Pho noodle soup is the national dish, though it’s thought to have originated in the country’s capital, Hanoi which has a milder cuisine than cities in the South: black pepper replaces southern chillies, green herbs replace the tropical spices, and long grain rice is used instead of the southern round grain.
Bánh mì baguettes, asparagus, pâtés and red wine reductions – introduced to the country’s cuisine under French occupation.
The food in Vietnam’s Central region is notoriously spicy and impeccably served, influenced by the legacy of the imperial city of Huế, where food was carved into intricate shapes to impress the Nguyễn emperors. Food is still served in lots of small dishes round in central Vietnam, to resemble the royals’ laden tables, but in North and South Vietnam diners tend to help themselves from a communal bowl in the centre of the table.
Secrets of the Red Lantern has some great, authentic recipes, with Luke Nguyen’s Indochine focusing specifically on French-Vietnamese cuisine.