Tasting Asian food for the first time can be intimidating for people who did not grow up eating these types of dishes. Vietnamese food typically involves flavorful seasonings and sauces. The variety of ingredients and the unfamiliar vocabulary can make it difficult to maneuver around a restaurant’s menu and order what you want. The following are some popular Vietnamese food terms to help make your dining experience a little easier.
Banh Pho – These are rice noodles that are long and flat. These noodles cook quickly. Banh Pho is a popular ingredient in soups.
Five-spice Powder – Five-spice powder is frequently used in Vietnamese and other Asian dishes. This seasoning is a blend of cinnamon, fennel seeds, Sichuan pepper, star anise, and cloves.
Hoisin Sauce – Hoisin sauce is essentially Vietnamese barbeque sauce. It is sweet and thick. Hoisin sauce is popularly served on chicken, pork, and other meats.
Hu-Tien – Hu-Tien is a popular breakfast food. The recipe is simple, because Hu-Tien is just noodles in broth.
Nonhchon – Nonhchon is a type of short grain rice. This rice is popular in Southern Vietnam.
Nems – Nems look a lot like egg rolls, though they are actually a pastry. Nems are often dipped in a special sauce.
Nuoc Mam – This sauce is made from fermented, salted fish. It is used in many different Vietnamese recipes and is considered to be a staple in Vietnamese cuisine.
Tamthom – Tamthom is a type of long grain rice. This rice is popular in Northern Vietnam.
Thit-Kho – Thit-Kho is pork. Pork is typically the meat of the upper and, sometimes, middle class. Many Vietnamese restaurants will feature a variety of pork, as well as chicken, recipes.
Vietnamese food is a popular Asian cuisine within the United States. This type of cuisine has strong roots in Chinese food, resembling Cantonese dishes more so than Indian dishes. The types of cooking you are eating will also vary with the restaurant. For instance, a restaurant cooking in the North Vietnamese style will be far more conservative in their pho, rice and noodle menu, while cuisine influenced by Southern and Central Vietnam are more experimental, adopting more spices and dishes from their neighboring countries.
Many restaurants serve basic menus that contain pho, rice, noodles, spring rolls, beef, and other meats. These establishments typically use authentic spices, which they either buy from local markets, or order. However, while many of the dishes are similar, the themes of Vietnamese restaurants will vary. For example, one restaurant may only serve vegetarian dishes. Another restaurant may cook both standard soup, and spicy pho (which is also a type of soup). Other places offer options like lunch, dinner and take out.
Vietnamese food is culturally influenced as well. In an attempt to incorporate the Asian philosophy of the five elements, cooks try to use spicy, sweet, sour, salty and bitter in their recipes. Whether they are catering a party with gourmet dishes, or serving sandwiches, Vietnamese chefs always try to embrace the five senses as well. They guide their diners through the experience of eating, all the way from sight to taste.
If you are craving egg rolls, or just looking for an excellent dining experience, look for more information through the internet. Many restaurants have websites that may even include a history of the cuisine they serve, as well as their daily menus.