Vietnamese cuisine uses a lot of spices and seasonings which diverse from the South to the North. Most of the main dishes are “slow cook” dishes (slow cooking) such as braised foods, soups (phở, bún bò – beef noodle, bún thang – noodle with chicken, ham, eggs, shrimps, onions and shrimp paste, bún riêu – noodle with crab broth, bún mắm – noodle with fish sauce broth …), cakes (bánh bèo – rice flan cake, bánh nậm – flat rice flour dumpling, bánh cuốn – steamed roll rice roll, bánh bò – sweet chewy sponge cake, bánh da lợn – Vietnamese steamed layer cake, bánh tôm – fried shrimp cake, bánh khoái – Hue crispy pancake, bánh giò – Vietnamese rice & cake dumpling, bánh chưng – chưng cake…), …), types of sweet desserts (chè đậu xanh bánh lọt – green bean and cendol sweet dessert, chè sương sa hột lựu – jelly sweet dessert, chè bà ba – taro & sweet potato sweet dessert, chè chuối – banana sweet dessert, chè đậu trắng – white bean sweet dessert…). Besides, there are countless types of dipping sauces (soy sauce, salty fish sauce, sweet fish sauce, chili lemongrass fish sauce, lemon pepper salt, green chilli salt, chao, shrimp sauce, cork sauce, seasoning sauce …).
To cook delicious Vietnamese food, the cook needs to have enough sophistication in his taste and perhaps some magic? Because mother foods are always different from grandmother foods and one hundred restaurants of phở offer one hundred tastes of phở.
Just kidding! Actually, the “magic” that I mentioned is the cook’s mind and hands. Vietnamese dishes pass from generation to generation with love and are also recorded by love, not by black and white paper documents. As long as the cook puts his feelings into the dish, the dish will be more delicious. The warmth of the tender hands nourishing the home kitchen also contributes to making the dish more charming.
You may not agree with me. Cooking or doing anything all requires your heart and mind. Ah, right! But with European, Japanese, Chinese, Korean dishes … you can easily find many recipes and ways to cook. Particularly as Vietnamese cooking Vietnamese cuisine, you can only use your consciousness to feel each flavor.
When I first learned how to cook, I cooked bad Vietnamese foods, and I had to stop to ponder some time. When I understood thoroughly, I felt that everything was much easier. Every time I stand in the kitchen cooking rice, sour soup, braised fish, stir-fried vegetables, I always think of my grandmother’s and my mother’s meals.