Those who don’t enjoy Vietnamese food, don’t understand the art of flavour! Let me tell you why. Vietnamese food is not just healthy, it is delicious and flavourful although it doesn’t score any point in complexity. It’s easy to prepare but rich in aroma and Vietnamese food is one of the most varied and seductive in this entire world. Vietnam has abundant food supply and elaborated food preparation techniques. Food preparation has become an art for the people of Vietnam.
I started off my culinary adventures with a bowl of Pho Bo (white rice noodle with soup and beef), my favourite of all Vietnamese food. Served with lime, onions, cloves and some other things. This is an iconic Vietnamese dish of thin rice noodles in beef broth perfumed with herbs and spices.
This scented dish can be found anywhere, by the street, narrow restaurants, in small alleys and even at the corner of a building cooked on a traditional kitchen using charcoal. Impressive.
Bún Thịt Nướng
This dish is one of Vietnamese most popular. It’s a Vietnamese cold rice vermicelli noodle dish topped with grilled pork, fresh herbs and vegetables. They also have it with grilled chicken and beef. Usually served with fried pork/seafood spring rolls, this dish should be praised for its excellency in taste and flavour. How can this simple looking dish be so sumptuous?
Bánh Chưng or Sticky Rice
I stumbled upon this by accident. While walking back to my hotel, which I need to pass through a small and narrow alley, came a woman in bicycle carrying like a big steam pot behind her bike. A few people from the local shops in the alley approached the woman and bought something in a small plastic bag. Being curious as I usually am, I went up to her and asked what is that but she didn’t speak any English, so I just ordered one. I didn’t even know how much it cost, I handed her VND10,000 and she just left.
Picture courtesy of scp79
The taste? It’s a bit hard to describe but it’s good. The sticky rice is not too sweet and the fillings taste like coconut with some savoury meat. So that was my take on being adventurous in trying new food.
Vietnamese Spring Roll
I’ve tried plenty kind of spring rolls all my life and my mom makes one of the best fried spring rolls in the planet but hands down to Vietnamese Spring Roll. With fresh vegetables wrapped in rice paper, these Vietnamese spring rolls are a refreshing appetizer or even snacks.
Picture courtesy of Give Me Some Oven
You can have them fried or eat them right away, both serve you the flavour of authenticity and savoury-sweet and fragrant taste in every bite.
I even learned to make some during my Halong Bay trip, wrapping the spring roll from scratch and straight to my mouth. You can customize the fillings to your own liking. My tour guide even shared the recipe with us, the sauce is the most important part!
A famous breakfast dish in Da Nang (usually served with Pork Bacon). This is Vietnamese equivalent of a full English breakfast. Served with mild-chewy beef, half-cooked egg, tomato cherry on a hot plate and a freshly baked baguette (I wish they served it with asparagus too, would’ve been perfect!)
Vietnamese Seafood Rice Soup
At first I thought, ah…rice with soup, that would be nice to have but when they served me the dish, it was actually porridge. I wasn’t in the mood to have porridge (only consume it when I’m sick) but it came in a huge bowl and it would be such a waste not to eat.
Picture courtesy of Pham Fatale
The verdict? Heavenly sumptuous. I had the seafood filling, so it complements well with the porridge. Although it was a bit garlic-y, it was refreshingly good and tasty. A comfort food for any kind of weather.
This crispy savoury Vietnamese pancake is an absolute delight and it serves a truly exotic edge; a mixture of chicken slice, mushroom, shrimps and bean sprouts sautéed together and wrapped with crispy crepe-ish made of rice flour.
The pancake is also served with a sweet chilli based dipping sauce and some vegetables and herbs on the side. The exact translation of this dish is “sizzling cake that is deflating“. The first bite will make you feel like there’s a refreshing explosion in your mouth.
There are plenty of Vietnamese Food I didn’t have the chance to try like the famous rice pancake and although I can try the food here in Kuala Lumpur, with the food being increasingly famous worldwide, no Vietnamese food abroad can equal in flavour or quality to that made in Vietnam itself.