Water spinach- morning glory (Rau Muong)
Water spinach is the most common vegetable in Vietnam as the tropical climate creates favorable conditions for its growth and the veggie does not require much care. Used to be known as a rustic veggie of the poor, water spinach has become an integral ingredient in some Vietnamese cuisines such as sautéed garlic spinach. In the south, morning glory is often chopped into thin chips and eaten raw as salad or served with many kinds of noodles. For most Vietnamese, water spinach is considered as important as rice in their daily meals.
Cabbage (Bap Cai)
Cabbage is one of the indispensible veggies that Vietnamese housewives take to their top list of ingredients in the cold season. It is a round vegetable with large green or white leaves. It is common knowledge that cabbage is a good source of vitamins and disease preventative properties. Cabbage looks like lettuce but the flavor is subtly different. Its gently sweet taste could certainly charm vegetarian lovers.
Bamboo shoots (Mang)
Coming to Vietnam, the image of green bamboo trees surrounding rustic villages seems to be engraved in tourists’ mind as an unforgettable beauty. Not many guests know that bamboo shoots are regarded as a valuable source of food. According to scientific research, eating bamboo shoots is one of the best ways for you to lose weight and maintain good general health as they are high in dietary fiber and vitamins as well as mineral substance. While fresh bamboo shoots are commonly used in some kinds of soups in Vietnam, its fermented state is preferred to be eaten with a lot of dishes as a kind of Vietnamese Kimchi.
Chayote (Su su)
Chayote is getting popular in the north of Vietnam. It could be easily processed into totally different kinds of dishes as everything in the chayote fruit is edible. The root and leaves are often sautéed with garlic while the sweet flesh is preferred to be boiled and served with roasted peanuts. Both dishes are emerging specialties in Vietnam.
Kohlrabi (Su Hao)
Kohlrabi is a veggie of the cabbage family whose thick round white stem is eaten. It is said that should you are keen on broccoli stalks, you would definitely like kohlrabi. It tastes sweet and super crunchy. While hot kohlrabi soups with pork bone or chicken are bound to warm your belly in the winter, boiled kohlrabi is likely to bring you a cool feeling in the summer, not mention to fermented kohlrabi with the crunchy flavor remained.
Bitter Melon (Muop Dang- Kho Qua)
Through the name, we could certainly image how it tastes. However, the rough surface and the bitter flavor are unable to prevent Vietnamese from enjoying this veggie. So, just try it and find your answer. Chopped bitter melon is often stir-fried with eggs, but the most favorite dish could be bitter melon soup, integral part of the menu for the summer in the south. This specialty is taken into Tet holiday menu as it is Vietnamese firm belief that sadness will pass and the happiness will come over after bitterness has been eaten.
Ceylon spinach (Rau Mung Toi)
Ceylon spinach has appeared in poems and folk verses as a symbol of a rustic attractiveness in Vietnamese little villages. The veggie seems to remind people living far away from their countries of their passed days gathering with their family members around cozy plain meals. The perfect combination of the veggie with crab meat, jute, and luffa creates a mouth-watering soup, a cool dish for hot days in the summer. Besides, ceylon spinach stir-fried with garlic is getting more and more popular in Vietnamese cuisine.
Cucumber (Dua Chuot)
Hardly any submarine sandwich in Vietnam does not have sliced cucumbers as the main ingredient inside. It is certainly an ideal veggie for the summer due to its mild, almost watery flavor or light melon taste. While raw cucumber is also integral part of most kinds of salads in Vietnam, pickled cucumber is another delicacy in Vietnamese cuisine.
Chinese broccoli (Cai Lan)
Many types of soups in Vietnam has Chinese broccoli as the main ingredient. With a subtly bitter flavor and long-lasting sweet taste, the veggie is commonly dipped into broth to enrich the flavor of hotpots. In addition, it can be eaten raw in salads, stir-fried with beef or mushroom and boiled as a normal vegetable. However, the veggie should be washed thoroughly before processed due to the fact that Vietnamese farmers currently spray many kinds of pesticides onto the veggie.