Exploring Vietnamese Cuisine

KEY FEATURES OF VIETNAMESE CUISINE

Vietnamese cuisine varies between the north and south with the changing landscape. Like much of Southeast Asia the aim is to balance spicy, salty, sour and sweet flavours.


REGIONAL SPECIALTIES

NORTHERN

Northern dishes take influence from China. Expect more mild, herby flavours like northern Thai dishes. Soy features as much as the famous fish sauce however, vinegar is used to add sourness rather than tamarind used in southern cooking.

Pho
The noodle soup that everyone raves about when they visit Vietnam. Flat rice noodles float in a delicious beef broth made with shallot, fish sauce, ginger, star anise, cassia and cadamom. Ideally you want the broth to be dark as this tends to indicate a richer flavour.

Bun Cha
Barbecued pork with thin vermicelli rice noodles, served with herbs and green veggies with fish sauce. Enjoy this street food classic in Hanoi.

CENTRAL

Central Vietnamese dishes tend to be spicier that other regions.

Bun Bo Hue
Spicy soup combining tender beef, vermicelli noodles and lemongrass. This dish takes it’s name from the old Imperial City of Hue. Hoi An might be well known for its delicious food, but it’s Hue were the Vietnamese emperors dined on beautifully presented dishes from a menu that changed daily.

Cau Lau
Hoi An

SOUTHERN

Southern cooking tends to be sweeter than other regions.

Nuoc Mam (fish sauce)
This is the most common fish sauce used in Vietnamese cooking made from small fish. The little fish are layered up with salt and left to ferment for a year. Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc Island are both famous for their nuoc mam.

Bánh mì
Baguette packed with a generous amount of fillings including pâté, sausage, pepper, mayonnaise and soy sauce.


COOKING CLASSES

Redbridge Cooking School, Hoi An, Vietnam 

The day starts with a tour of the local market. The guide explained how to tell if the meat or fish was fresh. Next to the market is the boat which will take you to the cooking school. It’s a really pretty 20 minute journey.

The setting of the school is so beautiful. It’s got cute gardens and the dining area overlooks the river. After a welcome drink we explored the herb garden. Then it’s time to cook. We were given the recipe book at the start so we could add notes along the way.

Bánh Xèo
Crispy pancakes made with Shrimp, Herbs, Bean Sprouts & a Peanut Sauce.

Chả Giò
Rice paper rolls with shrimp and a chilli dipping sauce. We learnt how to make rice paper from scratch.

Mì Quảng
Rice Noodles made with chicken. Can also be made with shrimp.

Food Decoration
Tomato Rose & Vietnamese Hand Fan

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