Five Awesome Things About Vietnamese Culture

Vietnam is a truly amazing country full of lush, green rice paddies, super friendly locals, white sandy beaches and amazing culture and diversity. Your trip to Vietnam has everything from great food, amazing pagodas and temples, to friendly people and stunning views. It has beauty, heritage and excitement all in one. Here are my top five parts of Vietnamese culture.

1. Food Buffets

The Vietnamese eat. A lot. For parties and celebrations they will have huge buffets with all kinds of food and snacks from all over Vietnam. Vietnamese people are generally very slim with a small frame but they can eat a huge amount! I don’t know how they do it. A typical banquet will include various types of meat, rice and a whole loads of vegetables cooked in a number of different ways. Meat might include fried dishes, hot pot, BBQ shrimp and seafood and boiled animal parts- including pigs ears and chicken feet! But don’t worry, there is always so much food that you can avoid the less appealing dishes and stick with the breast meat, ribs and BBQ prawns! When in Vietnam I highly recommend going to a buffet style restaurant so you can try a number of different dishes and share them with your friends, or better still go to a local “quan” where you will be served a plate of rice and you can then choose various dishes to go on top from the buffet.

2. Chopsticks

When in Vietnam definitely don’t be scared to try the local food in the local way, using chopsticks! These two little sticks are a little difficult to manoeuvre at first and can be a bit fiddly, but practise makes perfect, and once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll love eating your favourite local dish in an authentic way!

The best way to use chopsticks is to balance them on top of each other. Hold the first like a pen, about three quarters of the way down. Place the second next to your middle finger (some people use their ring finger) and support it with your thumb. Make sure both chopsticks are facing the same direction. Now move the top stick using a tapping or flicking motion with your two fingers, while keeping your thumb still.

If you’re struggling, you can always ask one of the friendly locals to help you. Most restaurants have a choice of chopsticks or a fork and spoon, so don’t worry, you won’t go hungry!

3. Vegetables

Vietnam is full of wonderful fruit and vegetables and while they do eat a lot of noodles and rice they always counter balance the carbs with delicious, fresh, crunchy veggies. Vietnam has hundreds of different types of vegetables, some of which you will be familiar with from back home (cucumber, tomato, lettuce, coriander, peppers, onions) and some which you will be less familiar with. Common Vietnamese vegetables are morning glory (water spinach), Ceylon spinach, bamboo shoots, lemon grass, bitter melon, amaranth, sweet potato leaves, cabbage, chayote fruit, kohlrabi and Chinese broccoli. Many of these vegetables will be served to you in the numerous local restaurants. So if you love your veggies, dig in and enjoy the variety!

4. Ao Dai

The traditional and must-see dress of Vietnam is the beautiful Ao Dai. This consists of long, flowing (usually) silk trousers and a gorgeous tight-fitting tunic that goes over the top. It has a high neck and long sleeves but there’s a sexy slit up both sides.

The Ao Dai’s are decorated beautifully with wonderful patterns from Vietnam in all kinds of vibrant colours. I was lucky enough to be gifted a stunning Ao Dai from a friendly local and it has the country’s amazing national symbol- a lotus flower- all the way up one side. It is truly awesome.

This garment was traditionally worn by both men and women but now it’s mostly women who wear them. They are worn for special occasions such as work events and birthdays and especially for the much-awaited National TET holiday which celebrates Chinese New Year.

If you’re heading to Hoi An you could have one made for yourself by a skilled tailor or you might be able to snap a cheeky picture of this local dress in a shop window or from a happy local-if they are OK with you doing so.

5. Ethnic Groups

While Vietnam has a huge variety of veggies it also has a wide range of people from all different ethnic groups. There are a total of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, many of whom live in the North. If you go to Sapa, you with meet many different people. One of the most common groups is the Hmong people, who originated from the Miao people and live mainly in Vietnam, Laos and Southern China.

To find out more about the multi-heritage of Vietnam head to the highly rated Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi, which gives details of all of the ethnic groups, their origins, customs and identities. It is a really fascinating and fun museum with lots of great information.

Now you’re super excited to come and experience all that Vietnam has to offer please get in touch with us for your Visa On Arrival – the easiest and fastest way to get a visa into Vietnam.

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