Regarding Vietnamese cuisine, people often refer to the book “Thuong nho muoi hai” (Missing twelve) by famous writer Vu Bang. “Twelve” means 12 months of a year with seasonal foods. Here, “three” means three regions and “six” refers to six delicacies. Now, let’s discover 6 Vietnam traditional food you have to try when traveling to Vietnam.
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Cha ca la vong (La Vong Fish Ball)
Many diners have the same comment: “In Hanoi, only La Vong Fish Ball (chả cá lã vọng, cha ca la vong hanoi) and Thang vermicelli are very amazing.” Hanoi is no shortage of delicious dishes, probably due to its geographic position and long tradition. Thus, the taste here is very special, marking an inconsolable memory to diners. The name “Cha ca la vong” itself is extremely attractive. Compared with other fish specialties such as mullet and catfish, hemibagrus is chosen as the main ingredients of the dish because of tender meat and small bones. Cha (Ball) is made from lean meat of fish and grilled with bamboo grips for better taste. Herbs are also served with the dish like fennel, coriander and onion. The diners can choose shrimp paste or fish sauce. If shrimp sauce, do not forget to mix little belostomatidae oil. You can enjoy Cha Ca (Fish Ball) with dry pancake of vermicelli, both are delicious. The way to enjoy La Vong Fish Ball is quite different from other fish ball. The diners can mix fish ball, onion and fennel, and then eat with vermicelli, herbs, peanut and sauce. The smell of fish, sauce and different herbs make fish dish become more special. On cold days, enjoying Cha Ca La Vong makes the guests warmer with their relatives and friends.
Bun Thang (Thang vermicelli)
If the Central is famous for Bun Bo (Beef vermicelli), Hanoi is unique to Bun Thang (Thang vermicelli). It is the essence of Hanoians that has contributed to this unique specialty. Unlike other noodle dishes, Bun Thang is not only delicious but also beautifully presented with fibers of fried eggs, sausage, chicken, ribs, parsley and many colours of chilly, attracting people’s appetite. They look so attractive that many people eat foods on the surface first. Like other noodles, Bun Thang needs to be served as hot as possible. It requires many steps of processing and ingredients. To have a delicious pot of bouillon, chicken bones and dried squid are used to sweeten the soup. Bun Thang is considered a delicate dish of Hanoi people. Whether they go far from Hanoi, the taste of Bun Thang will be treasured in their mind.
The flavours of Hue food
Com hen (mussel rice)
There are a variety of the dishes in the Central, both fussy dishes and rustic ones. One of the most favorite dishes in the Central is mussel rice. It is so popular that everyone in the Central likes it. It is easy to cook mussel rice, including rice and boiled mussel. The mussels are thoroughly soaked in water and boiled until mussel shells open. Boiled soup and mussels are the main components of rice mussels. This dish is served with herbs, sour star fruit, fish sauce, pepper, greaves, fried pork skin and peanuts, especially spicy chilly. Spicy flavor along with vegetables in mussel rice is a perfect combination of yin and yang. Mussel soup should be served in a separate small bowl. Do not miss a chance to enjoy Hue mussel rice.
Banh uot (wet cake)
In Hue and in the Central Vietnam, wet cake is made from prawns is also very popular. The wet cake must be thin and a little tough so that the diners can feel tender flavor. It is particularly smooth, thin yet untorn. Without colorings, the natural colour of shrimp is kept intact. This dish is served with fish sauce of lemon and garlic. Salty flavor should be stronger than sweet flavor. Fish sauce will add flavor to the cake, whereas if sauce is too salty or too acidic, it can damage the taste of cake. It takes about half an hour to have wet cake. Shrimp is put in the middle, and then rolled up. The white of the cake and the pink of shrimp looks so attractive that diners want to have it at once. No need to eat in a hurry, just leisurely pick up one by one, slightly put it in fish sauce. Absolutely, you can taste sweetness in your tongue.
Specialities of the west (Mekong Delta)
Bun Bi (Skin vermicelli)
Once visiting the West (Mekong Delta), diners can not miss tasting the traditional dishes of wetland areas like dry foods, water foods, steamed dishes, especially Bun Bi (Skin vermicelli). The slender threads of noodles are mixed with other ingredients. Pork for making skin is carefully selected from lean thighs, then marinated spicy and finally dried. Boiled pork skin is also part of Bi. Then people mix them with Thin (made from pork), roasted rice, making Bun more delicious. One important part of dried dishes is sauce; Bun Bi is not an exception. Its fish sauce has a sweet taste in the tongue but salty when having Bun with other ingredients. It is often served with fresh bean sprouts, sour turnips and carrots, herbs, chopped cucumber, roasted peanuts and chopped fresh chill over a noodle bowl. These home-grown vegetables are very easy to get, yet they contribute to a unique noodle dish than ever. Thus, people often have it for a light breakfast or a snack when the stomach is gnawing.
Ca loc kho to (braised snakehead fish)
The second dish is braised snakehead fish. Fish is the specialty of the West, thus the West people utilize both delicious and nutritious fish. Snakehead fish is cleaned, sliced then marinated with fish sauce, sugar, and pepper. Do not forget coconut milk and colored sauce. Thanks to coconut milk, the dish gets a perfect yellow. Several slices of bacon bring both fat flavor and sweet taste of fish. Fish is just delicious when cooked in a clay or porcelain pot. It is the material of the pot that creates tasty braised fish. Adding some slices of red chilly and green onion to the pot makes the fish more eye-catching. Apart from rice, braised snakehead fish is served with porridge. Slowly enjoy slices of fish with fat flavor of meat, spicy flavor of chili and fragrant spices!