Consumption of fruits and vegetables varies according to
location and income. Wild fruits are abundant and used green or ripened.
These include mangoes and bananas as well as coconuts and a range of
common tropical fruits. Pineapples are enjoyed in season and by those
who can afford this cultivated fruit. Both fruits and vegetables may be
mixed in different dishes containing meats or fish. Often fruits may be
used and seasoned in the same way as vegetables; for example, green
slices of papaya are eaten with a mixture of salt and chili peppers and
a sprinkle of vinegar.
All leafy green vegetables, onions, scallions, garlic, as
well as many varieties of mushrooms, radishes, and cabbages are enjoyed.
Perhaps the only category of vegetables not a part of the Vietnamese
diet are the roots and tubers such as yams and cassava.
Together with the general Vietnamese disdain of fatty or
greasy foods goes the predilection for quantities of fragrant fresh
herbs such as mint, dill, coriander, various sprouts, basil, and green
onions. These are taken as generous garnishes to many dishes including
pho, the Vietnamese
noodle dish that is really a meal. Popular too are little bundles of
mixed fresh herbs wrapped in rice paper or lettuce and dipped in Nuoc
nuoc cham then into a
small dish of crushed roasted peanuts before nibbling. Fresh dill and
green spring onions are a special accompaniment to fish dishes.
Fruits may be used in their green state in cooked dishes
to impart a sour tang and enliven other flavors, or enjoyed for their
own taste. Other fruits may be served fresh as dessert. Most vegetables
are served raw, steamed, boiled, or stir-fried.