Ban Cuon : a variation on the Chinese Dim Sum
(steamed filled dumplings), where only the dough is steamed then filled.
The dough is made into a ball from rice flour and water then rubbed over
a cheesecloth tautly stretched over a pot of boiling water. As the steam
cooks the 'wrapper', it is pulled off, rolled up with a minced filling
of pork, shrimp, mushrooms and onions then dipped in hot sauce before
being eaten. Commonly made and served by street vendors or at market
Banh Hoi Nem Chua : cooked rice noodles served
with raw pork.
Banh Hoi Tom : cooked rice noodles served with
Banh Trang : rice-paper wrappers made from rice
flour, water and salt. These are moistened in warm water then quickly
filled to be fried, or used uncooked as wrappers for slivers of meat or
fish and fresh herbs. Usually dipping sauces are provided for the
Ca-Kho : raw fish.
Ca Ran Chua Ngot : a special main dish of quickly
fried whole fish served with a delicate sweet and sour sauce touched
lightly with chilies and onions, nuoc mam, vinegar, and sugar. The
stir-fried slivered tiger lily buds, mushrooms and scallions form the
Cha Gio : the general name for wrapped tidbits of
fish, seafood, vegetables, which are eaten as is after being dipped in
various sauces or which may be deep-fried in their wrappers (as when
using rice-paper wrappers). The finger-sized rolls may be served as
appetizers or as art of a meal.
Hu-Tien : a borth with noodles often served as a
hot satisfying breakfast dish.
Mang Tay Nau Cua : soup based on chicken stock
with crab meat and asparagus and mushroom pieces. The soup is thickened
with cornstarch and served garnished with slivers of scallions and
crumbled hard egg yolk.
Micha Trong Kroeuny : strips of plaice fillets
dusted with rice flour and briefly browned in fat then lightly cooked in
a spicy sauce of garlic, scallions, chilies, and Nuoc Mam.
Mien Ga : light, flavorful chicken broth
(fat-free), served with cellophane noodles and thinly slivered scallions
Mut : a sticky sweet candy that can be prepared
from fruits, vegetables, or seeds cooked in syrup until translucent.
Nonhchon : the short grain rice preferred by the
Nems : deep-fried pastry-wrapped delicacies very
similar to Chinese egg rolls and eaten after being dipped into Nuoc Man
or Nuoc Cham.
Nuoc Cham : to the basic Nuoc Mam the cook adds
chilies, black pepper, cayenne, scallions, onions, garlic to taste in
order to produce a fiery hot sauce, Nuoc Cham to the diner's liking.
Nuoc Leo : a peanut dipping sauce made by mixing
Nuoc Mam with chicken broth and Hoisin Sauce then garnishing with
slivers of chilies, garlic and crushed roasted peanuts.
Nuoc Mam : the single most important sauce of
Vietnamese cuisine. It is prepared (mostly commercially) by layering
fish and salt in barrels and allowing them to ferment. The first liquid
that oozes off naturally is considered to be of high quality. The liquid
that results after pressing the fermented mixture is stronger in color,
flavor and odor and is considered to be of lower quality. This sauce is
as common as salt and pepper is to the western table. No dish is
complete without at least a little Nuoc Mam, but each dier adds more,
according to taste.
Pho : the only Vietnamese dish that is served in
individual portions. All other dishes are served in dishes to be shared
at the table. Lengthy cooking and careful seasoning produces the beef or
chicken broth that is poured over cooked noodles. The shredded meat of
your choice is arranged on top. Each diner adds fresh green herbs,
garlic and chilies. Sauces are served in tiny side dishes for dipping
meat slivers with chopsticks. A porcelain soup spoon may be used to aid
the delivery of slippery noodles to the mouth.
Tamthom : the long grain white rice preferred by
the North Vietnamese.
Thit-Kho : pork. The preferred meat, eaten
frequently by the upper class, often by the middle class, and almost
never by the poorer class.