Although Asian cuisine has been around for thousands of years, its diversity has only recently begun to be fully appreciated in the West. Until now, Vietnamese cuisine has been one of Asia’s best kept culinary secrets.
During the occupations of Indochina by the Chinese and French, Vietnamese cuisine adapted culinary influences from a variety of cultures. Yet it has managed to maintain a unique culinary experience all its own.
Vietnamese chefs pride themselves on the light, refreshing, healthy qualities of their foods: simmered and steamed dishes are among the most popular while oil and cornstarch-laden sauces are virtually unseen. Vietnamese chefs desire to create dishes that are as fat-free as possible so they use vegetable oil instead of lard for frying. Stir-fried dishes are prepared with an absolute minimum of oil.
Vietnamese foods are, therefore, well-suited to the health and diet-conscious diner. Vietnamese cuisine further sets itself apart from other Asian countries in its extensive use of fresh leaves and herbs.