How to Make the Perfect Vietnamese Dinner Party

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ready to eat - Vietnamese beef noodle soup www.compassandfork.comOur Vietnamese Dinner Party features fresh spring rolls, pho, Vietnamese eggplant, five spice grilled pork and exotic fruits. Great dinner party ideas here.

Vietnamese food is a little different to its neighbors, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and China. Although there are definite influences, particularly in northern Vietnam, where it is cooler and more mountainous.

In this part of the country, there are more hill tribe cultures, many of whom migrated from Laos and Thailand. Here the old ways have survived and it is reflected in dress and in the food. Add to this the stronger political influence of China in this part of Vietnam and it is easy to see why there are more curries, soups and the use of more traditional Chinese ingredients like five spice powder.

Village girls - How to make the perfect Vietnamese dinner party www.compassandfork.comIn southern Vietnam, there are more salads, lighter soups and maybe more vegetables and herbs used in their cooking. In this part of Vietnam, the emphasis is on lighter foods.

Rather than being spicy hot, the food is herbaceous in nature. There is still heat found in the food but rather than being in curries it is more often found in salads. Vietnamese salads can be “hot” but they mellow with sweetness from sugar and other ingredients. They can also contain 4 or 5 different herbs, as well as grated or julienned vegetables. They are a taste and color sensation!

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Incense - How to make the perfect Vietnamese dinner party www.compassandfork.comAnd as we have mentioned in our Asian Cooking Essentials Guide, meat or fish is not the dominant ingredient in Vietnamese cooking. (Subscribe using the form at the bottom or side of this article to download your free copy.)

Meat or fish is an ingredient like any other and would typically make up 10% to 20% of the meal, with fresh vegetables and herbs making up the remainder. This is not just cost-related, it is cultural as well. Vietnamese people eat a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, with herbs being just as important as the vegetables. Given the health benefits of herbs, maybe they on to something there.

The French Legacy

At one stage and for many decades, France controlled not only Vietnam, but neighbors Laos and Cambodia as well.

The legacy of this, was the introduction to Vietnam of cattle (bred for beef production rather than being a beast of burden) baguettes, croissants, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce. The use of these ingredients is very widespread throughout Vietnam and particularly in the Mekong Delta food bowl.

The French legacy was not just around food either, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi both contain magnificent examples of French architecture, attractive boulevards and a well planned city grid.

Alcohol In Vietnam

In our dinner party posts, we normally feature wines of the country and encourage our readers to try wines to accompany the meals. Turkey, Italy and Patagonia have well-established wine cultures going back hundreds of years. Well Vietnam is not a great wine country. There are a few wineries in Vietnam and we did taste one local variety. It was OK but, as you would expect, not of the quality of established wine countries.

Harbor in Hoi An A town full of fantastic delights www.compassandfork.comSpirits are available everywhere but at a high price, especially anything imported. The exception to this is rice whiskey. Locally made in many villages, it is naturally cheaper than imported spirits. Our favorite day in Vietnam involved drinking rice whiskey in the home of a local Mai Chau couple. Full of laughter and communicating through a translator we had a great day. So the rice whiskey played a big part in that afternoon.

Apart from rice whiskey, the locals drink beer. A cold beer or two goes well in that climate! And the beer is good. Here is an article nominating the Top 10 Vietnamese beers. We tried most of these and our favorites were Bia Hanoi and 333. So I would say this article has it right. Another great beer, freely available in Vietnam, is Beer Lao. Brewed in Laos, this beer wins my award for the best brewed beer in Indo-China. It comes in “Lager” style, “Gold” style and “Dark” style. The dark in particular, is delicious.

Beer Lao and Vietnamese beers are freely available in better liquor stores. Seek them out, they’re good! If you are unable to find something Vietnamese try it with your favorite pale ale or lager. For wine drinkers a nice Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir or other lighter red wine would go well.

Do try to find some of the beer recommendations or rice whiskey if you can find it. Better liquor stores stock Vietnamese beer and some stock Beer Lao.

With drinks covered, it is time to turn our attention to food and our Vietnamese Dinner Party.

FREE PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST


All the specialty ingredients you need to make the Vietnamese recipes on Compass & Fork on one handy printable shopping list.

Compass & Fork Vietnamese Dinner Party Menu

Vietnamese cuisine is one of the many reasons to visit Vietnam. In sticking with tradition, our last food post for a country is a dinner party. Fresh, easy, and healthy to make Compass & Fork features 8 Vietnamese recipe posts from Vietnam. This is a little more than we normally feature from a country. So, this speaks volumes for the popularity of Vietnamese food.

We hope you find this Vietnamese dinner menu useful. And, here is a hint the Vietnamese eggplant is the star of the show here. You don’t need a claypot to cook it.

For your convenience we have created a complete Vietnamese dinner party menu for easy entertaining at home. Click on the recipe name or picture to access the recipe.

Vietnamese Dinner Party Menu

STARTERS
Fresh Spring Rolls

How to Make the Perfect Vietnamese Dinner Party www.compassandfork.com

Beef Noodle Pho

How to Make the Perfect Vietnamese Dinner Party www.compassandfork.com

ENTREE (MAIN COURSE)

Vietnamese Eggplant Claypot

How to Make the Perfect Vietnamese Dinner Party www.compassandfork.com

Five Spice Grilled Pork

How to Make the Perfect Vietnamese Dinner Party www.compassandfork.com

serve both entrees (mains) with steamed rice

DESSERT

We didn’t feature any desserts from Vietnam, but finishing a meal with refreshing fruits is common. Try sweet mangoes, papaya, dragon fruit, exotic-looking rambutans and pineapple.

COFFEE

Vietnamese Coffee

How to Make the Perfect Vietnamese Dinner Party www.compassandfork.com

We feature a dinner party from each destination we focus on in Compass & Fork. Other dinner parties include:

Italian Dinner Party menu

Turkish Dinner Party menu

Patagonian Dinner Party menu

Thai Banquet Menu

Peruvian Dinner Party

Australian Dinner Party

Greek Dinner Party Menu

We hope you enjoy our Vietnamese Dinner Party. If you would like to save the Perfect Vietnamese Dinner Party for later, please use the Pin It button at the bottom of this post.

FREE PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST


All the specialty ingredients you need to make the Vietnamese recipes on Compass & Fork on one handy printable shopping list.

 

 

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How to make the perfect Vietnamese dinner party
How to make the perfect Vietnamese dinner party
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2 Responses

  1. Ann | Created To Cook
    | Reply

    Hi Mark!
    Thanks for another GREAT post. I just Love all of the great I formation you share. I had no idea that beef (for eating) was brought over by the French… So interesting. And I’ll definitely be seeking out some of those beers you mentioned the next time I have friends over for a Goi Cuon (Spring Roll) party.

    • Editor
      |

      Good on you Ann, thanks so much for your comment. The beers were good all right. Mainly light in style, lots of lagers, to suit that hot/humid climate. We have a lot to thank the French for in terms of the modern Vietnamese cuisine. Cheers….Mark

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