Vietnamese cuisine has many influences
including French Indian and Chinese. The French influence that is
often evident in Vietnamese soups is due to the French
colonization of Vietnam, which began in the 16th century and
ended in the middle of the 20th century. While The Indian
influence is probably due to the Buddhist religion which is
popular thought much of Asia.
As in much of Asia, a Vietnamese meal is rarely divided into
courses. All the food is served at once and shared from common
dishes. The food is well prepared and therefore chopsticks are
used. Meals revolve around rice or noodles and accompany a soup,
a stir-fry, and another main dish.
Vietnamese cooking is generally not as rich or heavy as the
coconut milk curries, of, say, Thailand or India. Fish are
abundant to Vietnam therefore seafood is central to Vietnamese
cuisine. The distinct flavors of Vietnamese food come primarily
from: mint leaves, coriander, lemon grass, shrimp, fish sauces,
star anise, ginger, black pepper, garlic, basil, rice vinegar,
sugar, and green onions.
The Vietnamese also eat curries but they are less spicy than
Indian or Thai curries. Vietnamese curries get their taste
mainly from coriander, and chili is used in very small
Popular dishes worth trying include "Pho Bo" a noodle soup and
"cha gio" which are spring rolls that are low in fat.