Vietnam has a unique and fantastic culinary culture. One of the factors contributing to the diverse cuisine of Vietnam is spices or seasonings. If you want to have true Vietnam culinary tours, you must try these unique seasonings of Vietnamese cuisine. They will bring you a very exciting food tour and culture tour.
Role of spices in Vietnamese cuisine
Vietnamese cuisine is greatly diverse and plentiful. Each region, each ethnic group has their own recipe with a lot of different tastes and specific appetites. And the main factor contributing to this diversity is spices.
Spices or seasonings play the key role in any recipes of food. They help to boost the taste and make the dishes more eye-catching. Moreover, seasonings stimulate appetites and digestion to make the foods more delicious and attractive. Plus, there are many spices helping to harmonize appetites, balance the Yin and Yang in the cuisine to bring you the best foods that are not only tasty but also healthy.
As for cultural aspect, seasonings also show us the variance in culinary style among different areas and countries. For example, the ingredients of cuisines in any countries all over the world seem to be similar. Specifically, all of them are originated from either plants or animals. So, what makes them taste really different and specific? It’s due to the seasonings. In addition to cooking skills, seasonings play the key role in creating the special taste of every country and area.
The variance of Vietnamese seasonings
The variance of location, as well as weather, creates special cuisines and seasonings for each region. People in North Vietnam tend to eat on a seasonal basis and like eating insipid food. Especially, they like the food with broth such as Pho or vermicelli. People in Central Vietnam, on the other hand, like strong and peppery taste to warm their body because of the wet weather. Southern people like greasy and sweet foods with moderately hot and salty taste.
In each season, Vietnamese people have different dishes. It creates an interesting map of seasonings. For example, vermicelli with fresh snail of Northern people need thickened vinegar, or vermicelli soup or steamrolled rice pancake in Thanh Tri needs belostomatid oil. People in Central Vietnam like using pepper and citronella to scent BBQ to boost the flavor of the foods while Southern people prefer many types of sauces, like fish sauce, shrimp paste or crab sauce.
The art of seasoning
Vietnamese seasonings are very diverse, including basil, balm-mint, marjoram, scallion, dill, eryngium, chili, pepper, citronella, shallot, garlic, ginger, lemon fruit or leaves, fermented spices like the fermented shrimp paste, rice grains, vinegar of rice alcohol, bitter candy or coconut water, etc.
Purple onion and garlic are necessary for foods of meats and vegetables. When cooking, the chef cut onions into thin slices and thresh the garlic to mix with the main ingredients before cooking. Scallion boosts the special flavor of the food. Galingale and citronella make even pig’s feet taste better.
That’s why southern people often eat pepper in their daily meals to stimulate appetite. They also add pepper and scallions many foods like waxy pumpkin soup or mustard green soup. Northern people often use dill and balm-mint while people in Central Vietnam like using small shallot leaves to season their soups.
Benefits of some seasonings
Chilli is a habitual seasoning in Vietnamese cuisine. But little do they know chili is very beneficial to our health. It contains a lot of vitamins A, C, even more than that in carrot and tomato. Moreover, it’s a great ingredient for weight loss and cardio. Plus, chili has antibacterial properties, so it keeps food from being rotten. Therefore, Vietnamese people usually use it in pickles.
Turmeric is used to create attractive color and smell for the foods. Vietnamese people also use it to remove the fishy smell of ingredients. Moreover, it reduces the risk of many diseases, like arthritis. It is also an excellent soother thanks to pain soothing effect. Turmeric is also good for some health conditions like cancer or an unhealthy gut. It helps to boost the brain power, too.
Garlic presents in most of the Vietnamese daily meals. You’ll have the chance to eat foods with this seasoning when enjoying your Vietnam food tour. Additionally, garlic is a wonderful ingredient to get rid of cancer, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure effectively and naturally.
Pepper has been used as a wonderful herb for generations. It presents a lot of foods for people in Southern Vietnam. It’s also a greatly healthy seasoning which helps treat many diseases like asthma, pain, sore throat, hemorrhoids, cholera, urology disorder, recurrent fever, and indigestion.
There are many other seasonings of Vietnam that you should try in your Vietnam culture tour. Remember to try these wonderful seasonings in your Vietnam culinary tours to taste the flavor of this country.