The delicate food of Vietnam changes from region to region and the different names. There is a dish that is beloved all year round by not only the Vietnamese people but also foreigners. The locals give it two nicknames: “Nem Ran” by northerners and “Cha Gio” by southerners. It is Vietnamese spring rolls.
Introduce spring roll
Originally came from the Southern Vietnam, Vietnamese spring roll was brought to Hanoi and became one of the best food of locals. It is called “Nem Sai Gon”.
In fact, it is one of the traditional foods on special occasions such as Tet holiday(Lunar new year) and family reunions. Ingredients used for the fried spring roll are different depending on each local. However, it comprises of lean minced pork, sea crabs or unshelled shrimps, mushroom, dried onion, duck/chicken eggs, pepper, salt and different kinds of seasoning.
Whichever they are, all ingredients are marinated and mixed thoroughly before being wrapped with rice paper into small rolls. These rolls are then deeply fried in boiling oil. The cooked rolls are usually garnished with fresh lettuce and herbs.
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Talk about special sauce
You might notice the bowl of fish sauce is not the same for every dish of a Vietnamese meal. A quality dipping sauce for spring roll dish must be the harmonious combination of flavors such as lemon juice, sugar, chili and pepper the fish sauce. Other meals have their own sauces that accompany them too.
A taste of the north: pork, pepper, and stir-fry
Other dishes that originated in Hanoi are bun rieu (crab noodle soup), banh cuon (steamed rice rolls), xoi (sticky rice), bun thang (fermented fish paste noodles), and bun dau mam tom (fermented shrimp noodles). When you try them, you will realize how the food is heavily influenced by China — there is a lot of stir-frying and noodle-based dishes, with the regular use of soy sauce, as well as sticky rice.
The food is seasoned with black pepper instead of getting served spicy. Due to the colder climate in the north is not suitable for growing certain ingredients such as chilies and other spices, which affects their availability.
A taste of the south: sweeter, spicier flavors
The southern foods are much, much sweeter and some go as far as to say this trend reflects the people down there. The food is also spicier; however, the spiciest is in central Vietnam.
A good way to learn about the differences in northern and southern Vietnamese cuisine is to try pho in both regions. Pho in the south comes with a lot more herbs and garnishes, making the soup murkier which is much different to the clear broth you get served in the north. It’s also a lot more flavorful and your tongue will be able to identify the different types.
The warmer climate of the south is also ideal for growing a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, and livestock. Most noodle soups in the south come with a large helping of herbs and vegetables, such as hu tieu nam vang, a Chinese and Cambodian influenced pork-based noodle dish. Like this, other noodle soups are vibrant and flavorful, with liberal use of a variety of ingredients. As mentioned earlier, the soups can often be sweet, thanks to the use of sugar and coconut milk.
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