There are three different cuisines in Vietnam. In the South, which enjoys a tropical climate, coconuts, lemongrass, chilli, pineapple and the beautiful fruit of the Mekong delta will be found. Southern cuisine is often sweet and sour, as for instance the famous tart fish soup.
In the central part of the country, it will often be spicy, with fish and shellfish. The North, with its four seasons, will offer a country-style cuisine, using vegetables and herbs and freshwater fish. All the three are connected by a common thread- nuoc mam. This cuisine has its own theories and ingredients, which make it quite different from Western or other Asian cuisines.
Vietnamese cuisine is also very much structured, and has its very own characteristics: short marinades, no butter, no cream nor spirits, no oil for salads. Very little salt is used, sometimes non at all. The herbs used for each dish are indented at the last moment, they are not cooked and thus retain all their flavors. Pepper is added at the last minute, cooking times are short and fast, and vegetables are served crisp.
The Art of Pho
"Pho is closely intermingled with Hanoi, with the true essence of the city, its streets. Pho can be had everywhere in the world. But there is really only one place to go to eat a pho soup, Hanoi. In Paris, New York, or even in Saigon, the magic of Ha Noiâs atmosphere will be wanting...