Travel Theme: Food ~ Vietnam

Durian Ice Cream - Mekong River, Vietnam
Durian Ice Cream – Mekong River, Vietnam. Definitely an acquired taste. Click here to see why.

One of the most exciting aspects of travel is trying the often new and interesting foods one encounters along the way, wouldn’t you say? The cuisines of Asia and especially Southeast Asia are the most pleasing to my palate, specifically, in Vietnam where great food is everywhere, in cafes and restaurants. However  the best is is often found on the streets, sold by vendors cooking their specialty over a small brazier. Have you ever sat on a child size plastic stool downing a bowl of pho ba for breakfast on a Hanoi sidewalk? Heavenly!

A year from now, I plan to live here. I will move to a small fishing village in a coastal area of Vietnam near Hoi An. I have no idea what I’m going to do there. –Anthony Bourdain

So just what is it about Vietnamese cuisine? To me it is the preponderance of fresh vegetables and herbs lightly cooked. Meat, and a surprisingly wide variety of animal parts are utilized, and are typically used sparingly. Vietnam has  strong vegetarian roots influenced by their Buddhist traditions. The cuisine is based on the principles of Yin and Yang in regards to the selection of ingredients. By matching dishes with seasonal or climatic conditions, or with the environment with the current physical well being of the diners the dishes are created to achieve balance. One example is that spicy food is very hot and extremely yang and is harmonized by sour which is very Yin. It is also influenced by the Asian concept of five elements of Mahābhūta, “The five elements correspondence,” which are spicy, sour, bitter, sweet, and hot. The seasonings is what makes the food so special.  Regular ingredients include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. Vietnamese recipes utilize lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander and Thai basil leaves. Of course, rice and rice noodles are a staple and present in some form at every meal.  Vietnamese food is often ranked as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

Snake Wine - Mekong River, Vietnam
Snake Wine – Mekong River, Vietnam. Cures whatever ails you.

Wherever I travel I spend a lot of time wandering and photographing the markets. And Vietnam is “market nirvana.” these are a few of the hundreds of my market images from Vietnam showing many of the common and some of the less common foods of my favorite cuisine. Enjoy.

Click on thumbnail for a full size photo and slideshow.

For more great photography please visit my web site: Ron Mayhew Photography

Check in with my favorite travel writer, On the Go with Lynne.

Ailsa’s theme at Where’s my backpack  this week is food.

Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. A tremendous series on Vietnam’s culinary offerings! I am missing the fresh spring rolls right now… 🙂

    1. Thanks Tricia,
      We headed for our local “Pho Vinh” noodle shop yesterday for fresh spring rolls and pho ba for lunch. I was working on the post and just had to stop and get a “Pho fix.”
      Thanks for following me.

      1. My pleasure; Lynne’s and my blogging path have crossed, so it’s been fun swapping travel tales.

        We made spring rolls a few weeks ago – your post is nudging me to do so again, and soon. 🙂

  2. I look forward to your posts as well. Your photography is really very good.

  3. Ron, what a wonderful post, and a fabulous series of shots. I would definitely be up for trying the durian ice cream, but admit right now I would run screaming from snake wine. That photo in your header is stunning too! I’m so glad you joined in the travel theme so I could find your blog. Nice to make your wordpress acquaintance!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. It is always nice to be found:) especially in “wordPress World.” Vietnam is one of my favorite places and I love the food there. Looking forward to the next challenge.

  4. I’m thinking that Durian ice cream must be very rich and fattening. I remember we were offered snake liqueur on a cruise in China. 😉

    1. The ice cream was rich but with a distinct aftertaste. Durian has a strong and ,for most, unpleasant odor. Most airlines in the region will not let you bring them aboard. Hotels either. As for the wine, it was strong and had a somewhat spicy taste – hopefully from some added herbs and not the snake. Thanks for your comment.

  5. A great selection of food items well photographed. Thanks for visiting my blog.


    1. Thanks. Enjoyed my visit to your blog and will return.

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog and liking my posts on my Cambodia trip. I like your pix of your Vietnam trip. Love to try the durian ice cream! What a coincident: I just tried for the first time durian dessert in a Chinese restaurant today! I just love it!

    1. The pleasure was mine. I would take a mango over durian every time:)

        1. Lots of yummy stuff. Congratulations on three months.

          1. Thank you for checking many of my posts and liking them. I do love your photography work. They are awesome!

  7. Love the photo of the ice cream, it looks delicious – but I am easily convinced, I love any ice cream!
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving all the likes!

    1. It was my pleasure and thank you for visiting.

    1. Thank you. I am enjoying you posts as well.

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