7 Facts You May Not Know About Eating in Vietnam

To sustain life, eating is always the number one important thing. However, the concept and eating habits of people on this issue are completely different, no one is alike. This article lists facts you may not know about eating in Vietnam so that visitors can not be surprised when travel to Vietnam or visiting a family of friends in Vietnam.
7 Facts You May Not Know About Eating in Vietnam
1. Using fresh ingredients
Vietnamese people prefer to use fresh ingredients instead of dry ingredients. They use various herbs, vegetables and spices such as ginger, turmeric, onion, garlic, lemongrass to cook and decorate dishes, and little dairy or oil in cooking. These ingredients are used in harmony with each other to not cause poisoning and bring certain benefits to health. Besides, different kinds of sauce, for example, fish sauce, shrimp paste, or soya sauce, are also added to boost the flavor of the meals.
2. Use chopsticks when eating
This is a popular way of eating for Asians. It is a unique way of eating that mimics the movements of a bird picking up seeds, originating from the habits of eating things that cannot be touched (such as rice, fish, fish sauce...) by Southeast Asian residents. Meanwhile, Westerners have to use tableware consisting of knives, spoons, and plates (to simulate the movements of a tearing beast), each performing a separate function. Vietnamese chopsticks perform in a synthesized and very flexible range of functions: pick and tear, beam, ring, mix, scoop and connect for long arms to grab food away!
3. All dishes are brought at once time
Vietnamese people have no concept of a full-course meal that serves a starter, main course and dessert like that in Western countries. All dishes are served on the table at the same time, and the whole family will gather around and eat together. A typical meal often includes rice, soup, stir-fried or boiled vegetables, and main dishes cooked from meat, fish, egg or tofu. They also present a harmonious combination of broth, meat and vegetables.
4. Rice is regarded as a staple
Vietnam is the second-largest rice exporter in the world. Therefore, it is easy to see that rice is regarded as a staple and plays an integral part in Vietnamese people’s eating habits. Rice is the main ingredient for many dishes and cooking ingredients in Vietnam, including countless cakes from all over the region.

5. The main principle is sharing
Vietnamese people live in groups, so an important principle of dinning is sharing. In Vietnam, all dishes are usually put on a circular tray neatly with a small bowl of fish sauce in the middle. In some families, especially in urban areas, people put the food on the table. And normally, there is a big dish or bowl of each dish and people use chopsticks and spoons to get their food instead of knives and forks as Western people do.

6. People love chatting with each other during meals
Unlike Westerners who have their own meals and avoid talking when eating, Vietnamese people have a habit of organizing meals together and love to talk during meals. They believe that talking will build a strong emotional connection with their friends or among family members.
7. Hosts pick up food for guests
One of the significant features of Vietnamese eating habits is that hosts pick up food for guests. If a guest comes to the house, that meal will be very careful and variedly prepared by the host. The Vietnamese concept of picking up food for guests shows respect and hospitality, also helps guests feel more natural when eating.
Travel guide: How to plan your first trip to Vietnam, Useful Vietnam Travel Tips