What is Vietnam famous for? With over 2000 years of history, 54 ethnic groupsand decades of diverse foreign influences, Vietnam has given much to the world over the years.From the Ao Dai to the banh mi sandwich, here are 11 things that Vietnam has blessed the rest of the world with.
The Vietnamese costume Áo Dài
The Vietnamese Ao Dai history began in 1744 when Southern Lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat ordered a front-buttoned gown and trouser to be worn in his reign. The garment, which borrowed the style of the Cham people, was, at the beginning, looser and used by both men and women.Today, the Ao Dai is wornby Vietnamese women for special occasions and comes in many variations. For Vietnamese people, the Ao Dai is not only a symbol of culture and style, it’s a modern testament to Vietnamese history.
The bánh mì sandwich wasborn after the defeat of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and was created by Mr. and Mrs. Le, who revolutionized dining in Saigon at the time by placing all of ameal’singredients in a piece of bread, a perfect andcheap solution for the hustle of life in Saigon. Of course, the French sandwich was known before, but for the Banh mi, the ingredients were changed. The mayonnaise replaced the butter while veggies and other local ingredients replaced the French cold cuts. When Vietnamese people fled to the USand Europe, they brought with them their Vietnamese specialties. Today, the bánh mì sandwich is everywhere.
The Halong Bay, or Vịnh Hạ Long, is a vast natural seawater bay of more than 43 thousand hectares. At 1,500 km2, it’s home to the largest marine karst in the world, which rests between Hạ Long and Cat Ba National Park on Cat Ba Island, in the Tonkin Gulf of the South China Sea, 170 km east of the capital Hanoi. Its 120 km of coastline, home toexceptionally preserved natural marine scenery with 1,969 submerged limestone islandsandthe biological richness of its tropical ecosystem, makethe sightknown around the world. Since December, 1994 it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2011 it was elected as on the seven new wonders of nature. Halong Bay is today one of the most important tourist destinations in Vietnam.
In Hanoi at lunchtime, bún chả, the iconic grilled pork and noodle dish, is everywhere. However, unlike other Hanoi original dishes, the origins of the bún chả seem to be lost to history. Nobody knows who created this classic street dish. The dish became world know a few years ago when President Obama, seated on a low plastic stool and dining with Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi, enjoyed the dish at a no-frills street restaurant in Hanoi.
The world’s biggest cave Sơn Đoòng
The Sơn Đông Cave, better known as Hang Soon Dong Cave (Vietnamese: Hang Sơn Đoòng or Hang Sơn Đông meaning Cave of the Mountain), was created by an underground river two to five million years ago. The cave is located in Bo Trach District, north of Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam. It is part of the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, near the border with Laos. The cave is currently considered the largest underground gallery in the world. One could build a whole neighborhood of buildings of forty floors within the network of caves. This is one of twenty new caves discovered in Vietnam in 2010 and is, today, the world’s largestknown cave.
Nuoc man or Fish sauce
This distinctive sauce is made from two ingredients: fish (usually anchovies) and salt, fermented together for months. The earliest origins of fish sauce date back to Roman times, in 4th century BC where the condiment was known as garumand hadfactories in Spain, Portugal, and Northern Africa. The trade was passed along the trade routes from West to East. Other sources suggest that there aretwo different type of fish sauce, one developed in the East and one in the West at separate times. The Asian sauce is thought to have originated in Vietnam. These days, fish sauce is a staple in Southeast Asia, with the version from the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc being the first product in Southeast Asia to receive a Protected Designation of Origin certification from the EU Commission.
Rice is an integral part of life in Vietnamandits history in the Mekong Delta traces back to the Khmer regime of the 18th century. The development of the rice industry is attributed to the French, who colonized Vietnam in the middle of the 19th century with the basic objective of exporting rice grown in the delta to meet its large costs of colonization. They developed a maze of the canal system in the delta to grow three rice crops in a year. Today, Vietnam is the fifth largestexporter of rice in the world.
First introduced by the French in 1857afterdecidingto open colonization zones up in the highlandsof Da Lak Province, today’s Vietnamesecoffee is the best damn robusta coffee you’ll ever have. The coffee is so strong and flavorful that it can withstand sweetness without losing itstrue “coffee” flavor. Vietnam is today the world’s biggest exporter of coffee.
Historically,Vietnamese girls and women from north to south worethe conical hat without distinction of social belonging. The earliest traces of the conical hat, or No La, can be found in the drawings engraved on the Ngoc Lu bronze drums and the Dao Thinh bronze jars that date from 2 to 3 millennia before our era. Although no one knows exactly when this hat was born, it is still considered the symbol of Vietnamese peasants and is still part of the favorite souvenirs brought back by tourists to their home countries.
Nicknamed “The king of all fruits”, the durian will be immediately adored by those who dare to taste it. It has a distinct aroma, a profound sweetness, and an overall juicy taste. However, for tourists in general and Europeans in particular, it is a fruit whose smell is “the most terrible”. Although it is native to Indonesia and Brunei, durian is the favorite fruit in Vietnam. The Durian wasintroduced to southern Vietnam about 30 years ago from Thailand and the Philippines and is now an important tree crop in the lowlands of the Mekong Delta. The fruit is also produced on the well-drained soil of the highlands in the south-east, the central highlands, and the central coast of Vietnam.
Vietnamese craft beer
The Vietnamese craft beer scene has beenbooming since the 2000s, following the introduction of Czech-style breweries to the country. In the last years, Vietnam welcomed more than a dozen micro-breweries. In Ho Chi Minh City, there are a number of artisan breweries such as Platinum, Pasteur Street Brewing Co, Winking Seal, Heart of Darkness, Fuzzy Logic, Gammer, Barett Brewing, and more. These upstarts are providing new alternatives for beer drinkers and produce some of the best beers in Asia.