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Culinary Regions

Looked at as a whole, the Vietnamese table is a conglomerate of Vietnam’s three regional cuisines. B Vietnam is separated geographically into three distinct areas : the North, the Central region, and South, with Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City being both each region’s respective major city, as well as its culinary capital. On the other hand Central Vietnam’s more temperate weather as well as significant coastlines, yields a variety of lush crops Whist South Vietnam, with more coastlines and Mekong River system, provides more seafood and an array of tropical delights.


The food of the North is both a product of its cool mountain climate where fewer herbs are grown as well as regional influences.

During the northern winter families enjoy nothing more than gathering around a big bowl of seasoned both and cooking vegetables and meat for sustenance and warmth. Today, such hotpot dishes are commonplace and widely available in restaurants, and are a great fun meal to share with friends.



In the temperate climate of the central Vietnam where a variety of lush crops are supported, the food becomes noticeably more chili-spicy. The greatest distinction of Central Vietnam cuisine however, is the influence of the ancient Imperial Court city of Hue at its heart. Here, the remnants of Imperial cuisine can still be found. Traditionally involving delicate portions of food served in multiple courses, each course becomes more artistic as the meal progresses. The food found in the Central region today is thus highly refined, and reflective of how the former court chefs used to cook.

To sample a dish fit for an Imperial King try roasted young pork or stewed chicken with herbs. Alternatively tuck into a meal of meal of bird’s nest soup, but be warned, you may also need to pay with a King’s earnings! Other popular dishes of the region include Banh Khoai , a rice starch and coconut milk crepe and Bun Bo hue, a noodle sup redolent of citronella.



Rich with fresh seafood, Southern food also shows generously spiced with chilies, coconut milk and a variety of herbs and spices. The more recent period of French occupation also left lingering aspects of French culinary influence as baguettes, sandwiches, filtered coffee, crème caramel ( although made with coconut milk ) and orange ( or pineapple ) duck.

With a climate conductive to along growing season there is a greater availability of tropical fruits and vegetables. Here, sugar from sugarcane is generously used – often being combined into savory dishes. The custom of wrapping food in a lettuce leaf with herbs and dipping it into fish sauce is a tradition that has its origins in the south. Some other popular dishes from the South include cha tom – shrimp wrapped in sugarcane, and Banh Xeo – rice pancake folded with shrimp, meat soya bean sprouts).