Inside The Healthy Yet Tasty World Of Vietnamese Food Beyond Pho
Vietnam cuisine is amongst the healthiest in the world. The focus of traditional Vietnamese foods is predominantly made from herbs and veggies.
Filled with complex flavors and contrasting textures, it also extremely delicious. While pho and banh mi has already introduced us to the flavor explosion, Vietnamese cuisine has so much more to offer. Here are some great dishes to try.
Banh Xeo and Banh Khot
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Banh Xeo is a savory crepe made from rice flour and turmeric powder that is stuffed with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. It is then wrapped in lettuce and spiced with various herbs. It is usually eaten after being dipped in fish sauce.
Banh Khot is a similar dish and uses the same batter as Banh Xeo. However, it is made into the shape of pancakes and decorated with a single shrimp in the center. The bite-size pieces are then fried on a special cast-iron plate to create a crunchy outside and fluffy inside.
Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Rolls)
Filled with fresh veggies and herbs, Goi Cuon is a delicious appetizer. The dish combines ingredients like salad leaves, vermicelli noodles, shrimp, and other greens, wrapped in rice paper.
The fresh spring rolls contain almost no unhealthy ingredients or trans fats and are not fried. A plate of Goi Cuon will usually be accompanied by fish sauce and peanut sauce for dipping.
A fresh and light salad, Goi Xoai is a vibrant and delicious dish. Created with julienned carrots, onions, and unripe mango as well as herbs like mint and basil, the salad is marinated in a nuoc cham and lime-based sauce.
To serve, the salad is topped with boiled shrimp or dried beef. It is then decorated with fried shallots and roasted peanuts.
Chao Ga (Vietnamese Congee/Rice Porridge)
Congee is a popular food across Asia especially for those who are sick. The meal is easy to eat, digest, and absorb thus helping restore the strength of a sick person.
To make Vietnamese congee one must cook rice in water for a long period of time until the grains disintegrate creating a thick soup. Ingredients such as mushrooms, beans, peas, meat, or medicinal herbs are usually used to flavor the soup.
Canh Chua (Vietnamese Sour Soup)
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Created in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam, Canh Chua is a popular soup. The sour soup is created using pineapple, tomato, and bean sprouts added to a tamarind-flavored broth.
The tamarind gives the soup its signature sour taste. Fish and prawns add flavor and texture to the dish.
Rau Muong Xao Toi
Another common but extremely common vegetable dish in Vietnam consists of morning glory, also known as water spinach. The ingredient grows easily in the tropical climate making it cheap and easy to find.
Most commonly it is stir-fried with a lot of garlic as well as fish sauce and sugar. Rau Muong Xao Toi makes the perfect side dish.