Characteristics and features of modern Vietnamese cuisine

Due to cultural interference and the development of modern society, Vietnamese cuisine changes its characteristics significantly.

When the French colonized Vietnam, the country was divided into 3 regions: the South, the Central and the North. Each region had different customs and culinary style as well as taste in their dishes.

Northern cuisine

The 4-season climate in the North allows Northerners to use seasonal spices. Due to that characteristic, the Northern people often have balanced flavours, neither too bold nor too spicy or sweet. However, they use a lot of ingredients to taste the food that leads to a colorful and sophisticated dish. When it comes to cuisine in the North, we cannot help mentioning Hanoi, where keeps the culinary elite. If you have the opportunity to set foot in Hanoi, you cannot ignore 2 famous dishes such as Pho Hanoi and Bun Cha.

Central cuisine

The Central people use a lot of spicy but the sweetness is less than the South. Central cuisine highlights the sophistication in every single meal.  Especially Hue people, from dishes for ordinary people or royalty family, a meal includes many dishes. Central people usually use their sweet and spicy sauce such as shrimp sauce to eat with rice or other dishes, which far differ from Northerners.

Southern cuisine

Southerners are honest and subtle, so their dishes also bear the characteristics the same as people in this place. Southern dishes are varied, unpredictable transformation with sweet, spicy, and greasy of coconut or coconut milk added into various dishes. 

Modern cuisine: Eastern – Western combinations

The differences between East-West cuisine convince people to have the perception that these two cuisines are difficult to combine because of contrariety in using spices and processing. 

However, creativity in cuisine is endless and over time, new dishes will be born to meet the increasing demand for human enjoyment. There have been many creative combinations between Western and Eastern styles to create attractive and delicious flavors. Typically, it is the usage of traditional ingredients to create beautifully presented Western-style dishes. Asians in general and Vietnamese in particular in the old days prioritized simple in appearance, non-sophisticated dishes but contain many nutrients and flavors to wake up the taste. Unlike Eastern people, Westerners focus on the decoration of the food because they conceive that well-presented food stimulates appetite.

Due to cultural exchange, the demand for delectable plates with fine presentation is increasingly favored by Asians, including Vietnamese. Since the fusion food was introduced, many Vietnamese restaurants have changed to adapt and redefine traditional dishes by combining Vietnamese ingredients in processing to create Asian – European dishes which suit Vietnamese’s taste.  

In Hanoi, we cannot ignore the name Opera Garden Restaurant, where cuisine and design are cross-cultural between the East and West. At this restaurant, fusion food is served to meet the demand for Asian tastes, but the dishes here are exquisitely decorated to keep the elegance and beauty in the culinary conception of Europeans.

Source : Characteristics and features of modern Vietnamese cuisine