Teaching Vietnamese Cooking



  • Guests will learn about the importance of fish sauce
  • Guests will learn how to make Vietnamese recipes with pork, chicken, beef or vegetarian
  • Guests will design and develop their own Vietnamese version
  • This works for guest pre and post visit to Vietnam



  • Chef to do introduction about fire exit, hand washing, apron and toilet facility to guests. Please repeat the objective above.
  • Chef to do demonstration the fish sauce by making dipping sauce
  • Chef then to distribute meats, vegggie and spice.
  • Chef to explain the meats, vegetables then season and mix
  • Chef to explain safe knife cutting technique.
  • Chef to chop the vegetable and spices 
  • Chef to ask the guests to clean up their station then cooking
  • When guest finish you can ask them to clean up, wash hand and get ready to eat their creation.
  • Chef to finish off with dessert or other dishes.
  • Guest can take the left over home in take away container.
  • Clean up - guests to stack the steamer to end of the tables. Chef to get a buckets so guests can stack dishes in. Aprons to be in the bin for wash later.
  • Chef to clean up the kitchen bench and wipe all the bottles and get ready for next class if require.
  • If there is a helper he or she will do the dishes and top up essential - napkin, paper tea towel and water.



  • 10 min introduction
  • 20 min to make the fish sauce + other sauce
  • 20 min to make the first recipe and desert.
  • 20 min to make the 2nd recipe
  • 20 min to make the 3nd recipe
  • 10 min to cook the food
  • 10 min to eat the food
  • 10 to cook the 2nd or 3rd dish
  • 20 min to eat them and dessert
  • 10 min to clean up
  • Total 3 hour class with one hour Victoria street food tour optional




Vietnamese food features a combination of five fundamental tastes in the overall meal. Each dish has a distinctive flavour which reflects one or more of these elements. Vietnamese cooking mainly use fresh ingredients, less fat, full of textures and generous use of herbs and vegetables. Balance between herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.

Vietnamese cuisines are not known for ingredients with top quality, but rather for the very inexpensive and simple scraps that are creatively mixed together to create dishes with bold flavor. A traditional southern Vietnamese meal usually includes cơm trắng (plain white rice), cá kho tộ (catfish in a clay pot), canh chua cá lóc (sour soup with snakehead fish), and it would be incomplete without fish sauce served as a condiment. Dishes are prepared less with appearance in mind, but are served family style to bring everyone together after a long day of work.

Despite being a small country in Southeast Asia, the foods from each region in Vietnam carry their distinctive and unique characteristics that reflect the geographical and living conditions of the people there. The traditional southern Vietnamese meal is made up of fresh ingredients that only the fertile Mekong Delta could provide, such as cá lóc, and a wide range of tropical fruit like mangosteen, mango, and dragon fruit.The southern style diet is very 'green', with vegetables, fish and tropical fruits as the main ingredients.

Central Vietnam is the region in which food is prepared with the strongest, boldest flavors. This region is constantly under harsh weather conditions all throughout the year, so people there do not have as many green ingredients as others do in the north and south of Vietnam. Instead, the coastline around the central Vietnam area is known for its salt and fish sauce industries; these two condiments are central to their daily diets.

Northern Vietnamese cuisine has a strong Chinese influence, and its iconic dish is phở. While rice is a staple in the southern Vietnamese diet, the north has a preference for noodles. Due to the drastic differences in climate and lifestyles throughout the three main regions of Vietnam, the foods vary. Northern Vietnamese cooking is the least bold in flavor compared to the foods from central and southern Vietnam.

Common ingredients

Fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird's eye chili, lime, and Thai basil leaves.

Nước mắm (fish sauce) is the most commonly used and iconic condiment in Vietnamese cooking. It is made from fermented raw fish, and is served with most of the Vietnamese dishes. 

Regional Food

In northern Vietnam, a colder climate limits the production and availability of spices. As a result, the foods there are often less spicy than those in other regions. Black pepper is used in place of chilis as the most popular ingredient to produce spicy flavours. In general, northern Vietnamese cuisine is not bold in any particular taste — sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, or sour. Most northern Vietnamese foods feature light and balanced flavours that result from subtle combinations of many different flavouring ingredients. The use of meats such as pork, beef, and chicken were relatively limited in the past. Freshwater fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, such as prawns, squids, shrimps, crabs, clams, and mussels, are widely used. Many notable dishes of northern Vietnam are crab-centered (e.g., bún riêu). Fish sauce, soy sauce, prawn sauce, and limes are among the main flavouring ingredients. Being the cradle of Vietnamese civilisation, northern Vietnam produces many signature dishes of Vietnam, such as bún riêu and bánh cuốn, which were carried to central and southern Vietnam through Vietnamese migration. Other famous Vietnamese dishes that originated from the North, particularly from Hanoi include "bún chả" (rice noodle with grilled marinated pork), phở gà (rice noodle with chicken), chả cá Lã Vọng (rice noodle with grilled fish).

The abundance of spices produced by central Vietnam’s mountainous terrain makes this region’s cuisine notable for its spicy food, which sets it apart from the two other regions of Vietnam where foods are mostly not spicy. Once the capital of the last dynasty of Vietnam, Huế's culinary tradition features highly decorative and colourful food, reflecting the influence of ancient Vietnamese royal cuisine. The region’s cuisine is also notable for its sophisticated meals consisting of many complex dishes served in small portions. Chili peppers and shrimp sauces are among the frequently used ingredients. Some Vietnamese signature dishes produced in central Vietnam are bún bò Huế and bánh khoái.

The warm weather and fertile soil of southern Vietnam create an ideal condition for growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and livestock. As a result, foods in southern Vietnam are often vibrant and flavorful, with liberal uses of garlic, shallots, and fresh herbs. Sugar is added to food more than in the other regions.[11] The preference for sweetness in southern Vietnam can also be seen through the widespread use of coconut milk in southern Vietnamese cuisine. Vast shorelines make seafood a natural staple for people in this region. Some signature seafood dishes from southern Vietnam include bánh khọt and bún mắm.

Typical Vietnamese family meal


  • Large bowl/pot/cooker of steamed long-grain white rice
  • Individual bowls of rice
  • Fish/seafood, meat, tofu (grilled, boiled, steamed, stewed or stir-fried with vegetables)
  • A stir-fry dishRaw, pickled, steamed, or fresh vegetables
  • Canh (a clear broth with vegetables and often meat or seafood) or other soup
  • Prepared fish sauce for dipping, to which garlic, pepper, chili, ginger, or lime juice are sometimes added according to taste
  • Dipping sauces and condiments depending on the main dishes, such as pure fish sauce, ginger fish sauce, tamarind fish sauce, soy sauce, muối tiêu chanh (salt and pepper with lime juice) or muối ớt (salt and chili)
  • Small dish of relishes, such as salted eggplant, pickled white cabbage, pickled papaya, pickled garlic or pickled bean sprouts
  • Fresh fruits or desserts, such as chè


All dishes except individual bowls of rice are communal and are to be shared in the middle of the table. It is also customary for the younger to ask/wait for the elders to eat first and the women sit right next to the rice pot to serve rice for other people. They also pick up food for each other as an action of care.


Outside of Vietnam, Vietnamese cuisine is widely available in countries with strong Vietnamese immigrant communities, such as Australia, the United States, Canada, and France. Vietnamese cuisine is also popular in Japan, Korea, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Poland, and Russia, and in areas with dense Asian populations.

Television shows featuring Vietnamese food have increased in popularity. Luke Nguyen from Australia currently features a television show, Luke Nguyen's Vietnam, dedicated on showcasing and instructing how to cook Vietnamese dishes.

On The Great Food Truck Race, a Vietnamese sandwich truck called Nom Nom Truck received the most money in the first five episodes.

Anthony Bourdain wrote:

You don’t have to go looking for great food in Vietnam. Great food finds you. It’s everywhere. In restaurants, cafes, little storefronts, in the streets; carried in makeshift portable kitchens on yokes borne by women vendors. Your cyclo-driver will invite you to his home; your guide will want to bring you to his favourite place. Strangers will rush up and offer you a taste of something they’re proud of and think you should know about. It’s a country filled with proud cooks – and passionate eaters.

Vietnam is also well known for its street food. According to Forbes.com, Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest city in Vietnam, is one of the best 10 places to have street food.[17]

Food in relation to lifestyle

Vietnamese cuisine is reflective of the Vietnamese lifestyle, from the preparation to how the food is served. Going through long phases of war and political conflict, as well as cultural shifts, the vast majority of the Vietnamese people have been living in poverty. Therefore, the ingredients for Vietnamese food are often very inexpensive but nonetheless, the way they are cooked together to create a yin-yang balance makes the food simple in appearance but rich in flavour.

Due to economic conditions, maximizing the use of ingredients to save money has become a tradition in Vietnamese cooking. In earlier decades and even nowadays in rural areas, every part of a cow is used, from the muscle meat to the intestines; nothing is wasted. The higher quality cuts from farmed animals (cows, pigs) would be cooked in stirfry, soup or other dishes, while the secondary cuts would be used in blood sausages or soup. The same goes for vegetables like scallions: the leafy part is diced into small bits which are used to add flavor to the food while the crunchy stalk and roots are replanted.

Vegetarian dishes

Vegetarian dishes at a Buddhist restaurant in Ho Chi Minh cityVegetarian dishes in Vietnam often have the same names as their meat equivalents, e.g. Phở Bò. But in restaurants with « chay » (vegetarian) sign in front, those dishes are served with tofu instead of meat. Nearly every soup, sandwich and streetfood has its vegetarian correspondent.
Sometimes you can also see notations like "phở chay", "bánh mì chay" (vegetarian sandwich) or "cơm chay" (vegetarian rice).
The vegetarian food in comparison the normal dishes are almost always cheaper, often it's half the normal price. Chay restaurants are mostly frequented by religious Vietnamese people and are rarely found in touristic areas.

Fruit preserves

Vietnamese use fruits in season. When the season is passing, they make candied fruit, called ô mai and fruit preserves, called mứt. The original taste of ô mai is sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. The most famous kind of ô mai is ô mai mơ, made from apricots harvested from the forest around Perfume Pagoda (Chùa Hương), Hà Tây Province. This ô mai consists of apricot covered by ginger, sugar, and liquorice root slivers.

TofuTofu (đậu phụ) is widely used in Vietnamese cuisine. It is boiled, fried (sprinkled with ground shrimp or oil-dipped minced spring onion) or used as ingredient in a variety of dishes.
Other soybean products range from soy sauce (nước tương- usually light soy sauce), fermented bean paste (tương), and fermented bean curd (đậu phụ nhự or chao) to douhua (soft tofu sweet soup- tàu hũ nước đường, or tào phớ).

Condiments and sauces

CondimentsVietnamese usually use raw vegetables, rau sống, or rau ghém (sliced vegetable) as condiments for their dishes to combine properly with each main dish in flavour. Dishes in which rau sống is indispensable are bánh xèo and hot pot. The vegetables principally are herbs and wild edible vegetables gathered from forests and family gardens. Leaves and buds are the most common parts of vegetables used. Most of the vegetables have medicinal value.



  • Mắm tôm (shrimp paste)
  • Nước mắm (fish extract) can be used as it is or mixed with lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and chili. This mixture is called nước mắm pha.
  • Tương is made from fermented soybeans.Soy sauce mostly is used in marinades and sauces.
  • Hoisin sauce is used in Southern Vietnam to mix with phở while serving.
  • Hot chili sauce


Food colourings

Traditionally, the colouring of Vietnamese food comes from natural ingredients, however today there's an increase in the use of artificial food dye agents for food colouring, in Vietnam.

Red - usually from beetroot or by frying annatto seed to make oil (dầu điều)Orange - for sticky rice, comes from gacYellow - from turmericGreen - from pandan leaf or katukPurple - from magenta plant (lá cẩm)Black - in gai cake is from ramie leaf (lá gai)Dark brown - for stew dishes, uses nước màu or nước hàng, which is made by heating sugar to the temperature above that of caramel (170 °C).Colourings can be absorbed by mixing ground colourings or colouring liquid or wrapping before boiling to get the extracts. When colouring dishes, the tastes and smells of colourings must also be considered.

Herbs and spices

Vietnamese hot chili peppers are added to most foods, especially in central and southern VietnamCoriander and green onion leaves can be found in most Vietnamese dishes.A basic technique of stir-frying vegetable is frying garlic or shallot with oil before putting the vegetable into the pan.In northern Vietnam, dishes with fish may be garnished with dill.In central Vietnam, the mixture of ground lemongrass and chili pepper is frequently used in dishes with beef.In southern Vietnam, coconut water is used in most stew dishes.The pair culantro (ngò gai) and rice paddy herb (ngò om or ngổ) is indispensable in all kinds of sour soups in the southern Vietnam.Spearmint is often used with strongly fishy dishes.Perilla is usually used with crab dishes.

Tet Holiday specialty

The week-long Tết holiday marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year and is time for family gathering and fresh optimism for the coming year. And nothing is more synonymous with Tết than Bánh Chưng. Invented by prince Lang Lieu from Hung King Dynasty to symbolize the earth, Bánh Chưng is a square-shaped rice cake made with glutinous rice, mung beans, and pork. Wrapped in banana leaves, Bánh Chưng is boiled for a day, resulting in a rice cake that is soft, moist, and sticky. Bánh Chưng is often served with pickles including white radish, green papaya, chile peppers, carrots, and leeks

READ MORE https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese_cuisine