Cuisine of Northern Vietnam


Cuisine in Vietnam varies in flavor and style. Vietnam is divided into three regions: North, Central and South. Although food share a general similarity, there are individual regional characteristics that gives the food from the North its own unique personality.

The characteristics of food in Vietnam can be described as the following. With difficult weather also hard life, Central cuisine are shown in distinctive flavors and rich colors respect what they have and discover new recipes with unforgettable flavor.  “Melting pot” can be best described for southern food since there are so many different cultural influences on food there.

“Old world/Ancient” is a description to what food in the north is like. Since the food is ”old world”, there aren’t many changes in the in style and most of the traditions in cooking remain the same. This is in stark contrast Southern Vietnamese food is cosmopolitan.

Northern cuisine often predominately features a bold spicy flavor with a hint of the sea. Fresh seafood ranging from fish and shellfish are main features in the dish. But the flavor of fish sauce and shrimp paste is what makes Northern cuisine stand out. Northern Vietnam has been known to have a poor agricultural system – this is a reason why seafood is a staple rather than vegetables or rice.

When it’s time to eat, the cultural expression of eating seen to be and delicate, gentle and respectful. When the table to set in a family style setting and food is ready, respect is given to the elderly. They are invited to eat first before anyone on the table. Once they eat the first piece of a dish, the rest of the people can now eat from that dish.

Some snack is also very special that just have in the North: banh com, banh cam, mut sau, … that kept the most beautiful memory in their childhood.

Northern cuisine is very diverse and rich still very appealing by the freshness of the ingredients, harmonious mixing of spices all bring a unique characteristic for Northern.

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