There are many differences between Northern and Southern Vietnamese cuisine, the most notable being the use of fresh herbs and vegetables in Northern Vietnamese cuisine versus soy sauce and fish sauce in Southern Vietnamese cuisine. Another difference is that Northern Vietnamese cuisine is typically less spicy than Southern Vietnamese cuisine. However, despite these differences, there are also many similarities between the two cuisines, such as the use of rice as a staple food.
photo: Anna Tarazevich
Northern Vietnamese cuisine is characterized by its use of fresh herbs and vegetables. This is due to the climate in Northern Vietnam, which is cooler than Southern Vietnam and thus conducive to growing these types of ingredients. Northern Vietnamese cuisine also typically uses less soy sauce and fish sauce than Southern Vietnamese cuisine. This is because the cooler climate in Northern Vietnam means that these ingredients are not as readily available. As a result, Northern Vietnamese cuisine often has a lighter flavor than Southern Vietnamese cuisine.
photo: Jer Chung
Southern Vietnamese cuisine, on the other hand, is characterized by its use of soy sauce and fish sauce. This is because the warmer climate in Southern Vietnam is ideal for producing these ingredients. Southern Vietnamese cuisine also typically uses more spices than Northern Vietnamese cuisine. This is because the spicier flavors are more suited to the warmer climate. However, despite these differences, Southern Vietnamese cuisine still relies heavily on rice as a staple food.
Some dishes that represent Northern Vietnamese cuisine include Pho (a noodle soup with beef or chicken), Bun Cha (grilled pork with rice noodles), and Goi Cuon (spring rolls). Southern Vietnamese cuisine, on the other hand, is represented by dishes such as Banh Mi (a sandwich filled with meats and pickled vegetables), Cao Lau (a noodle dish with pork and vegetables), and Cha Ca La Vong (fried fish with turmeric and dill). Despite these differences, the two cuisines share many similarities, such as the use of rice as a staple food.
photo: Pew Nguyen
There are many differences between Northern and Southern Vietnamese cuisine, but the best way to experience them is to try them for yourself! The dishes we’ve listed represent just a small sampling of what each type of cuisine has to offer. So why not head over to your favorite Vietnamese restaurant and give them a try? You won’t be disappointed!