Vietnamese people traditionally have a exaggerate dining process and completely different from Westerner. There are 3 meals a day including: breakfast, lunch and dinner. The diversity of a chef’s palate in tropical Vietnam — with its many herbs, spices, and fruit that just falls from the trees — makes for some great dining adventures. Below is a short primer in some of the basic dishes. Dine out with locals wherever possible. Even if you foot the bill for the whole table, the cost is still a pittance. Dining Etiquette of Vietnamese people is listed below
Vietnamese usually have breakfast, lunch and dinner without tea or coffee break in between. Because most Vietnamese are early risers, breakfast is eaten before 9, though many restaurants serve breakfast until much later. Foods for breakfast are as diverse as you can imagine. Some of the most popular are the “notorious” pho- noodle soup; baguette stuffed with pate, BBQ pork and veggies; rice congee with minced pork; Bánh Cuốn (rice crepes); Xôi (sticky rice). Contrary to the Western diet, breakfasts in Vietnam involves more salt than sugar.
Lunch is served from 12-1 p.m. Most office workers have their lunch at one of the com bui store where they can choose a main dish – fish, beef, pork, chicken or tofu with side vegetables and steamed rice. Some others order lunch box from a nearby restaurant if they want to avoid the heat and traffic. Lunch in Vietnam is quick yet does not lack any nutrients.
VIETNAMESE DAILY FOOD
Dinner is the main meal where family gathers and reports back their day. Women are usually responsible for preparing the meal, with or without the help of their mother or daughters. Some better-off family has a dining table while the rest, though you may find it bizarre, have dinner on the ground floor. It is Vietnamese tradition to share food while eating. As a result, the whole family circumvents a tray of food, each with a bowl of rice and taking food from the common dish. Dinner food usually includes one or two main dishes such as stewed pork, steamed chicken or fried fish; one dish of boiled or stir-fried vegetable and one bowl of broth. Steamed rice is considered inevitable in most meal.
Eating out was not a habit of Vietnamese until recently and nowadays, it is popular in cities and better off family only. Eating out used to take place on the occasion of daddy receiving salary, or family celebrating an achievement or weekend getaway. However, as modern life leads to lesser time and interest for cooking, eating out is on the sharp increase.
• When dining, it is polite gesture to pass all dishes using both hands.
• Place your chopsticks on the designated chopsticks holder when taking a break to drink or to speak. It is a sign of disrespect to stick your chopsticks vertically in the middle of the rice bowl.
• It is customary for Vietnamese to hold rice bowls close to their faces while dining.
• Never eat directly from the serving dish.
• Hold the spoon in your left hand while consuming soup.
• It is acceptable to ask for forks to avoid embarrassment. However, make sure to confess about your inadequacy before doing so.
• Try every dish that is served before obtaining more of your favorite ones.
• Do not consume only meat, as it is the most expensive ingredient of the meal. It is courteous to leave some for others. Meals are usually served family style.
• Remember to finish the food put on your plate. This shows respect for the cook and is not wasteful.
• It is considered rude to turn down any food offerings despite being full. To maintain politeness, inform the host that you are full prior to being offered another dish.
• When you are done eating, place your chopsticks on top of your rice bowl.
• Meals are slow, friendly affairs surrounding a banquet, usually on the floor, with everyone sitting
• In a circle. Courses come out of the kitchen in succession, and don’t expect to get away with just eating like a bird — mom or grandma is sure to be a full-on food pusher and it’s hard to say no (once a friendly host just kept filling small bowls and shoving them my way).
• Expect lots of comings and goings and lively discussion. Shared dishes are picked up with either chopsticks or forks and eaten in a small hand-size bowl. It’s alright to sip or slurp from the bowl, and shovel the last bits of a meal using your chopsticks.
When invited by some locals for a meal, it is advisable to bring gifts. Gifts can come in the form of flowers, pastries, or fruits and must be wrapped in very colorful packaging. Avoid giving things that are black, hankies and flowers that are color yellow.
The first thing to remember is that one must wait to be shown where to sit in the dining table. There are positions in the dining table that are allocated to different people based on significance to the family, stature, and age. The oldest person in the group or in the family is the one who is seated first. Guests must wait, likewise, for the oldest person to eat first because this is a sign of respect.
Vietnamese style of dining is similar to other Asian countries. Different dishes are placed in the center of the table and each person must help himself or herself to a serving. This is why it is important to be careful with the use of chopsticks as mentioned earlier.
During the meal, make sure to pass dishes to another person using both hands. When getting a serving of food, place the portion in a bowl or on a plate. If eating from a bowl, lift the bowl close to your face and not let it sit on top of the dining table as this will be considered an act of laziness.
There will be times when the host of the dinner will serve you food either on your bowl or on your plate. Make sure to finish everything to make your host feel that you are satisfied with the meal. If had enough, you politely decline more food by covering your bowl. If you like a particular dish then you can ask for a second serving. This would simply mean that you like the food so much. Never waste food and make sure to finish everything in your bowl or on your plate. You will be able to convey that you are full and one eating by placing both chopsticks on top of your rice bowl.
Do not be surprised if in a group that is dining out, the men are the ones who are served first. Women should understand that this is part of the Vietnamese culture. It is also common for diners to position both arms on the table unlike in Western countries. This is because meals are eaten using chopsticks and the bowl must be held in one hand while the other hand holds the chopsticks.
Once you are done eating, you would have to approach the person tending the cash register to ask for your bill so that you can pay for your meal. The Vietnamese feel that it is rude to bring the check to the guests’ table.
Keep dining etiquette of Vietnamese people in mind and you will surely have a pleasant and satisfying experience dining in Vietnam.