pork, meatballs, hams or pork ribs are the basis of the soup. There are many different methods to prepare a fuzzy melon soup.
Banana flower salad
Yes, banana has flowers! Purple flowers with thick skins are often eaten raw. The light flesh is cut out and added to the salad, and the shell is often used for serving. There is no exact recipe for banana flower salad; depending on the region, the dish can be prepared in different ways. Most often, you will find sprouted beans, sesame seeds, papaya, carrots, spices, peanuts, fish sauce and the pulp of flowers on the plate. In addition to the vegetarian version, you can find options with pork or chicken.
Soup with tapioca noodles and crab
The broth is made from pork knuckle, octopus, daikon and dried scallops, crab meat and small fried shrimp. Annatto seeds, garlic, coriander, green onion, pepper and lime are used to enhance the taste. The noodles in the soup, thick and soft, perfectly absorb the spicy liquid – the dish turns out to be really satisfying.
Vietnamese Mini Savory Pancakes – Banh Khot
These mini savory pancakes can be cooked crispy or soft. To make the dough, rice is mixed with coconut milk in a blender, and then flour and soda or beer is added. The mixture is fried in a frying pan with spherical recesses, and shrimp with coconut milk and tapioca sauce are used for the filling. If desired, shrimp can be replaced with octopus, pork or quail eggs. Banh khot is wrapped in sheets of various greens, such as coriander or lettuce, to make the dish juicier.