In the past few years, Vietnamese food has gained steadily in popularity across the globe. Renowned for its healthy ingredients, flavorful dishes and beautiful presentation, as well as the prevalence of delicious noodles, Vietnamese food is highly craveable, fresh and unique. Food lovers might have tried the two best-known Vietnamese dishes (spring rolls and bread rolls), but rice, noodles, fresh vegetables and herbs all play big roles in Vietnamese food as well. In Vietnam, you’ll discover one unmistakable fact: Vietnamese people love noodles. They eat them every day and often with every meal. Vietnamese noodles come in several varieties, including rice, wheat, mung beans and more.
If you’ve watched even a few cooking shows, you’ve probably heard the word “umami” thrown around by chefs and foodies. It’s considered the fifth basic taste—alongside sweet, salty, sour and bitter—and it’s essentially a savory flavor that adds depth and richness to a dish. In Vietnamese food, fish sauce is the foundation for achieving an umami flavor that leaves you wanting more, and this flavor appears in stir-fry, soup broths, dipping sauces and more. Raw fresh herbs, such as cilantro or Thai basil, or spicy chilies often punctuate it. This, as well as other basic components of Vietnamese cooking, make for surprising flavors that distinguish Vietnam from other Asian culinary cultures.