Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Giang: Hey everyone, and welcome back to VietnamesePod101.com! I’m Giang!
Jason: I’m Jason, and this is the All About Series, lesson 7 Top 5 Vietnamese Dishes. Vietnam has a really unique food culture. Vietnamese food is known as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, and it can satisfy even the most picky people because of its use of fresh and low fat ingredients, and high reliance on herbs and vegetables.
Giang: That’s right. In this lesson, we’ll start by telling you some major features of Vietnamese cuisine and food culture.

Lesson focus

Jason: Due to the differences in climate and geography, each region - the north, the center, and the south, has its own food culture, which creates a diverse range of dishes all over Vietnam.
Giang: But in general, they all share some common features.
Jason: Right. Firstly, Vietnamese people pay more attention to the tastiness and healthiness of the food, rather than how many calories it contains. That’s why food should be cooked in a way that increases the appetite of those who enjoy it.
Giang: Yeah, many Vietnamese foods are made from ingredients that are not really nutritious, but can arouse the interest and curiosity of the diner. Some examples are pig’s ear, chicken’s foot, and cassava vermicelli etc.
Jason: Also, Vietnamese cuisine is characterized as light and balanced thanks to the sophisticated mix of flavoring ingredients, including a wide variety of herbs, spices and sauces. The spices that are widely used in Vietnamese food are garlic, shallot, onion, chili, ginger, lemon, lemongrass, vinegar and fish sauce.
Giang: Vietnam is known to the world as the country that has the most varied sauces. The use of unique sauces such as fish sauce, shrimp sauce, coconut milk, and fermented soy sauce makes the flavor unique.
Jason: And Giang, I have a question. Because Vietnamese people tend to eat in groups, is there any special table etiquette?
Giang: Yes! While the basic rules apply, such as don't talk with your mouth full, sit up straight, don't put your feet on the table, etc, there are some other things to keep in mind too.
Jason: Oh, what are they?
Giang: First, holding your chopsticks while you are pouring soup into your bowl isn’t recommended.
Jason: Pouring soup?
Giang: Yes. Normally, a large bowl of soup is shared on the tray. When you want to drink the soup, you have to ladle it out into your bowl. You have to put down your chopsticks when you do this.
Jason: I see. It’s interesting that sharing soup is the norm! What’s another one?
Giang: Don’t forget to address older people before you start eating.
Jason: Address? Do you mean by saying “Bon appetit”?
Giang: Something like that, but it’s the younger people who have to say that to the older people individually.
Jason: Really? Hmm, well I guess with Vietnam being a hierarchical society, it is no surprise. So Giang, let’s tell our listeners about some popular foods in Vietnam.
Giang: Sure. Here are “The Top 5 Vietnamese Dishes”. Number five is... Xôi
Jason: steamed sticky rice. This is a casual dish which is widely sold at street-side stands and it makes an excellent breakfast or snack. White sticky rice is often served with fried eggs, pâté, dried shredded pork or chicken or braised pork. It can also be cooked with extra ingredients such as mung beans, black beans or corn.
Giang: Number four is Bánh mì ba tê
Jason: “Vietnamese baguette filled with pâté” It is a typical Vietnamese-style baguette. It is considered a food for low or middle class, because it is very cheap and is sold everywhere along the street. Toasted baguette is filled with liver pate, some dried shredded pork, some slices of cucumber, coriander and chili sauce. It is usually eaten for breakfast but can substitute the main course for lunch or dinner.
Giang: Number three is Bún chả
Jason: rice vermicelli served with grilled pork. This is a favorite dish among Vietnamese of all ages. The most important part of this dish is the sweet and sour sauce. This sauce is made from fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, water and garlic, added with thin slices of carrots, green papaya and bean sprouts. When eating, dip the grilled pork and the rice vermicelli in the sauce and enjoy. Add some raw vegetables if you like.
Giang: Number two is Gỏi cuốn
Jason: fresh springrolls! Gỏi cuốn is second only to Phở in terms of its popularity among foreigners. This is a great appetizer, especially during the hot seasons. Each roll is made by wrapping shallots, fried eggs, boiled pork, boiled shrimp, cucumber and lettuce in rice paper. When serving, dip the roll in a sweet and sour sauce made from fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, water and garlic, and enjoy!
Giang: And Number one… of course is Phở
Jason: Rice noodle soup. This is the most popular traditional Vietnamese food. This dish contains rice noodle served in clear beef or chicken broth, with thin slices of beef and chicken and some herbs. It is the broth that makes the food unique. This is made by simmering beef bones or chicken bones, then adding roasted onion, ginger, cinnamon, Asian basil and some other spices. Before dining, Vietnamese people add chili sauce, lemon sauce or garlic vinegar and black pepper to the broth, but it is optional and the amount used depends on each person’s preference.


Giang: Great! Listeners, are you feeling hungry yet?
Jason: I know I am! For more information, be sure to check out the lesson notes!
Giang: Yes. Also, please leave us a comment telling us what your favorite Vietnamese food is!
Jason: See you next time!
Giang: Bye!