Vietnamese food wins 5 world records
Healthy, flavorful, and history-packed, Vietnamese food has quickly grown in popularity among food lovers all over the world in recent years. Apart from phở and bánh mì, which are unfailingly ranked among the world’s most popular Asian dishes, Vietnam also has many other dishes made from a variety of special ingredients.
In recognition of Vietnam’s rich culinary heritage, on 31st August, the World Record Union also known as WorldKings has awarded Vietnam’s food five culinary world records.
The most strand-and-broth, or noodle broth, dishes in the world
Crab meat noodle soup (Bún riêu)
Image credit: Trung Bui
So far, Vietnam has about 164 dishes made from noodles and broth – yes, somebody actually counted. The most notable ones include phở, Cambodian noodle soup (hủ tiếu) and rice vermicelli soup (bún).
Rice vermicelli and roasted pork (Bún chả)
Image credit: Sharon Chen
Despite being commonly made of noodles and broth, the broth flavors, strand textures, toppings, as well as recipes in these 164 dishes vary significantly across different parts of Vietnam.
Rice vermicelli with snails (bún ốc)
Image adapted from: Huong Pham
The diversity of these Vietnamese noodle and broth dishes makes it difficult for diners to get bored, as there’s always something new to try.
The most kinds of Mắm (fish sauce) and Mắm-related dishes
Image credit: Văn học nguồn cội WordPress
Fish sauce is a fermented sauce distilled from fish and salt. Deemed as Vietnam’s simplest yet most multi-purpose national cuisine, it’s an indispensable condiment in every Vietnamese household. It can be used directly as a dipping sauce, as well as for marinating or braising.
For simple eaters or inexperienced cooks, fried rice mixed with a few spoons of fish sauce is sufficient for a savory and tasty meal.
When serving Saigonese broken rice, fish sauce is poured all over the rice, meat, and eggs
Image credit: Hướng Nghiệp Á Âu
Depending on the dishes, fish sauce can also be mixed with a variety of condiments such as ginger, garlic, and vinegar for a more layered taste when used as a dressing.
To discerning foodies, fish sauce mixing techniques also make or break dishes that rely heavily on it, such as Hanoian roasted pork noodles (bún chả), Saigonese broken rice meals (cơm tấm), rice noodles with fermented fish sauce (bún đậu mắm tôm), and spring rolls.
A bowl of dipping sauce can make or break the bún chả dish
Image credit: Hướng Nghiệp Á Âu
Fish sauce flavors vary among Vietnam’s different regions, depending on the types of fishes available, the sources of salt, fermentation quality, and protein level.
That is why there are many villages across Vietnam, such as in Phu Quoc, Tam Thanh, and Da Nang, where distinctive fish sauce flavors are produced according to traditional techniques.
A fish sauce-making village
Image credit: Vietnam Ministry of Culture
So far, Vietnam has about 100 types of fish sauces and dishes made with them.
The most dishes made from flowers
Mountain ebony flowers that can also be used in cooking
Image adapted from: Samac Xanh
Vietnam is reportedly also the cradle of 272 dishes made from 43 different flowers. Aside from food plating, Vietnamese cooks use flowers as cooking ingredients to produce nutritious dishes.
The use of flowers in cooking differ among different parts of Vietnam where climates and biodiversity vary.
Mountain ebony salad
Image adapted from: VOV
Mountain ebony, which is common in Vietnam’s northwestern region, can be used to make sour and sweet salads, sticky rice, or stuffing in fishes or roasted chicken for extra aroma. The astringent and antibacterial properties found in this flower help to boost memory and beautify skin.
Image adapted from: VOV – Vietnam Journey
As winter nears, buckwheat flowers bloom in Ha Giang, a province in the north of Vietnam. After harvesting, the flower seeds will be dried and later used to ferment the fabled Hong Mi wine. The seeds can also be ground into flour, then mixed with water to make milky round buckwheat pies.
Tonkin creeper stir-fried with chicken organs
Image credit: Cookpad – Vân Đạm Phong Khinh
One of the most popular cooking ingredients in every Northern household during Autumn must be the tonkin creeper, a flowering plant which is usually stir-fried as a mildly sweet vegetable dish or cooked with crab soup.
The most kinds of special rolls in the world
The English language obviously does not do Vietnamese cuisine enough justice, as there’s only one term in English to sum up Vietnam’s 103 different types of rolls – spring rolls.
Image credit: @pe_audi
Spring rolls (món cuốn) is one of the most ordered dishes among travellers on their first trips to Vietnam, aside from banh mi and pho. From fresh rolls to steamed pho rolls to deep-fried rolls, almost every region of Vietnam can offer you a different type of spring roll. Ingredients for these rolls normally include shrimps, crab meat, minced meat, and vegetables.
Image credit: @tranggh.tr
These rolls are always served with a bowl of dipping sauce, which is also a stand-alone work of art itself. Depending on the cook’s technique, dipping sauce for these rolls can be as simple as a combination of mayonnaise and chili sauce, peanut sauce, or fish sauce mixed with garlic and ginger.
If you are overwhelmed with spring roll choices, start by trying the fresh or steamed rolls in the summer for a low-calorie and juicy meal, and deep-fried rolls in winter for a crunchy and tasty bite.
The world’s most dishes made from rice flour
Steamed pancakes (bánh bèo)
Image credit: @magspie08
Inexpensive and versatile, rice flour can be used to produce a wide array of delicious dishes, from steamed pancakes (bánh bèo) to hollow donuts (bánh tiêu).
Across Vietnam and its diverse ethnic groups, there are over 143 dishes made from rice flour using various recipes.
Glutinous rice cake (bánh chưng)
Image credit: @khanh.b.b
For boiling dishes, glutinous rice cake (bánh chưng) and banana leaf-wrapped tubes of sticky rice cake and red beans (bánh tét) are national festive treats usually cooked during the Lunar New Year.
Steamed rice rolls sprinkled with fried shallots (bánh cuốn)
Image credit: @magspie08
Pancake wrappers (bánh ướt) and steamed rice rolls (bánh cuốn) are some of the most popular choices of breakfast dishes in the South and the North, respectively.
Crispy dumplings (bánh quai vạc)
Image credit: @huynh_ninh
For mid-day snacks, people love to munch on deep-fried and roasted options such as rice paper sheets (bánh tráng nướng), crisp dumplings (bánh quai vạc), and sliced rice flour cakes (bột chiên).
Vietnam wins 5 world culinary records
Besides bánh mì and phở, Vietnam is also home to a multitude of meticulously cooked, delicious, and healthy dishes made from simple yet nutritious ingredients.
It’s a great pleasure to see Vietnam increasingly gaining international recognition for its impressive food culture, as well as more people promoting our culinary heritage to the world.
Also check out:
- 11 types of banh mi in Saigon every foodie should check out
- Lunch Lady Saigon is now available in Vancouver, Canada
- 10 Vietnamese cooking channels on Youtube to subscribe to
- 11 Vietnamese street delicacies in Saigon to explore