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About Vietnam

Overview

Welcome to Vietnam – another world where the colors are more vivid, the culture is richer, and the history more compelling.

Vietnam has been blessed bountiful harvests by nature. With soaring peaks like Hoang Lien Mountains and a killer coastline, with beaches like Quy Nhon and Nha Trang, Vietnam is simply stunning.

Come to Vietnam, you will see a modern Asia meets a medieval Asia with ancient towns, pagodas, temples…. For culinary adventurers, Vietnam is a treasure trove of more than 500 different dishes. For the thousand year history, Vietnamese is proud of their heroic generations.

People in Vietnam is friendly, throughout the country, you will always see smiles and happy faces, even many Vietnamese still is having difficulties in daily lives but people now is happy with atmosphere of peace.

 

Geography

Lying on the eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnam is a strip of land shaped like the letter “S”. China borders it to the North, Laos and Cambodia to the West, the East Sea to the East and the Pacific Ocean to the east and south.

The country’s total length from north to south is 1,650km. Its width, stretching from east to west, is 600km at the widest point in the north, 400km in the south, and 50km at the narrowest part, in the centre, in Quang Binh Province. The coastline is 3,260km long and the inland border is 4,510km.


Climate

Vietnam is located in both a tropical and a temperate zone. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences, but has a considerable amount of sun, a high rate of rainfall, and high humidity. Regions located near the tropics and in the mountainous regions are endowed with a temperate climate.

The monsoon climate also influences to the changes of the tropical humidity. In general, in Vietnam there are two seasons, the cold season occurs from November to April and the hot season from May to October. However, climate in Vietnam is different in other region:

North: there are four distinct seasons:  Spring, summer, autumn, and winter. But it is able to be divided into two main seasons: the rainy season from May to September (it’s hot, heavy rain), and the dry season from October to April (it’s cold, little rainfall). The annual average temperature is 23.2oC, but in winter, the average temperature is 17.2oC. The lowest temperature ever recorded was 2.7oC in the high mountains. The average summer temperature is 29.2oC, with the highest ever recorded being 42.8oC. On average, there are 114 rainy days a year with around 1,800mm of rainfall. 

Central: It features a tropical monsoon climate, featuring all four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The spring is cool and warm, the summer is hot, the autumn is cool and the winter is cold. Average temperature is 25oC. The best time for tourists is from November to April next year.

South: The climate is divided into two seasons, with the rainy season lasting from May to November. The average annual temperature is 27.5oC without winter, and yearly rainfall totals 1,979mm. Tourism is convenient for all 12 months of the year.

  

History

At the beginning of the Bronze Age, the Viet tribe groups had settled down in the North and in the north of Central Vietnam. There were about 15 groups of Lac Viet tribesmen living mainly in the northern highland and delta and a dozen Au Viet groups of tribesmen living in Viet Bac, the northern region of old Vietnam.

Among these Lac Viet tribes was the Van Lang, which was the most powerful tribe. The leader of this tribe joined all the Lac Viet tribes together to found Van Lang Nation, addressing himself as King Hung. The next generations followed their father’s example and kept this appellation.

Through the ages, Vietnam’s development has been marked by its proximity to China. In 111 B.C. the Han dynasty sent an expeditionary corps to conquer the kingdom of Nam Viet established by Chao To, who had brought the kingdom of Au Lac  and several territories in southern China together under his rule. The Han’s rule marked the beginning of almost 1,000 years of Chinese occupation in Vietnam.

The grim resistances that against Chinese imperialist domination, which persisted century after century, time and again, broke out in the form of armed insurrection.

The most important insurrection was that of the two sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, born of a family of military chiefs in the district of Me Linh (northwest of Hanoi). Between 40 and 43 A.D the Trung sisters launched a vast movement throughout Chiao Chih led by women in many places. Trung Trac was made "Queen" and Chinese imperialist domination was overthrown. Although the insurrection was crushed, it left an indelible imprint on the history of the country. Other insurrections marked the 4th and 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th centuries. After a long period of subjugation by the Chinese feudal empire, a period marked by numerous insurrections, the Vietnamese people finally won back their independence in the 10th century. The Bach Dang victory in 938 put an end to the period of Chinese imperial domination. In 939 Ngo Quyen proclaimed himself king, established his capital at Co Loa (previously a capital in the 3rd century B.C.) and set up a centralized government. It was the first truly independent Vietnamese state. On the death of Ngo Quyen in 944, 12 warlords divided the country among themselves and began to fight one another.

Starting from Hoa Lu in present-day Ninh Binh, Dinh Bo Linh defeated them all, one after another, and unified the country in 967. The next year he made himself king, named the country Dai Co Viet, established his capital at Hoa Lu.

However, before a well organized monarchical state could be set up, the country went through a period of instability during which tendencies towards feudal domination still persisted. It was only with the establishment of the Ly dynasty (1009 - 1225) that the monarchy was able to gain a secure hold on power.

In 1054, a flaming bright star appeared in the sky for many days, which was considered a good omen. As a result, the Ly King changed the name of the country to Dai Viet. This name remained until the end of Tran Dynasty (1126 - 1400).

In March 1400, Ho Quy Ly usurped the throne of King Tran Thieu De, founded the Ho Dynasty and changed the country’s name to Dai Ngu, meaning peace in the ancient language. This name only lasted for very short time, until April 1407, when the Minh enemy invaded Dai Ngu and defeated the Ho Dynasty (1400- 1407).

 

After 10 years of resistance against the Ming occupation (1418-1427), Le Loi had achieved a victorious triumph. In 1428, Le Loi declared himself King of Le Dynasty and changed the name of the country back to Dai Viet. At this time, the territory of Vietnam had expanded to the region of present-day Hue. The name Dai Viet remained under the Le Dynasty (1428-1788) and the Tay Son Dynasty (1788-1802). 

 

In 1802, Nguyen Anh claimed his coronation to become the first Nguyen King, starting the Nguyen dynasty and changing the country’s name to Viet Nam. This name was officially recognized in many diplomatic missions in 1804. During the reign of King Minh Mang (1820-1840), the name of the country was changed to Dai Nam, but Viet Nam was still widely used in many literary works, civil business affairs, and social relations.

Following the triumph of the August Revolution on August 19th 1945, which had entirely swept away Vietnamese feudal and French colonial oppression and began a new era in the country, President Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the nation’s independence and the national name Democratic Republic of Vietnam was born on September 2nd 1945. Although Vietnam suffered from war and separation in the following 30 years, the sacred words "Viet Nam" were very popularly used from the North to the South, and were deeply imprinted in the hearts of the Vietnamese people.

 

Following the liberation of Southern Vietnam on April 30 1975, the entire country of Vietnam was completely unified. In the first meeting of the National Assembly of the Unified Vietnam on July 2nd 1976, the assembly decided to name the country The Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The constitution of 1980, and 1992, continued its affirmation of the country’s official name, legally and actually. The entire nation overcame the grave consequences of 30 years of war and started rebuilding the country. Now, Vietnam is entering a new stage of economical development and is striving to raise the annual income per capita, solidify the economy.
 

People

At present there are 54 different ethnic groups inhabiting Vietnam, in which Kinh (Viet) people make up nearly 90% of the whole population, and 53 other ethnic groups represent over 10%.

The Vietnamese nation was formed through a process of two major ancient cultures, the Chinese and the Indian. Thus a peculiar trait of Vietnam's culture was formed. As far as anthropology is concerned, the Vietnamese people have their origin in the Mongolid race, believed to be one of the major or races of the world and often found in northern and eastern Asia

 

Language

Vietnamese or Tieng Viet is the national language of Vietnam, spoken by around 87 percent population as the first language. However, there are regional and intra-regional variations in dialect throughout the country.

 

Religion

The major religious traditions in Vietnam are Buddhism (which fuses forms of Taoism and Confucianism), Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Islam, Caodaism and the Hoa Hao sect. These are all tolerated, provided they do not threaten the Communist Party’s hold on power.

 

 

Customs & Habits


Worship of Ancestor Custom

A very popular belief among Vietnamese is the custom of the ancestor cult. In every household, an ancestor altar is installed in the most solemn location

Vietnamese believe that the soul of a dead person, even if dead for many generations, still rests along with their descendants on earth. The dead and living persons still have spiritual communion; in everyday life, people must not forget that what they enjoy and how they feel is the same for their dead relatives.

 

 Villages – Guilds

The Vietnamese culture has always evolved on the basis of the wet rice civilization. Thus, the lifestyle of the Vietnamese population is closely related to its village and native lands

In Vietnamese society, people gather together to form villages in rural areas, and guilds in urban areas. Villages and guilds have been forming since the dawn of the nation. These organizations have gradually developed for the population to be more stable and closer

together

 

Customs of Chewing Betel and Areca Nuts and smoking thuoc lao

According to legends, chewing quid of betel and areca has been a custom since the Hung Vuong period and is connected to the antique legend of betel and areca

Let’s not forget to mention thuoc lao or strong tobacco. For women, betel can initiate various feminine conversation, but for men, thuoc lao is related to their joyfulness as well as the sadness in their lives.

Peasants always carry their dieu cay (pipe for smoking while ploughing the rice fields).

 

Wedding Ceremony

Getting married is an important event in a Vietnamese’s life. The procedure of the ancient wedding ceremony was very complicated. Current wedding ceremony procedures include the following steps: the search for a husband or wife, the proposal, the registration, and finally the wedding.

 

Funeral Ceremony

The sense of the dead is that of the final,” says a Vietnamese proverb, meaning that funeral ceremonies must be solemnly organized

  

Festivals

Festival activities are living museums in which typical cultural values of the nation have been preserved for centuries. Festivals are events when people pay tribute to divinities that rendered merits to the community and the nation. Festivals are occasions when people come back to either their natural or national roots, which form a sacred part in their mind. Festivals represent the strength of the commune or village, the local region or even the whole nation. Worshipping the same god, the people unite in solidarity to overcome difficulties, striving for a happy and wealthy life. Festivals display the demand for creativity and enjoyment of spiritual and material cultural values of all social strata. Festivals become a form of education under which fine traditional moral values can be handed from one generation to the next in a unique way of combining spiritual characters with competition and entertainment games. Festivals are also the time people can express their sadness and worries in a wish that gods might bestow favors on them to help them strive for a better life.

 

 

Art performance


Water Puppets

Vietnamese water puppetry has a long history. The pond and lakes of the northern plains, where crowds gathered during festival and galas, become the lively stages for the water puppet shows. At a water puppet show, the audience watches boat races, buffalo fights, fox hunts and other rustic scenes amidst the beating of drums and gongs. The characters plough, plant rice seedlings, fish in a pond with a rod and line, scoop water with a bamboo basket hung from a tripod, etc. The show is interspersed with such items as a Dance by the Four Mythical Animals: Dragon, Unicorn, Tortoise, and Phoenix and Dance by the Eight Fairies, in which supernatural beings enjoy festivities alongside people of this world.

  

Cheo or Vietnamese Popular Theatre

Cheo is a form of stage performance that originated in the northern countryside. The word cheo means “lyrics of folk ballads, proverbs”.

Traditionally, cheo was composed orally by anonymous authors. Today's playwrights compose cheo along traditional lines. The characters in the plays sing time-tested popular melodies with words suited to modern circumstances. Human rights and the battle of good against evil are common themes. The joyfulness and optimism of cheo is expressed through humour and wit.

 

Cai Luong

Cai luong is a kind of folk music that developed in the early 20th century. It was first played by amateurs in the south. Thanks to their soft voices, southerners sing cai luong very romantically

 

Classical Opera or Tuong
Tuong, also called hat boi in the south, is a stage performance that came about during the Ly-Tran dynasties and that became very popular nationwide during the following centuries. During the Nguyen dynasty, 19th century, tuong occupied a good position in the cultural lives of the royals. In tuong, space and time are captured by songs, dancing, and simple music.

  

Gongs or Cong-Chieng

Gongs are musical instruments made of alloy bronze, sometimes with gold, silver, or black bronze added to their composition. Gongs hold great significance and value for many ethnic groups in Tay Nguyen. The gongs play an important role in the lives of the inhabitants of Tay Nguyen; from birth until death, the gongs are present at all the important events, joyful as well as unfortunate, in their lives.

 

Nha nhac, Vietnamese Court Music - An Intangible Cultural Heritage

On November 7, 2003, UNESCO bestowed world heritage status on 28 relics of nations as masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Among the 11 masterpieces of Asia, nha nhac (royal music) represents the first intangible legacy of Vietnam to have been put on this list.

The UNESCO Council appraised Vietnamese royal music in the following terms: “Vietnamese royal music represents an elegant and refined music. It deals with the music performed in the imperial courts and on different anniversaries, religious festivals, and on such particular occasions. Of the different categories developed in Vietnam, only the royal music was national.”

  

Traditional costumes

Over time, the traditional "ao dai" has gone through certain changes. Long gowns are now carefully tailored to fit the body of a Vietnamese woman.

An elegant looking conical palm hat, which is traditionally known as a "non bai tho" (a hat with poetry written on it), is worn as part of a woman's formal dress. This traditional conical hat is particularly suitable for a tropical country such as Vietnam, where fierce sunshine and hard rain are commonplace.

Ao Ba Ba are the stereotypical black silk pajamas (although ao ba ba can be any color) worn by both men and women in the southern countryside, particularly the Mekong Delta. Ao Ba Ba is also worn in the cities, mostly by women. Look for them in the markets and on the street.

 

Traditional Fine art

Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups, each of which has its own traditional culture. The diversity of the ethnic groups is apparent in the many traditional and cultural Vietnamese treasures. These treasures include the various works of art found throughout the country, including sculpture, ceramic, painting, and casting, made from materials such as clay, stone, bronze, steel, wood, and paper.

 

Folk Paintings

Folk paintings are a combination of traditional cultural values with ancient artistic methods that have been created through the labour of past generations. There are two types of Vietnamese folk paintings, Tet (Lunar New Year Festival) paintings and worshipping paintings

The Vietnamese believe in ancestor worship and the deification of natural phenomena, both of which are reflected in the paintings.

 

Dong Ho Paintings

These paintings originated in the Red River Delta. Dong Ho paintings reflect people’s innermost feelings, wishes, and simple dreams. Because the paintings appeal to so many people, they are available throughout the country, from the village markets to the capital city

 

Sinh Village Paintings

Sinh Village Paintings, which come from Sinh Village, a suburb of Hue City, are well-known in the central region of Vietnam. Most Sinh Village paintings are used for worship, and they express the mystical, nature-based beliefs of the ancient Vietnamese.

 

Traditional Sculpture

In the realm of traditional art, Vietnamese sculpture has had a significant history of development. Vietnamese sculpture has been heavily influenced by the three traditional religions, Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, which come from neighboring countries China and India. Examples of early Vietnamese sculpture can be found in common houses, temples, and pagodas

 

Vietnam Handicrafts

Vietnam is a country rich in handicraft products, thanks to the hard-working, dexterous, and creative qualities of the Vietnamese people.

For a very long time, handicraft products have been a source of cultural pride and a source of income for the people. As the varieties of handicraft are fully introduced, only a few typical items and their sources are mentioned here.

Woven tapestries and brocade handbags are unique works from the skilled hands of the ethnic women living in the Northwest regions, such as Cao Bang, Lao Cai.

Embroidered articles and silk products are famous from the regions of Van Phuc (Ha Tay), Nam Ha, Thai Binh, Hue, Dalat (Lam Dong).

Wool tapestries from Hanoi and Haiphong, and jute tapestries from Hung Yen, Haiphong, Hanoi and Thai Binh, are much sought after.

Ceramic and porcelain items have been produced in Vietnam for a long time. Ceramic and porcelain products glazed by traditional methods into beautiful art are well known in Bat Trang (Hanoi), Dong Trieu, Thanh Ha (Quang Ninh), and Haiphong. Copperware is fabricated by the skillful hands of coppersmiths in Ngu Xa (Hanoi), Dai Bai (Bac Ninh), Dong Son (Thanh Hoa).

Jewelry products and metalwork are concentrated in Hanoi, Thai Binh and Hung Yen, while stonework are mainly produced in Danang (Five Element Mountain Region).

Wood products and wood carvings can usually be found in Phu Xuyen (Ha Tay), Dong Ky (Bac Ninh), Haiphong, and Hue.

There are thousands of types of handicraft products. Some of these handicrafts have been internationally recognized and popularized, such as lacquerware. While lacquer artists produce a limited number of paintings and sculptures, lacquer crafts have been part of Vietnamese life in many forms: vases, boxes, interior decorating items, jewelry, and office products.

With about 2,000 years of history, Vietnamese products made by a community of handicraft artists, have established a firm and growing position in the domestic and international markets.

 

 

Cuisines


Customs

Influenced by the Chinese, chopsticks and spoons are used in Vietnam. Many foods (such as cakes) are wrapped in banana or coconut leaves. When eating with elders, younger Vietnamese always ask the elders to eat first.

 

A typical family meal

A typical Vietnamese meal (lunch or dinner) will include steamed rice; a soup dish to eat with rice, a meat or fish dish and a vegetarian dish (either stir fried or boiled).

Vietnamese do not eat in separate servings, but the food is placed in the middle. Each member of the family has a small bowl and chopsticks with which they take food from the table throughout the meal.

Vietnamese noodles and cakes

Besides the typical meal with rice, Vietnamese cuisine has many different types of noodles and cakes (mostly made from rice). To name a few: beef soup noodles (pho), crab noodle (bun rieu), spring rolls (nem), sticky rice cake (chung cake)…

 

Food of three regions

Like everything else, Vietnamese food also differs geographically from location to location. North Vietnam’s food uses soy sauce, fish sauce and prawn sauce and has many stir fried dishes.

With harsh weather and less developed agriculture than the South, North Vietnamese tend to use less meat, fish and vegetables; and black pepper (instead of chili) to create spice. The taste is strict and less sweet, but more salty than in other regions.

Central Vietnam is distinct in its extreme spices and color of food. Hue’s cuisine, affected by royal cuisine once created for kings and queens, emphasized on quality and quantity – A meal constitutes of many complex dishes served only at small proportions.

Southern Vietnamese are heavily affected by Cambodia, Thai and Chinese cuisines (due to trade and immigrants). Southerners prefer sweet tastes (created by adding sugar or coconut milk) and spicy tastes (created by chili peppers).

A variety of dried fish and sauces originate from the South. Southerners prefer seafood and use simple cooking methods with larger and less servings.

 

 

Some Vietnamese special dishes:

 

Com - rice

In Vietnam, com is eaten at the main meals of the day (lunch and dinner). Rice is eaten together with a variety of different dishes and is made from different kinds of rice. Typically fragrant rice is used, such as Tam Thom and Nang Huong. An ordinary meal may consist of boiled rice and the following:

Pho - Noodles

Pho is the most popular food among the Vietnamese population. Pho is commonly eaten for breakfast, although many people will have it for their lunch or dinner. Anyone feeling hungry in the small hours of the morning can also enjoy a bowl of hot and spicy pho to fill their empty stomachs.
Like hot green tea which has its particular fragrance, pho also has its special taste and smell. Preparations may vary, but when the dish is served, its smell and taste is indispensable. The grated rice noodle is made of the best variety of fragrant rice called Gao Te. The broth for Pho Bo (Pho with beef) is made by stewing the bones of cows and pigs in a large pot for a long time. Pieces of fillet mignon together with several slices of ginger are reserved for Pho Bo Tai (rare fillet). Slices of well done meat are offered to those less keen on eating rare fillets.
The soup for Pho Ga (pho with chicken meat) is made by stewing chicken and pig bones together. The white chicken meat that is usually served with Pho Ga is boneless and cut into thin slices. You could consider Pho Bo and Pho Ga Vietnam's special soups. Pho also has the added advantage of being convenient to prepare and healthy to eat.


Cha Ca (grilled minced fish)

Grilled minced fish has been served in Vietnam for more than 100 years. The Doan family of Cha Ca Street in Hanoi first invented this dish.
A wide variety of fish can be used in this dish including sturgeon and tuna. Tuna is low in fat, has an exquisite flavour, and few bones. The bones are separated from the meat and put into saffron water to be later used in a sauce. The fish is marinated in salt before being grilled.
What is interesting about this dish is that people can add their favourite condiments: coriander, mint, dill, shallots, and more.


Cốm
 (Grilled rice)

Grilled rice is mostly served in the fall. After collecting the rice from the fields, several steps have to be performed to obtain excellent com. After removing the grains from their hulks, the rice is wrapped in lotus leaves to keep it from drying and to allow it to absorb the lotus flavor.
Grilled rice can be found everywhere in Vietnam, but the best com is found in Vong village, 5 km from Hanoi. People in this village still use traditional secret recipes. People eat grilled rice with eggs, bananas, or sapodillas.


Banh Tom (crispy shrimp pastry
)
 

Although Banh Tom is available almost everywhere in the country, it is best at the Nha Hang Ho Tay (Ho Tay Restaurant) on the banks of Truc Bach Lake, close to Ho Tay (West Lake) in Hanoi. While diners await the arrival of the hot fried shrimp pastry, they can enjoy the picturesque lake and landscapes offered by the vast expanse of water from West Lake and the tree-lined Thanh Nien Road.

The dish should be eaten as soon as it arrives at the table. The fried pastry is topped with red shrimps and is eaten together with dishes of spicy vegetables mixed with sweet and sour sauce.

To remind you of the local shrimping business, waiters will often tell you that the shrimps that you have ordered for your meal have just been netted in nearby West Lake. This will be a memorable meal that will ensure that you remember your stay in Hanoi.

 

Nom (salad)

This dish is a combination of a variety of fresh vegetables, usually used in salads in Western countries. The make-up of Nom, however, is slightly different.

The main ingredients of Nom include grated pieces of turnip, cabbage, or papaya, and slices of cucumber with grated, boiled, lean pork. Other auxiliary ingredients include grated carrot, slices of hot chilly, and roasted ground nuts. These are used to make the dish more colourful. All are mixed thoroughly before being soaked in vinegar, sugar, garlic, hot chilly, and seasoned with salt.

The presentation of the dish is also very meticulous. The mixture of ingredients is put into a dish before being covered with vegetables.

To try a mouthful of Nom is to enjoy a combination of all the tastes life has to offer, including sour, hot, sweet, salty, and fragrant tastes. The dish helps with digestion at meals and parties. It can become an addictive aid to assist the real connoisseur enjoy more food.

 

Nem Ran or Cha Gio (fried spring roll)

This dish is called Nem Ran by northerners and Cha Gio by southerners. In Hanoi, the introduction of Nem Ran dates back to a time when Cha Ca had not existed. Although it ranks among Vietnam's specialty dishes, Nem Ran is very easy to prepare. Consequently, it has long been a preferred food on special occasions such as Tet and other family festivities.

Ingredients used for Nem Ran comprise of lean minced pork, sea crabs or unshelled shrimps, two kinds of edible mushroom (Nam Huong and Moc Nhi), dried onion, duck eggs, pepper, salt and different kinds of seasoning. All are mixed thoroughly before being wrapped with transparent rice paper into small rolls. These rolls are then fried in boiling oil.

 

Faifo Dainty (Danang) 

Faifo dainty is a fairly unknown Vietnamese dish named after an old street in Hoi An.
Dainty fiber is carefully made by putting rice in water containing ashes from wood found in Cu Lao Cham. Then, the rice is ground and quickly boiled to make a fibrous mixture. Dainty can be preserved only one day, which is why it is boiled and dried. Dainty fibers have a dark-yellow colour.

The filling for dainty consists of lean pork and other condiments that are stir-fried. Then, the dainty is cut into finger-long pieces that are dried and grilled. Finally, the filling is put into the dainty. For a saltier taste, one can add fish sauce. Chicken meat cut in squares combined with small shrimps can also be added to the recipe.
Although dainty is not a popular meal in Vietnam, it is still served in certain restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Tom Chua (Hue Sour Shrimp)
When Hue natives living outside the city return to their homeland, they usually have sour shrimp. Tourists also make sure to buy some jars of sour shrimp before leaving Hue.
Because of the national reputation of this dish, some cooks and merchants specialize in making sour shrimp. In the past, people made this dish at home, but now it is easier to buy it at the market.

This dish can be prepared with any kind of shrimp. The recipe includes a number of steps that must be performed in a specific order. First, the fresh, clean, and dry shrimp of approximately the same size are put in wine along with dry bamboo shoots, garlic, and chili. The ingredients are kept in a closed container at room temperature for three days. Then the container is put in a cool, dry place. After five or seven days, the sour shrimp are ready.

 

Com Hen (Hue Mussel Rice) 

Hot white rice is part of every meal in Vietnam, but only Hue mussel rice is served cool. Hue people, after deciding that no food should be wasted, have designed this dish using leftover rice.

This dish includes Chinese vermicelli, bamboo shoots, lean pork meat, and an assortment of green vegetables (banana leaves, mint, star fruit, etc.).
The broth obtained after boiling the mussels is used to flavour the rice. Ginger, sesame, and chili are also added to the broth. This dish is very spicy and it is not rare to see people with watery eyes and sweaty faces while eating it; nevertheless, everyone congratulates the cook for such a delicious meal.

 

Hue Beef Noodle Soup

One must have years of experience to cook excellent Hue beef noodle soup. This recipe mainly consists of shredded meat and rice noodles. Most restaurants and merchants in Hue do not make the rice noodles themselves; they buy them in Van Cu and Bao Vinh, two villages located near Hue.

Learning how to make a clear broth from bone and meat is also a difficult task, but cooks have the satisfaction of seeing customers enjoying a good meal. The secret of this recipe resides in the meat–this is why it must be bought directly from the slaughterhouse early in the morning. The meat is then shredded, boiled, and taken out of the water to obtain a delicious clear broth.

The amount of salt put in the recipe varies depending on the season; during summer, Hue beef noodle soup is served with soy bean, mint, and different kinds of lettuce; in the winter, the recipe is saltier and lemongrass and fish sauce are added.

 

Hu Tieu (My Tho Noodle Soup)

My Tho seafood noodle soup is different from Chinese noodle soup, nam vang soup, and Hue beef noodle soup, because it contains soy bean, lemon, chili, and soy sauce instead of herbs and lettuce.
Back in the 1960s, a shop in My Tho, 70 km from Ho Chi Minh City, started serving this dish using a secret recipe for the rice noodles. Ever since then, its reputation has grown to become a very well known meal in Vietnam.
It is said that the most delicious noodle soup is made with Co Cat rice, from the most famous rice growing area of My Phong village, a suburb of My Tho.
The sweet aroma of the broth comes from the meat, dried squid, and special condiments.
My Tho noodle soup is a traditional dish specific to the south.

Lau Mam (Mixed Soup)

 

Lau mam was a popular dish among farming communities hundreds of years ago, especially in the southwestern provinces. Nowadays, lau mam is considered a delicacy and is often served to special guests. Lau designates the broth, and mam the salted fish.
The main ingredient used in the broth is marinated fish to which meat and vegetables are added. Various ingredients, such as seafood, fish, and meat, are prepared on separate plates. Guests choose and boil their meat in the broth. The meal is accompanied by several fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs.

This dish is particularly enjoyed since so many alternatives are possible, offering a wide array of delicious flavours.

 

Canh Chua (Fish Sour Soup)

Canh chua originated from the Mekong Region, more specifically from Dong Thap Muoi. Canh chua is a fish sour soup made with fish from the Mekong River and so dua flower. This dish is mostly served when the so dua flower first blossoms at the end of the rainy season. A feast is organized and the fish sour soup is among the delicious meals prepared for this event. Fish sour soup must be eaten very hot. It must also be eaten all at one time since the taste is altered when the soup is reheated.