Read this and you will be challenged, again, how much you know about Vietnamese food. So Do you know...
1 - Vietnam rice production ranks second in the world (after Thailand).
2 - Vietnam is the only country in the world where people eat animal blood (Tiet Canh). The popular ones are pig blood, duck blood, dog blood, shrimp blood. What else can you think of anyway?
3 - Vietnamese people use all part of the pig to cook meals, include organs like lung, kidney, liver and heart (it does sound gross but it actually tastes ok to some and good to many). The only exception is hair. Even toes are use to make the broth. And a soup contain all the inside part (lung, kidney, liver, tripe…) are call “Pha Lau”, a very popular hot pot in the Northern mountain of Vietnam.
4 - Vietnamese people consume the largest number of instant noodle in Asia, even more than Japan - the home country of this processed food.
5 - Vietnam has a very wide range of noodle, namely: Pho, vermicelli (Bun), grass noodle (Mien), rice noodle (Banh Da) – this one even has 2 different versions: the white and the red ones, ka tieu (Hu Tieu) popular in the South, egg noodle (Mi Van Than) and instant noodle. Speaking of Pho alone, there are somewhat 20 uses.
6 - Since 2010, Vietnamese meat consumption (31.5 kg/year) has exceeded the average amount of Asian (31 kg/year) but still less than Thais (40 kg) and Chinese (53kg/year).
7 - Between many kinds of meat used, Vietnamese consume 77.5% of pork, 15.7% of bird/chicken/duck, 6.6% of beef/buffalo/goat and 0.2% of other types. The average ratio in the world is 40-45% pork, 25-30% beef and 30-35% chicken.
8 - Balut (Trung Vit Lon) is very popular in Asia but Vietnamese has the oldest balut (19-21 days old) and is the only country having balut served with Vietnamese coriander (Rau Ram). More over, Vietnam has quail balut (Trung Cut Lon) which is quite rare over the world.
9 - Vietnam has a unique/odd habit of adding broth/soup to the rice bowl, which appears nowhere else in the planet. In Latin America, people add pop corn or fried plantains to their soup but Vietnam is the only, in terms of rice.
10 - Spring roll is the most popular dish of Vietnam, though they are barely seen in everyday meal - mostly in a family gathering or anniversary dinner.
11 - Vietnam has a large diversity of sweet soups (chè), with more than 100 kinds from the North to the South. The only rival of Vietnam in this field is Thailand.
12 - Cakes in Vietnam are various in shape and kind. Vietnam has nearly 200 kinds of cake but do not expect them to curb your craving for sweets. They are called "Banh" but they are not really made from butter and flour. Some of them are the only one in the world, like “Bánh chưng” (Square cake) or “bánh gai”.
13 - Vietnam has the best star apple (vú sữa) in the world.
14 - Many other countries have wrapped roll, but Vietnam is the only place that people eat the wrapped roll uncooked - popularly known as summer rolls (and now Thailand too?). A typical example is “Nem cuốn” (wrapped roll) with the rice paper cover vermicelli, vegetables, herbs and a slice of pork or fish.
15 - Vietnamese people use nearly 70 kinds of herbs which are used as a very important part of the meals. Some dishes can not be perfect without herbs. Among them are lettuce, mint, coriander, apricot leaves, kaffir leaves, to name a few.
16 - Vietnam is not the only country to have dipping sauce, but no other places can beat Vietnam in term of the variety of sauce. Vietnam has more than 30 kinds of sauces, from fish sauce, shrimp sauce, crab sauce….to some rare sauce like frog and crab egg sauce. And Vietnam is also the only country to add sauce to the broth. Others only use sauce to enhance the taste for the dishes.
Most common add-ons for Vietnamese Xoi.
It will be a big miss if you come to Vietnam without trying “xoi”.