The Australian "Traveller"magazine recently announced its three favourite Vietnam dishes amongst a list of 21 from a range of cuisines. There is huge variety in the overall list, including dishes from Italy, Iceland and Australia itself. If you have had the chance to sample Vietnamese food elsewhere in the world, you will probably have your own favourites. If you have already had a Vietnam holiday you will understand quite a lot about its food.
Your favourites may not correspond with the magazine’s ideas of snails, noodle soup with crab and a filled baguette, something that harks back to the days of the French. As the numbers of visitors taking Vietnam tour packages increases, so will the number of world- travellers who will also have an opinion.
Certainly, everywhere you go in Vietnam, you will come across noodle soups with a variety of different ingredients. It is a dish that is sold by street vendors everywhere with locals often starting the day with a breakfast of noodle soup with side dishes, herbs and spices. Anyone who is doubtful about the hygiene of street stalls needs to think about this. Busy stalls that are turning over food throughout the day are certain to be using fresh ingredients because they will often be restocking throughout that day.
Many of the dishes that you will find in Vietnam’s best restaurants are the same as the ones you can buy in the street and eat sitting on a plastic chair on the sidewalk; it is part of the Vietnam experience.
Fresh baguettes are even more convenient because you can eat on the move while you enjoy Vietnam travel. The baguettes are always fresh and crispy filled with everything from pork to fish with salad, sauces and even a fried egg.
Snails are not popular with everyone but in Vietnam you can get them fried, boiled or grilled, often served at night with a cold beer. Most tourists who regularly travel to different parts of the world are prepared to try most things during their travels. With snails being so popular in France, they should be something that Europeans at least have already sampled.
Anyone interested in these dishes, or indeed in Vietnamese food in general, can actually have a cookery lesson or two in many places in Vietnam. Lessons usually start by heading to the local markets, an experience in itself, to buy the basic ingredients, preparing and cooking them then eating what you have produced during the lesson.
Vietnam produces a great variety of fruit and vegetables with rice, and the noodles made from rice, central to its cuisine. There are both regional and seasonal variations to what you will see in the food markets but wherever you are, and whenever you take a Vietnam travel package, you will see a real splash of colour in the markets. The national cuisine is something that Vietnam is rightly proud of and ‘’Traveller’’ magazine seems to agree.