Whenever you stay in a local home during your travels, one of the highlights is tasting local specialities. In a Duara village the biggest perk is not just eating like locals, but learning how to cook like locals. All of our destinations have a characteristic kitchen, but Vietnam above all has a very distinct food culture influenced by its neighbouring countries.
In a Duara village the biggest perk is not just eating like locals, but learning how to cook like locals.
Due to the Buddhist philosophy vegetarianism has long roots in Vietnam. Also Chinese philosophy and the idea of complementing energies of yin and yang have have left a mark in Vietnamese kitchen. Some spices are seen as heating yang, whereas fish and sour ingredients are seen as cooling yin.
Although Vietnamese kitchen varies and North, Central and South Vietnam have their own styles, there are certain principles, which Vietnamese cooking tends to follow everywhere. Soups are very common. Many herbs and vegetables are used.
A certain lightness is typical to Vietnamese food. You will notice! The textures of food are various and used in harmony: crispy along with smooth or something crunchy with watery for example. In addition food is colorful and often arranged very nicely. All ingredients are used as fresh as possible. Some might be from home garden even. During your Duara stay you will get a chance to visit the local market with your host family and see where the food comes from.
Here are some famous examples in Vietnamese cuisine that you can learn to cook while staying in the village:
Vietnamese summer rolls
This might be the first thing that comes to your mind about Vietnamese kitchen. Filled with herbs and wrapped in ricepaper these rolls are so much lighter than any grease boiled snacks. Variations are many but basic elements are vegetables, prawns and herbs such as mint, basil or coriander. Dipped in a sauce as per chef.
Pho soup is becoming a hit outside of Vietnam too. It is a noodle soup, which is made of broth, rice noodles, herbs and chicken or beef meat. Hanoi and Saigon have their own styles of pho, different in noodle style, sweetness and herbs – go try out which one you like more!
Bánh mì is a product of French influence in the Vietnamese kitchen. It’s an interesting mix of cultures, where a baguette made of wheat flour along with rice flour is filled with ingredients that make it at once spicy, salty, sour, savory and sweet. Bánh mì contains usually something along the lines of roast chicken or pork, homemade pâté, a mix of pickled daikon radish and carrot, cucumber and chili pepper, a generous sprinkling of cilantro leaves and mayonnaise.
Although Vietnam is traditionally a tea drinking nation, coffee has an important role in Vietnam. In fact Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter in the world after Brazil! Vietnamese coffee is an experience as such: it is filtered at the table straight into the cup and comes in many variations. You can drink coffee together with egg yolk, with yoghurt or as a smoothie. Typically it is drank with sweet conceded milk. Add ice and coconut milk and you have a modern international version, which is becoming a hit especially with vegans.
During your Duara stay you will get a chance to visit the local market with your host family and see where the food comes from.
Vietnamese kitchen is becoming trendy these days, to try out the original food culture, book a stay with Duara in a local home!
Photos by Duara and our travellers Susan and Joni. Main image: Hiep Nguyen / Unsplash