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Ask the chef

by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford

Vietnamese cuisine can be divided into three distinctive regional cuisines: southern, central, and northern. You'll most likely have eaten southern-style food, with its wide variety of fresh herbs and complex tropical flavors. Food from the center tends to have more chile heat; shrimp paste is also used extensively. As you move north, the food has more of a Chinese feel, with greater use of preserved vegetables, tree fungus, and dried mushrooms, and fewer fresh herbs and greens. There are more stir fries, and black pepper is used instead of chiles. People from the north will tell you southern food is flamboyant and unsubtle, while those from the south say northern food lacks taste and freshness. We find it all delicious.

Excerpted from"Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Handbook," by Moon Publications, Inc.

What to Eat
Menu Guide
Vietnamese recipes:
from Kate's Global Kitchen
From Moon Cakes to Pancakes
Vietnamese Meals in Minutes
More Vietnamese recipes:
Bun Ho (Beef with Rice Noodles)
Cha Gio (Crispy Spring Rolls)
Nuoc Cham (Chili, Garlic & Fish Sauce)
Vietnam: Main Page
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