One of the greatest advantages of globalization is how easy it has made it for us to understand, appreciate, and connect with different cultures. You can find districts and centers in big cities that are allocated to celebrating other cultures, be it China Town, Korea Town, and so on. One of the best ways you can learn about a culture is to eat their food because the food will always give you the full story.
We are all privileged enough to be able to go out and find any kind of restaurant you need, be it an Indian restaurant, a Malay spot, a Korean BBQ place, etc. A lot of us have been able to try different kinds of cuisines this way, so if you are currently looking for the next new cuisine to try out, then Vietnamese is the way to go.
If you have tried Thai food or happen to like Far East Asian flavors more in general, then the Vietnamese diet might be something for you to appreciate as well. Vietnamese food is a lot like Thai food in the sense that the same ingredients can be found in both cuisines, but the way they are used and taste, in the end, are vastly different.
One of the Mother sauces in Vietnamese food happens to be fish sauce. Now, fish sauce does not sound appealing at first, but we can assure you that you do not get an overwhelming fishy essence that you might be assuming it does. Fish sauce has a delicate, umami flavor profile that can give a very full-bodied feel to otherwise delicate food. Fresh herbs and vegetables like basil, bean sprouts, and chilies, etc. are also used in many Vietnamese dishes.
You will find a bit of French influence when it comes to Vietnamese food, especially if you look into the sandwiches like the Banh Mi, which utilizes a baguette, but at the same time, the pork sandwich also uses a mix of pickled vegetables, making for a delicious treat. One of the greatest things about Vietnamese food is that everything is very well-balanced and healthy. Their food is not overwhelmingly spicy, nor is it heavy. Their diet consists mostly of meat, soups, rice noodles, and other simple meals. This is quite the contrast when you compare their flavors to the kind you would find in Thai food which is a lot more robust, rich, and flavor-forward.
The fact that Vietnamese food is so light is part of the reason why you should give it a shot. Apart from that, another important aspect of Vietnamese food culture is coffee. The Vietnamese are very big on coffee and you will find different variations of coffee being consumed throughout the country, but if you want to keep things simple, you can just try out the plain Vietnamese coffee. This is a concentrated coffee that is sweetened with condensed milk, making for a rich drink that can be consumed both cold and hot depending on your preference.