The History of Authentic Vietnamese Recipes: The Birth of Noodles
Authentic Vietnamese recipes became a reality when the noodle became popular around the 2BC. Since then they have been a staple for everyday life.
The history of Vietnam dates back to around 12,000 BC, when the first indigenous settlers came to live in the Hong River Valley surviving through harvesting plants and hunting. Around 6000 years later the Vietnamese people began wet rice farming.
The fertile lands of Vietnam already provided meat, fish, plants, and herbs, these staples being the base of traditional Vietnamese food. In the year 2BC, Vietnam would then go on to live under the reign of Chinese dynasties, this causing political unrest but also the birth of the noodle in Vietnam.
Noodles are known to have been invented in China, around the time of the East Han Dynasty, being originally made from millet and other grains found native to China. Over time, recipes expanded to include rice, eggs, and wheat, these techniques then being exported to Vietnam.
So, as the most traditional Vietnamese food is the noodle-based dish phở, you may presume that the dish existed 2,000 years ago. Actually, the dish was only invented in North Vietnam in the early 20th century.
By this time, Vietnam was no longer ruled by China, and French colonialists had already arrived. From 1887 to 1954, Vietnamese traditional was heavily influenced by the fact that Vietnam was essentially a part of French Indochina.
The fusion of noodles from China and herbs from France is what actually created the original phở dish, the dish being based on the French dish pot-au-feu, where beef bones are boiled with vegetables. This combined with authentic Vietnamese recipes has made the food only better.
As early as 1900, street sellers would wonder the streets with barrels of soup, selling it to anyone interested, Chinese migrant workers love the dish that reminded them of being back home.
Authentic Vietnamese Recipes: The Legacy Continues
The mix of Chinese and French ingredients in authentic Vietnamese recipes and food didn’t end with noodles and phở. The French baguette would be taken and transformed, and filled with seafood, pate, eggs, chili, marinated meats, and pickled vegetables in a dish called bánh mì.
The legacy of the French influence could also be seen in a thin pancake Bánh xèo that has striking similarities with French crepes, the main difference being that the batter was made from rice flour.
Coffee and chocolate were also brought over by Colonists from across Europe, Vietnamese chocolate now being so dark and intense that it is almost black in color. Cà phê would include a dose of condensed milk to make it sweet.
1954 marked a very important date for Vietnam, the Geneva Convention splitting the nation into two. Many northerners migrated south, bringing their recipes with them to a land more fertile with all-year-round sun where limes and bean sprouts would be added to traditional phở.
After the American War, many Vietnamese citizens would choose to migrate, many opening restaurants offering traditional Vietnamese food all across the globe.
At the same time, rice production would hit an all-time low back in Vietnam, with much agricultural land having been damaged during the way, mines and Agent Orange having damaged the soil.
This meant that people were forced to diversify, mixing rice with sorghum, and white and sweet potatoes Vietnam becoming one of the poorest nations in the world in the 1980’s.
Thankfully times would change, and nowadays Vietnam is seen as a country of abundance, where parents are known for over-feeding their children after years of malnutrition and famine. Walk down any street in the country and you will see terraces of cafes on the sidewalks.
The culinary delights of Vietnam are continuing to evolve, with new modern cuisine now having a place alongside the traditional Vietnamese dishes. Prevalent in Vietnam, like in any nation nowadays are fast food outlets.
So, another concern for the country is to encourage healthy eating at all times, as after the famine that blighted Vietnam, there is no longer a danger that food sources will run out.
Traditional Vietnamese foods still dominant the majority of households, although of course Western influences mean that a wider variety of foods is now available.
Authentic Vietnamese Recipes and Food Dishes
Although new cuisine is abundant in Vietnam, the country is still best known for its age-old recipes such as Pho and Vietnamese baguettes. Another traditional dish, known as Bun cha is a dish made with fresh noodles, fish sauce, and barbequed pork.
As a visitor to Vietnam, you may find this dish on a menu listed as “Obama Noodles” Bánh cuốn is another of the most traditional Vietnamese foods you will find abundantly, this dish consisting of seasoned pork and mushroom rolls dunked in fish sauce.
Chè is another authentic Vietnamese recipes and food from Vietnam that can be served both as a savory dish as well as for a sweet, the dish commonly containing anything from kidney beans to tapioca and fruit.
Cuisine Mói: Modern Vietnamese Cuisine
Although the country is still best-known for street food and eateries in alleyways and on every street, fine dining has also made its’ way to the country. A small group of chefs, including Peter Cuong Franklin is responsible for this movement.
Having worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens around the world, his latest venture is Anan Saigon. This new technique in Vietnamese food combines traditional Vietnamese foods with modern techniques and presentations.
Vietnamese food is amongst the most diverse in the world, thanks to its influences from China, South East Asia, and France. With regional diversity also coming into play, probably the best place to savor Vietnamese cuisine is in Saigon.
Cuisine Mói takes traditional and local ingredients, and transforms them into gourmet level dishes. Although the standard dishes of pho and banh mi will always be the most common in Vietnam, it is important that people try new and exciting foods.
Food in Vietnam will always be unique thanks to the special cultural connection the country shares with France. Combined with the years of Chinese reign, it is safe to say that Vietnamese food is diverse, and often far from what visitors expect.
After all, unless you have done your history of the country, you wouldn’t expect to be able to order a stuffed French baguette for your lunch.
1. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Egg Coffee
The Vietnamese take on this treat makes for a dessert coffee, a silky concoction comprised of a sweet eggy foam floating atop of a cup of dark brew. Imagine a tiramisu in beverage form and you will likely get pretty close to the vibe of a good egg coffee. Just a few minutes of work might make you a believer in egg coffee, as its delicious flavor and texture might make your morning coffee look in need of that oomph.
2. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Noodles with Lemongrass Chicken
Easy enough for midweek meals, and a sensational CHEAP meal idea for large groups! Either cook the chicken in large batches on the BBQ, or even bake them, and put out all the toppings in bowls for people to help themselves!
3. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – The Best Homemade Pho
If you’re sitting there and wondering “what is pho,” it’s a delicate (and delicious) Vietnamese noodle soup, made from beef bones, ginger, onions and lots of aromatic spices. It’s nothing short of soup perfection.
The way all the spices and flavors from star anise, cardamom, fennel seeds and cinnamon come together is incredible and the best part? You can customize; it’s encouraged that you add any and all the condiments you desire to make it your own.
4. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef and Noodle Salad
Yes, this recipe calls for a lot of ingredients, but the prep is simple, and it’s an easy introduction to Vietnam cooking for the uninitiated.
5. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Style Meatballs with Chili Sauce
hey are flavored with fish sauce and soy sauce—two umami-rich condiments commonly used in Vietnamese cooking—along with ginger, lime, spicy Sambal Oelek (not a traditional Vietnamese ingredient, but the spicy, garlicky flavor works so well here), and fresh herbs.
They practically explode with flavor. I love them over rice, but they are also delicious wrapped in lettuce cups or served over rice
noodles. Be judicious with the chili sauce—a little goes a long way.
6. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
These spring rolls are a refreshing change from the usual fried variety, and have become a family favorite. They are great as a cool summertime appetizer, and are delicious dipped in one or both of the sauces.
I like to serve them with homemade peanut sauce for dipping and they make a great light lunch, dinner or appetizer.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m completely obsessed with Vietnamese cuisine and this is a favorite
7. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Chicken with Ginger
8. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)
You can serve this as a salad for a low carb meal or make some rice on the side. This is traditionally served over a bed of watercress which I couldn’t find, so I used an arugula blend instead. Thick soy sauce is traditionally used here, but you can use low sodium soy sauce instead if this is not available to you.
9. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Spicy Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl
To make the prey easier to find, I created a Vietnamese noodle salad recipe to make at home.
10. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe
Baked marinated chicken is one of our favorite weeknight dinners. What’s that – just mix up some spices, soak chicken thighs in it for a half hour, and then stick it in the oven? Sign me up. The more interesting the flavors, the more it’s a miracle that such a straightforward process can result in a delicious dinner. And so it is with this Vietnamese-style baked chicken.
There’s a lot going on in the marinade, but one of the standouts – possibly even the key ingredient – is the anchovy-based Vietnamese fish sauce, or nuoc mam. If you’ve never encountered it, you’ve got a treat ahead of you.
11. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich
Street food is a weakness of mine. When I travel anywhere, it’s the first thing I look for. You can often get a real sense of a country’s (or city’s) culinary clout by what you purchase from a rickety cart on a bustling corner. Look for Madam Khan if you ever travel to Hoi An.
Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe: One of the most vibrant and delicious sandwiches in the world. Loaded with fresh vegetables, grilled meat, and piled high on a french baguette. If you’ve never tried a Banh Mi Sandwich… It’s time.
12. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese-Flavored Broccoli Rabe
13. Vietnamese Broken Rice Com Tam Recipe with Grilled Pork
14. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Tilapia with Turmeric and Dill
15. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Chicken Curry
I love curries and really enjoyed the Vietnamese version of it. Loaded with tender and perfectly cooked chicken, carrots and potatoes, Vietnamese chicken curry is lighter and flavorful, thanks to the ubiquitous fish sauce used in its cooking.
16. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Classic Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
This Vietnamese dipping sauce is so full of flavor and delicious! It's perfectly salty with tons of umami flavor from the fish sauce, it's tangy from the fresh lime juice, and has just the right amount of sweetness.
Also known as Nuoc Cham, this is best described as a fish sauce vinaigrette with shredded carrots that's used widely in Vietnam as a spring roll or summer roll dipping sauce or a vermicelli noodle sauce.
17. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Crepes
Bánh xèo is a quintessential Vietnamese dish and named after the sizzling sounds it makes when the batter hits the smoking hot pan. These Vietnamese crepes are filled with prawns, pork, mung bean, and bean sprouts. The finished crepe is broken up into small pieces, wrapped in lettuce along with fragrant herbs, and dunk in an addicting tangy spicy dipping sauce called Nước Chấm.
18. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese-Style Shrimp Stir-Fry
19. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Belly
Caramelized Pork Belly is in the daily rotation of many Vietnamese families. We call it “thit kho tau” (or just “thit kho” for short). Eggs can also be added to the dish, and then we will call the dish “thit kho trung“. The version with eggs is a must-have in the Lunar New Year feast of Southern Vietnamese people.
20. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Fish Hot Pot (Ca kho to)
21. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese-Inspired Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles
This Vietnamese-Inspired Chicken Salad starts with the tangy, salty, lime-and-garlic-y dressing, which totally shines with the cooling mint cilantro and a handful of fiery-crisp serrano peppers, which all results in me wrapping my fork with a combination of spicy-cool, salty-tangy veggies, chicken, and noodles.
22. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Chicken Rice Porridge – Chao Ga
This is a real one pot winner with only 5 minutes prep – your pressure cooker or instant pot will do the rest! Whether you cook this up as a winter warmer or as a thoughtful gift for a sick friend or family member, this recipe is so versatile.
23. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Egg Meatloaf
Seriously though, it's funny how the quintessential American-style meatloaf has come to represent the sum-total of meatloaf in the Western collective consciousness.
24. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl.
25. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Vietnamese Beef Meatballs
26. Authentic Vietnamese Recipes – Bánh Bò Nướng: Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake
We learned that the most popular and regularly available baking powder in the USA is double-acting, meaning that it has one reaction when mixed with wet ingredients and a second reaction when exposed to heat. Single-acting baking powder only reacts with wet ingredients, so it’s key that you seek it out if you want to make this recipe at home.
Apparently the use of double-acting baking powder will cause a huge, gummy mess. I found Dr. Oetker’s Original Baking Powder at our local Stop & Shop, which is a single-acting, German baking powder.
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