Overview
Food & Beverage

AN OVERVIEW OF FOOD

Food is any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats, water and/or proteins, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal for nutrition or pleasure. Items considered food may be sourced from plants, animals or other categories such as fungus or fermented products like alcohol. Although many human cultures sought food items through hunting and gathering, today most cultures use farming, ranching, and fishing, with hunting, foraging and other methods of a local nature included but playing a minor role.

Most traditions have a recognizable cuisine, a specific set of cooking traditions, preferences, and practices, the study of which is known as gastronomy. Many cultures have diversified their foods by means of preparation, cooking methods and manufacturing. This also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to economically survive by-way-of food, not just by consumption.

Many cultures study the dietary analysis of food habits. While humans are omnivores, religion and social constructs such as morality often affect which foods they will consume. Food safety is also a concern with food borne illness claiming many lives each year. In many languages, food is often used metaphorically or figuratively, as in "food for thought".

Vietnamese cuisine can be basically divided into three categories, each pertaining to a specific region. With North Vietnam being the cradle of Vietnamese civilization, many of Vietnam's most famous dishes (such as pho) have their birthplace in the North. The North's cuisine is more traditional and more strict in choosing spiciness and ingredients. The South's cuisine has been influenced by the cuisines of southern Chinese immigrants, and thus Southerners prefer sweet flavors in many dishes. As a new land the South's cuisine is more exotic and liberal, using many herbs. Central Vietnamese cooking is quite different from the cuisines of both the Northern and Southern regions in its use of many small side dishes, and also its distinct spiciness when compared to its counterparts.

Meats such as snake, soft-shell turtle, and goat are enjoyed almost exclusively as "cocktail delicacies" with alcohol, and are not considered typical everyday fare. However, dog meat consumption is more widespread in the North, where it is considered a borderline mainstream meat, although not eaten nearly as often as pork or fish.[1] While it can be found, dog meat is harder to find in the larger cities, and tourists may not always see it.

“Hot vit lon” is a fertilized duck egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It's typically served with fresh herbs (rau ram or Vietnamese coriander), salt, and pepper; lime juice is another popular additive, when available.

Outside of its country of origin, Vietnamese cuisine is widely available in Australia, United States, Canada, France, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, and Russia, and is also popular in areas with dense Asian populations.

In recent years it has become popular in other Asian countries such as South Korea, Laos, Thailand, etc.

Certain dishes which have become trademarks of Vietnamese cuisine include Pho, Bun, Banh Mi, and Goi Cuon.