Food in Vietnam Felix Wong

One thing I really enjoyed in Vietnam was the food. Vietnamese food is quick, delicious, and healthy. Despite eating it every day for 2.5 weeks I never reached the point where I threw up my hands and screamed, “No mas! No mas!” Anyhow, here are some more notes:

  • Pho (pronounced “fah”, not “foe!”) is perhaps Vietnam’s most famous dish and is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is a large bowl of soup with noodles, thin pieces of meat, onions, etc. in it. Usually served on the side are sprouts, chili peppers, and some green leafy vegetables I do not know the name of. One can dump in these condiments in the soup.
  • Pho and other dishes in Vietnam taste just like that in the U.S.. However, serving sizes are smaller. A typical bowl of pho in Vietnam is the size of a “small” order of that in the U.S., and there is no “large” option.
  • Every table in a Vietnamese restaurant has a bottle of chili sauce; people out there (like myself) put chili sauce on everything. Even KFC has chili sauce.
  • Fish sauce and vinegar (?) is also usually available on restaurant tables in Vietnam.
  • Food is kind of like Chinese food in that everything is cooked (either boiled or fried), but tends to be a lot less greasy
  • Vietnamese cuisine seems to have less variety than Chinese food. Virtually every entree in Vietnam is a variation of a noodle (usually vermicelli) or rice dish, with the exception of spring rolls.
  • Dishes are cheap by American Standards. I usually was not spending more than $1-2 for breakfast, $1.50-2.50 for lunch, and $2.50-4 for dinner.
  • Processed foods in supermarkets typically cost 1/3rd as much as in the U.S.. However, fruit (apples and such) seem to cost just as much as in the U.S..
  • There are NO obese people in Vietnam except for the American, British, and German tourists. This leads me to believe that Vietnamese food is healthy. Indeed, most cuisine there seems to be minimally processed and low in fat and sugar.
  • However, the people in Vietnam also seemed to be a bit shorter than Vietnamese in the U.S. (and definitely less fleshed out). I am 5’10” (which is about average for an American) but seemed to tower over everyone. Maybe this is due to milk being much less consumed than in the U.S.?
  • It seems like every time I go on vacation, I lose a couple of pounds (mainly water and muscle). However, this time I lost almost 7 pounds (sad because I would have liked to gain 7 pounds of lean mass…) Which leads me to conclude that Vietnamese food makes good diet food…

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Beef pho with muscle: 27,000 dong ($1.71). (July 4, 2006)Korean noodles in Saigon. (July 5, 2006)Rice dish on boat to Hoi An after My Son tour. (July 7, 2006)Pepsi is big here in Vietnam, moreso than Coke it seemed. (July 4, 2006)Dining al fresco in Hoi An: noodles with beef and Lipton tea. (July 7, 2006)Noodles with shrimp and Vietnamese tea in Hue. (July 8, 2006)Beef steak with vegetables in Hue. (July 8, 2006)Steamed vegetarian rolls in Hue. (July 8, 2006)Noodles (ramen?) and pork for breakfast before the DMZ Tour. (July 9, 2006)Rice and vegetables and Lipton tea for lunch during DMZ Tour. (July 9, 2006)Grilled fish, steamed rice, fried tofu, and Huda beer in Hue. (July 9, 2006)Egg rolls, fried egg, green beans, cucumber, steak and soup before Perfume River cruise. (July 10, 2006)Stir-fried noodles and vegetables at Banana Mango in Hue. (July 10, 2006)Kido's ice cream in Hue (with coconut).  Ice cream in Vietnam is (pleasantly) not as sweet in the U.S.. (July 11, 2006)My favorite coffee shop in Saigon: the Blue Cafe of District 1. (July 12, 2006)Asian pizza at Gold Fish, my favorite restaurant in Saigon. (July 12, 2006)Fried banana and coconut in Sky Lounge in Nha Trang. (July 14, 2006)At Lac Cahn in Nha Trang -- "the most famous restaurant in Vietnam for beef" -- Kristy puts more beef on the table BBQ. (July 15, 2006)Dinner with Kristy included salad, mixed vegetables, french fries, shrimp chips, eel (not shown), and beef. (July 15, 2006)Food we brought to the theme park in Saigon included Thu Manh (a jello-like dessert), plums, shrimp chips with shredded dried pork, Poca shrimp chips, and Want Want biscuits. (July 18, 2006)Kristy served me up some "fa tah" at her parents' place in Nha Trang.  It is sweet, made of green beans, and "eaten at weddings." (July 15, 2006)Coconut drink in Mui Ne. (July 16, 2006)Dragon fruit.  The fruit inside is white, not too sweet, with lots of tiny black seeds. (July 17, 2006)Chicken pho at Pho 2000 in Saigon included some fried bread to dip in the soup. (July 19, 2006)KFC in Saigon, and how to transport a bunch of poles. (July 4, 2006)KFC in Saigon was very much like that in the U.S.. (July 19, 2006)Vermicelli with spring rolls in Saigon. (July 20, 2006)Ice cream on my last full day in Vietnam.  Kristy had the ice cream in the shelled-out coconut. (July 6, 2006)

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2 comments on “Food in Vietnam

  1. Comment by Nguyen Ly

    I am a Vietnamese , I searched Google and accidentally enter your page. How interesting it is to read what foreigners think about Vietnam!
    I like the way you described and comment things !!!

  2. Comment by tran

    You have lost 7 pounds because you are not an addict of Vietnamese food. I’m an addict and I gained 2,2 pounds of fat after 3 weeks. I love ‘pho bo’ , I love ‘che hat sen’ , I love ‘banh khot’ …. Someone needs to help me get out of here !!!!

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