Vietnamese Cuisine - Vietnamese food culture - Apron Up Cooking Class
Vietnam is a tropical country, in the monsoon region. Vietnam is also devided clearly into 3 regions, the North, the Centre and the South. Each region has its own unique and typical taste which plays an important role in making Viet cuisine abundant and diversed.
Vietnamese food culture uses plentiful of vegetables and herbs, different kinds of soups, especially sour soup and less of meat and dairy products.
One characteristic more or less distinguish Viet cuisine from others is that the food here doesn’t really win any point in complexity, in decoration or even in nutrition, people tend to care more about the flavour and texture of the food they eat.
That is the reason why Vietnamese food is pretty attractive to foreigners, but on the other hand, the “exotic” food here sometimes take them aback or not “rational” to them, such as egg balut or chicken feet, which are not nutritious but have good texture.
Vietnamese food is featured with the balance of seasonings and spices, every dish here seems to have in it all the extremes of flavours : sweet, salty, sour, spicy, which is the secret of Vietnamese food, making it not able to go wrong. Although the food in Vietnam has some “rules”, some consistencies ( in the balance of flavours, in the ingredients…) , every thing here ( as the foreigners say) is same same but different, so you cannot imagine or feel the food only by reading. When you are in town, come and eat as much as you can. When you eat the food, you are feeling and gathering the culture here.
Hanoi food culture
Hanoi has spent more than 1000 years on its history being the capital of Vietnam, it is also one of the oldest existing residental area here. After all the time of development and adjustment, almost everything in Hanoi became the standard of Vietnam, the language, the accent, the manner, and even the food. Vietnam lays long from the North to the South, with a long coast and shares the border with several other countries, so the culture and the food ( an important part of culture) are also strongly influenced. Apart from the strong influence of French culture and cuisine in the whole country for nearly a century, each region in Vietnam is affected by another country too. The south of Vietnam with its advantage of strategic position, spent its early days with foreign traders from other countries, mainly Chinese. Hence, it is not difficult to find some Chinese dish in any corner there. The flavour of food is also affected. In the south, beside the Chinese dishes, the food tend to have coconut cream, sweet flavour and more spicy than the rest of the country, which is “learnt” from Thailand. In the centre and west of Vietnam, beside the complicated royal dishes, the street dishes seem to be saltier and more spicy and sour, as it shares the border with Cambodia and Laos (Laos and Thai are similar too, they used to be one).
Nevertheless, Hanoi seems to stand out, if you take a really close look on the food here, refering to the history, you will be surprised! Hanoi, like the rest of the country, spent its 1100 years in the reign of China and 80 years domination of France, unintelligibly keeps its identity in the food culture in particular. Of course you can see some influences ( such as the Banh mi baguette, the caramel etc,.) but just take a closer look, you can see the intact Vietnam in the French baguette, with the rice flour – the soul of nature here, and the totally different texture.
The flavour of food in Hanoi are also distinctive, totally balaced and delicate, if you are seeking for the strong flavours like Thai or Indian, you may be disappointed, but calm down, give it a second chance and you will want to ask for the second bowl! Hanoi food is balanced and delicate, so you cannot get bored of it. The cream and essence of 4000 years civilization are disposed in Hanoi food. Hence, the easiest and most delicious way to get to know Hanoi is through the food here.