What do I like most in Vietnam and why?

Living in a new place can be a tough thing. One of the hardest things in my life is to move along from my home country to study in Vietnam because I have to adapt myself to the new environment, new people and of course new food. After nearly two years of being in Vietnam, admittedly, I sometimes get annoyed from the busy traffic. However, I have found out that the unique of Vietnamese culture, friendly people, beautiful and attractive places make Vietnam charming and unique. But if you asked me what do I like most in Vietnam, undoubtedly my answer would be the food.

Vietnamese food is well-known all over the world. It is influenced from both east and Southeast Asian, as well as French cuisine (because Vietnam was one of the French colonies in the past), Vietnam truly has an international food culture, capable of pleasing all kinds of palates. Base on my two-year experience in Vietnam, here is my personal opinions why I really think that Vietnamese food is awesome.

Firstly, it is delicious! The delicious of the food comes from the freshness of the ingredients! So it is crucial to ensure that each ingredient you use to cook your meal is still fresh.  Moreover, the food is rich in the use of fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and aromatics for the favor. It is said that the best and most distinguishing features of Vietnamese food is the delicate, flavorful, colorful fresh herbs known, as a whole, as rau thơm. For example, in order to make a delicious fresh spring roll (gỏi cuốn) you just to find the freshest thing you can imagine: a jumble of crunchy raw vegetables, aromatic leaves, soft and cool noodles, all of that prepared to fill into a feather-light rice wrapper.

Secondly, Vietnamese food is not just delicious, but it is also really healthy! As I have mentioned above, the main ingredients are usually fresh vegetables so those of Vietnamese food are low in fat, gluten-free and plenty of vitamins and minerals. They are the perfect food to give your sufficient energy, boost your immune system,  help losing weights. Pho can be a good example the healthy food. Giant bowls of pho noodle soups have between 300 and 600 calories each, and less than 3g of fat per serving, which means you could eat one every day for lunch or dinner as part of a calorie controlled, low-fat diet. If you are on a diet, Vietnamese food is a good choice for you!

Thirdly, we can make it by ourselves!. Unlike the other country’s cuisines, Viet cuisine is not that difficult to make. By looking for the recipes and see the tutorial available on the internet we can surely make it for ourselves, family and friends. However, you have to be careful of preparing the fine ingredients such as meat, fresh vegetables because the taste of Vietnamese food is based on the ingredients. One of the easy Vietnamese dishes that I often make it for my family and friends is Pho Cuon. All I need to do is just buying Pho (the thin, soft, and rice wrap) and some vegetables like lettuces, mints, carrots, tofu and others filling(fried egg) and I can a delicious Pho Coun!

Moreover, Vietnamese food is so diverse! Vietnam is the long costal country. The cuisines from the north, center and the south are a bit distinct as the result from the differences in life style, geography, the climate. For instance, “Bánh Xèo” or sizzling cake, you can actually find it all over the country. However, each region use different ingredients, making Bánh Xèo tasted differently. Bánh xèos in northern Vietnam includes more filling with taro and cassava tubers. One in the center is are usually smaller in size. Instead of using plain fish sauce, Central Vietnamese like to add star fruits in their flavoring. bánh xèos in the south are the largest and batter includes an addition of eggs and coconut milk. That is why you will never feel bored of trying the food here in Vietnam.

Most of you know only Pho as Vietnamese food. After two year of having a delicious experience in this country I have found  that Aside from Pho, which is already famous in every places in the world, but you will never know genuine Món ăn Việt Nam or Vietnamese food until you’ve tried some of these!

  • Bánh Cuốn (Steamed Rice Cake)

seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and minced shallots wrapped by soft and thin sheets of steamed rice crepe. Usually served with sliced cucumber, lettuce, bean sprouts and Chả lụa or giò lụa (Vietnamese pork roll) and eat with nước chấm ( Vietnamese sauce)

  • Bánh Mì (Vietnamese Sandwich)

The Vietnamese sandwich, which is originated from French baguettes filled with meat, cha lua, pate, herbs, vegetables…

  • Gỏi cuốn (Spring Rolls)

Spring roll come with a varieties of ingredients such as shrimps, some fresh vegetables such as Thai basil leaves, mint… Served with peanut sauce.

  • Bánh Xèo (Sizzling Pancake)

Crispy golden crepes usually contains meat, bean sprouts, green beans, and shrimps.

  • Bánh Tét (Sticky Rice Cake)

Another name for it is Banh Chung. You can find it easily during the Vietnamese New Year (Tet) because most of the family will make it. They wrap the sticky rice which filled with mung bean pastes and pork and boil it for many hours.

  • Chè (Sweet Desserts and Puddings)

There are so many names for Chè dishes as there are so many varieties! Such as Che Hue, Che nep cam…

In conclusion, I can say that Vietnam is a great country for many aspects such as the world heritage sites (Hoi An, Ha Long, Hue cit…), long historical stories, many delicious food and also generous people. Personally, Vietnamese food is the thing in like most here. I do believe that if you come here you will find many more great experiences here and don’t forget to try “Món ăn Việt Nam”.

Phimnapha Syhabouth, K45 student

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