Friday, August 10, 2012

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Vietnamese Street Food

Imagine this:
    [It’s summer and you just took the first flight out to Vietnam, and now here you are in (Name your City), Vietnam. It’s early morning and the city streets are already filled with traffic, swarms of mopeds, people, and cars. Up and down the busy sidelines small vendors begin to set up their stalls, chairs, tables, and open up their ‘kitchen’ offering portable dishes to the every passerby. The mixed aroma of noodles, rice, cakes, marinated meats in baguettes, sweets and deserts, along with the infinite mouth-watering ingredients give your sense a rude awakening.]

Welcome to Vietnam & welcome to the wonderful world of street food. Now when we coin the word ‘street food’ we are actually referring to the ethnic foods you see freshly chopped and cooked right in front of your eyes or as some refer it ‘food you eat off the street’. For foreign travelers, the sight of ‘street food’ arises curiosity and the common reaction, ‘it’s look good, but is it safe.’ The best way to overcome this is simply believing that  a trip to Vietnam is not complete without tasting the street food! So close your eyes and take a bite, it’s a taste of culture!
Many iconic Vietnamese foods are street foods, here are the common ones:

Vietnamese Spring Rolls: Cha Gio

Vietnamese Spring Rolls: Cha Gio
Photography: Su-Lin
Start of your journey of the simple and traditional Vietnamese Spring Rolls. This all-time favorite food is made with rice paper, meat of your choice (chicken, beef, shrimp), and noodles. Bursting with fresh vegetable and garden herbs – you will fall for it’s rich taste fast!

Steamed rice cakes: Banh Cuon

Steamed rice cakes: Banh Cuon
Photography: NguyenDong
In the mood for a good variety mix? Get in the groove for some Banh Cuon, a morning favorite among Vietnamese. Banh Cuon is made of rice soaked overnight and then mortared into flour. The dish is dressed with lean meat, shrimps, mushrooms, dried onions, and crushed pepper, but it not complete with the sweet, sour, and spicy fish sauce.

Sugar Cane Juice: Nuoc Mia

Sugar Cane Juice: Nuoc Mia
Freshen up with a fresh squeezed drink made of pressed sugar cane stalk. There’s nothing better than a naturally sweet and processed drink on a hot sunny day! So give it a shot stop by the drink vendor and grab your Nuoc Mia! It’s as low as 3000D (less than a quarter!).

Bread with deep fried fish patty: Banh mi cha ca

Bread with deep fried fish patty: Banh mi cha ca
Photography: PlaysWithFood
You can’t say you’ve had a proper fried fish patty sandwich if you haven’t tried it fresh of the streets of Vietnam. The crusty bun is stuffed with herbs, chili, peper, cucumber, and hot fried fish patty. Scallion are a common additional ingredient. Every bit is a plethora of to-die-for flavors rich enough to say it’s a steal for only 10,000 d.
Greg Drescher, Director of Education for the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone offered some tips on choosing where to stop and eat. “Ask the locals, the concierge at your hotel or a taxi driver which vendors seem to do a lot of business. If it’s a popular stall, the food is more likely to move quickly and be freshly prepared.” In the end of it all just remember one thing, your Vietnam trip is not complete without tasting ‘street food.’
Questions or Comments: Share us your experience and knowledge with Vietnamese ‘street food’ with us and other readers by leaving a note below!

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