For Vietnamese people, cuisine is associated with culture, tradition and spirit of the locals. Each meal of Vietnamese people is perfect combination of five fundamental taste elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The similarity of Vietnamese cuisine stretching along the S-shaped land is the harmonious mix of tropical spices, following the principle of yin and yang. However, Vietnamese culinary culture has a lot of differences from region to region, from north to south, creating the diversity in Vietnamese cuisine.
1. Northern Vietnam
The colder climate in the north of Vietnam limits the production and availability of spices; thus northern cuisine is usually less spicy than those in other regions. Black pepper is the most popular ingredient to create spicy and hot flavor, instead of chili. Nearly all dishes in the north reflect harmonious combination of many different flavors including salty, sweet, spicy, bitter and sour. Another spice which is usually used in Northern dishes is fish sauce and shrimp paste.
A traditional meal of Northern people in Tet holiday
Hanoi cuisine is typical for northern cuisine. The artistic and intellectual capital of Vietnam is home of a lot of delicious dishes such as Pho (Vietnamese rice noodle), Bun thang (vermicelli and chicken soup), Bun cha (noodle and grilled pork), La Vong grilled fish and Banh Cuon (rice flour steamed rolls). All of them are best traditional Vietnamese food which tourists should not miss chance to try when coming the north of Vietnam.
Bun thang, the elegance of Hanoi cuisine
2. Central Vietnam
The Central Vietnam features with long stretching beaches; as a result, dishes in the region are often more salty and spicy than those in northern and southern Vietnam. Therefore, chilies, black peppers and shrimp sauces are among the widely used ingredients in this region. The Central Vietnam’s cuisine is so attractive by not only it charming and eye-catching performance but also delicious and exquisite flavor.
Hue cuisine requires high levels of food processing, decorating techniques and a high amount of materials
In the central Vietnam, Hue and Da Nang is considered as the cuisine capitals with a variety of foods. Specially, Hue cuisine todays is still affected by Hue royal cuisine; therefore, it requires high levels of food processing, decorating techniques and a high amount of materials. Some famous foods in this region are Bun Bo Hue, Cao Lau, Com Hen, Beo Cake and so much more.
3. Southern Vietnam
Southern Vietnam features with warm weather all year round and fertile soil which are favorable conditions for development of a remarkable variety of fruits, vegetables, and livestock. As a result, this region is very rich in fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs. Besides, locals in southern Vietnam have tendency to prefer sweetness, so southern dishes are usually added to a little bit more sugar, coconut water or coconut milk.
Banh Khot, a specialty in the Southern Vietnam
Additionally, food made from seafood is also an indispensable part of southern cuisine. A lot of southern dishes contain more saltwater and brackish water seafood than the north (such as fish, shrimp, crabs and sea nails). There are a lot of famous dishes in this region like Goi Cuon, Banh Xeo, Banh Khot, Banh Can, Hu Tieu and so on.
Food made from seafood is also an indispensable part of southern cuisine
Vietnam has an extremely diverse cuisine which focuses on the harmonious combination of different flavors and the balance of nutrition, based the principle of yin and yang. Due to differences in topographic, climate and culture of three regions: north, center and south, Vietnamese cuisine contains three different culinary cultures. All create a diversity of Vietnamese cuisine.