Culinary Traditions of Indochina – What to Eat on Your Vietnam Cambodia Laos Tour
Vietnam is famous for its mouthwatering noodle soup (pho), spring rolls and unparalleled use of spices and herbs, while the cuisine of Laos and Cambodia is hardly less delicious! Your Vietnam Cambodia Laos travel experience won’t be complete without getting beneath the surface and exploring culinary traditions of Indochina.
Whether it’s a bowl of pho or fried spring rolls, the chances are most people have tried Vietnamese cuisine at some point in their lives. If, however, you haven’t, get ready for a delicious culinary experience! In general, Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its fragrant blend of smells and tastes, with soy sauce, shrimp paste and fish sauce commonly combined with a variety of fresh flavors such as coriander, basil, lime, lemongrass, mint and ginger, in addition to the spicy cinnamon and chilli. Although there are some regional differences in Vietnamese meals, they share some fundamental features. You can expect food to be served as fresh as possible (even meats is briefly cooked in order not to lose their original color and texture). Herbs are often abundantly used and they present essential to most Vietnamese dishes. Soup-based dishes and broths, such as pho, Vietnamese noodle soup, are common across all the regions of Vietnam.
In Cambodia, make sure you try its famous traditional dish – amok: a curry soup cooked in banana leaves usually served with rice and fish. In general, rice is a staple of the diet of most Cambodians and it’s a part of every meal, whether as a side dish, a dessert, a soup or a porridge. Fresh herbs, such as ginger and lemongrass are inevitable part of Khmer cuisine, too, as well as kroeung ( a paste blended from several spices: ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom) and fermented fish paste called prahok. Cambodian meal tends to consist of at least three dishes, typically including a soup.
When it comes to Laos, the staple dish of this country is arguably sticky rice. In fact, it’s consumed here more than anywhere else in the world and Lao people see themselves as “kids of sticky rice”. A typical Lao meal consists of several dishes served all at once: a grilled dish, a soup dish, a sauce, a mixed dish or a stew and vegetables. It’s usually served at room temperature and expect it to be rather dry, since it’s intended to be eaten by hand. The signature dish of Laos is larb (laap), a dish that consists of spicy fish/meat, minced and flavored with fish sauce and topped with herbs and rice (toasted). Larb is, of course, served with sticky rice.