Along Vietnam, besides the change in geography, culture, and customs, there is also the difference in the cuisine of the regions of the North, the Central, and the South.
In each region of the country, people have different tastes and appetites, contributing to the richness and diversity of Vietnamese food culture. So, what is the difference between the cuisines of Vietnam's three regions? Let’s explore this through the article.
Culinary culture is a cultural part of the overall material and spiritual characteristics, portraying some basic features of a community, family, village, region, and nation. In another word, the cuisine is not only to eat well but also to reflect regional characteristics. The features of geography or habits, etc of people, in return, affect the culinary culture. Traveling along the three regions of Vietnam, travelers will recognize the differences that have helped the overall picture of Vietnamese cuisine become richer and more diverse.
Water fern cake in the Central
Delicacy in the North
As a land of the ancient culture with many feudal dynasties, Hanoi can be said to be a place to store the culinary elite of the North. As the place where the ancestors settled, the food and clothing here have been refined and become standard that is not easy to change. The Northern cuisine from the processing, presentation to the name of dishes is very simple but expresses the people’s particular delicacy. The Northern dishes are often frugal, delicate, having the slightly sour taste of “me” (fermented rice) or “sau” (dracontomelon duperreanum, a typical fruit of Hanoi capital).
The typical specialties in the North that travelers should try when visiting the country includes Vietnamese pho, vermicelli and grilled chopped meat, vermicelli and chicken soup, fried noodles with sea crab, Westlake shrimp cake, and jellied meat, etc.
Fried noodles with sea crab in the North
In addition to the Northern dishes focusing on the Tet holiday, there is another feature in the North cuisine which is the cakes and candies. This is not a kind of food for feeling full but it gives people a lot of excitement, is really a wonderful thing to do in Vietnam. Especially, it holds many beautiful memories in the childhood of each Northern person. There are many typical dishes such as salted or sugared fruits made from “sau” fruits, cakes of green rice, etc.
Seduction in the Central
The land of the Central is very arid which is sunny, windy, and stormy all year round. It is not favored by nature as much as the North and the South. Maybe so that, people here always appreciate and turn the wonderful local products into delicious dishes with the featured taste that anyone who enjoys once will never forget.
The cuisine of the Central people is very rich that each locality has its own specialties, bearing the diverse identity and flavor of each place. The Central cuisine is relatively sophisticated, focusing from the form, presentation to the name of the dishes. For example, Hue - a place where is considered the cradle of the Central cuisine.
Grilled snakehead fish in the South
Culinary culture in Hue is divided into two different types which are royal cuisine and folk cuisine. Whether it is a luxury or rustic dish, Hue delicacies have always made tourists love at the first sight and then praise for that unforgettable taste. In addition to the color, the spices are also focused by the Central people. In particular, chili is indispensable in most dishes. Most of the central provinces are coastal cities, so it is not surprising that chili has been used in many dishes for a long time because it has a part in making the fisherman feel warmer. Also, this spicy has created a unique identity for the Central cuisine.
The typical dishes of the Central people include “cao lau” (Hoi An-style noodle with pork and greens), baby basket clams rice, Hue-style beef vermicelli soup, and many Vietnamese street foods like water fern cake, rice pancake folded in half, and “banh dap” (the combination of steamed thin rice pancake and girdle cake), etc.
Diversity in the South
Corn sweet soup (youtube.com)
Not as sophisticated as the royal cuisine in the Central, the Southern cuisine features the simplicity and rusticity that is extremely varied. Southern dishes often have a sweet taste of sugar, fresh vegetables, or fatty coconut milk. With only these simple ingredients, people can create a style for the cuisine of this land. Many dishes like cakes (yeast cookies, fried sticky rice dumplings, or sponge cakes, etc), sweet soups, sticky rice, grilled meat roll, chicken rice gruel, and roasted chicken, etc usually use coconut water or coconut milk to increase the fat and sweet taste.
Unlike the salty flavor in the North or the spicy in the Central, the Southern people mainly eat sweet taste. This is also the origin of many famous Vietnamese street food of sweet soups such as “che ba ba” (sweet soup with sweet potato, cassava, and coconut milk, etc), beans and peas sweet soup, pomelo sweet soup, sweet banana with coconut gruel, and corn sweet soup (made from corn and tapioca rice pudding), etc. That does not mean that the Southerners only eat sweet, but their taste is very special. The typical dishes of the Southern cuisine can be described as grilled snakehead fish, rolls, Vietnamese gumbo, and Phnom Penh clear rice noodle soup, etc.
The featured hot pot in the South
Although the culinary style of each region is different, it creates a colorful, diverse, and attractive picture, expressing the characteristics of interesting Vietnamese food culture. Therefore, not only Vietnamese but many foreigners in a Vietnam package tour also love the food culture of the S-shaped country. If you like Vietnamese cuisine too, don’t hesitate to like and share with others. Thank you.