VIETNAM

FOOD & CULTURE

To appreciate the culture, you must understand the food. To appreciate the food, you must understand the culture.

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Steamed Rice Cakes, Cover
17 (Banh day - 17)

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STREET FOOD AND SIDE DISHES

MAIN
DISHES

DESSERTS

VIETNAM
FOOD & CULTURE

Chewing, one eats. Reflecting, one speaks.

The red in the Vietnamese flag represents the blood of the people. The yellow is for the color of their skin. The five-pointed star is for the five classes of society – workers, peasants, soldiers, intellectuals, and traders. Even though the history of Vietnam can be traced back thousands of years, Vietnam had been under the occupation of the Chinese, Japanese, and French. Having not gained independence until 1976, Vietnam is actually a very young country. This long arduous path to independence also helps explain why the country is as proud as it is.

vietnam currency

Vietnamese currency, called dong, is made of either cotton fiber or plastic polymer. The paper banknotes (1000, 5000, 10,000) are the smaller currencies, whereas the plastic polymer banknotes range from 20,000 to 500,000 dong. At the time of writing this, 500,000 dong equals about 22 USD.

VIETNAM

Travel-with-Us

To you they’re just beautiful
To me they’re food
To me they’re home
To me they’re essential

To you they’re just a pictureTo me they’re history
To me they’re your job

They gave me callouses 

They gave me death
But only they wept
The rain feeds them
And breaks for the birds to sing
Allow them to inspire you
To open your mind
To learn To teach.

In Vietnam, when someone dies, they are temporarily buried for a period of three years, at which point the bones are collected and moved to a permanent burial location. Since land, specifically burial plots, are so expensive, and the bones of the deceased need to be moved anyway, the locals have opted to temporarily bury the deceased in the rice fields. During this time, the fish help clean off the bones for when the body relocated. The fish in Ninh Binh, where i discovered this practice, are the most delicious fish I think I’ve ever had.. and now
I Know Why.

No locals on the beach except for before sunrise or after sunset. Using soap or hot water to wash dishes is rare. They use scissors to cut their food instead of knives. The best pineapple of your life ever is here. Twenty cents for a bottle of roadside rambutan juice. Ceiling fans are typically turquoise in color, trucks are bronze, government buildings yellow, garbage collectors wear pastels, school uniforms are usually blue and white, women wear neutral colors and guys often wear black.

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Testimonials

Paul B. Kennedy’s Vietnam Food and Culture is a portal to an authentic culinary experience. Spiced with proverbs, cultural insights, fascinating facts, and gorgeous photography, the book is as much a coffee table showpiece as a working cookbook, offering a wide range of dishes from the north to the south of the country, from the popular to the lesser-known recipes. It is an ambitious work that has succeeded in capturing and describing the essence of Vietnamese cooking in layman terms. As a foodie, former restaurant critic, and enthusiastic cook, I admire the efforts Kennedy has devoted to this special book. Highly recommended.

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Andrew X. Pham

Author of Catfish and Mandala and The Eaves of Heaven

Paul Kennedy has created an experiential journey of Vietnamese culture that could only otherwise be replicated through travel and immersing oneself in Vietnam for years. Vietnam Food and Culture is an essential guide for both professional and home cooks that explores the flavors of Vietnam in its most authentic form. This book is written for anyone with a serious interest in food, jam packed with flavor and history told through the lens of a well-travelled, passionate chef.

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Chef Tony Messina

James Beard Winner – Best Chef of the Northeast

From rice pyramid dumplings and salted egg chicken to taro pudding, Paul Kennedy explores the street food, heritage cuisine, colonial influences and hybrid dishes that make up Vietnam's multi-layered culinary landscape. Illuminated by detailed photography and peppered with sage local proverbs and insights into cultural practices, this tribute is both a delicious cookbook and essential destination primer for curious foodies and thoughtful travellers.

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Susan Kurosawa

Associate Travel Editor, The Weekend Australian

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always believed that you are able to learn, understand and appreciate another country’s culture through their food. As a chef, that idea could not be more true. Paul Kennedy’s tireless research and love for the Vietnamese culture and it’s cuisine is inspiring on many levels.

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Chef Gaby Maeda

Food and Wine Magazine – Best New Chef James Beard Winner – Rising Star Chef of the Year

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