Rice and noodles are the staple starches in the Vietnamese
diet, but they have also cultivated a taste for French bread over the
years and combine it with beef, cooked Vietnamese style, to make
delicious, if somewhat unorthodox sandwiches. Breakfast in Vietnam is
usually noodles soup. It is rather overpowering by Western standards,
for it is redolent of fresh coriander herb (called Vietnamese parsley),
garlic and nuoc mam or nuoc cham. Rice, accompanied by dishes or meat,
poultry or fish, is the basis of the other meals.
Rice is cooked by the absorption method, without salt.
It is meant to be firm and separate, the grains having just enough cling
so they can be picked up easily with chopsticks. Pot-roasted rice, a
simple variation, has a flavor all its own and is considered a
delicacy. It is easy to prepare and this method of cooking rice results
in a drier and fluffier consistency.