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|Bun Mam (Photo: Dau Bep Gia Dinh)|
Bun Mam – fermented fish soup
If this soup was music it would be funk. The fermented fish or shrimp paste used to make the broth gives it a very umami taste that isn’t for everyone. You can reduce the strong flavor by squeezing in some lime juice or adding some chili paste. The soup is commonly served with a tamarind dip that is very sweet and helps to balance the flavors. Search the murky broth and you’ll likely find seafood like shrimp, squid, and fish, as well as some thick vermicelli noodles, Itchy Feet On the Cheap reported.
Canh chua – Tamarind broth soup
Although the name literally means sour soup, I find this dish to be more sweet than sour. At any rate, there is a tang to canh chua that you won’t get with anything else on the list. This is because of the tamarind infused broth, along with chunks of tomato and pineapple. Elephant ear stalks are often included because they soak in the delicious flavors. Usually, the protein is fish, but it’s also possible to get pork and shrimp versions. Surprisingly, canh chua doesn’t contain noodles. It’s usually served with rice that you can dip by the spoonful into the broth.
|(Photo: Mon Ngon Moi Ngay)|
Banh canh – bread soup
Banh canh is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. The thick noodles are made from tapioca or rice flour, while the soup is prepared with different kinds of ingredients such as ham (bánh canh gio heo), snakehead fish (bánh canh ca loc), or crab (bánh canh cua).
This noodle soup is usually thicker than other Vietnamese soups, and the consistency of the liquid is more similar to a gravy than a brothy soup. The base is usually made from pork bones or sometimes chicken, and it's seasoned with sugar, salt, and fish sauce, according to Taste Atlas.
The usual garnishes include Vietnamese mint and finely chopped spring onions.
|Banh canh (Photo: Bep Truong A Au)|
Chao – rice porridge soup
Perhaps you know this dish as congee. It’s basically rice boiled in water for a long time. Versions of it are available all over Asia. Most of them are pretty similar, but there are some unique flavors in some of Vietnam’s chao. Specifically, the use of pandan leaves to add a subtle fragrance. Chao is the soup you eat when you’re feeling sick. There are many different versions of it, but probably the most popular version in Vietnam is cháo lòng. It contains everything from intestines to heart. It’s known to be a blue collar worker’s breakfast — probably because it is a very inexpensive. Chao long is far from my favorite version of chao though. I much prefer chicken, beef, seafood, or duck chao.
|Chao (Photo: Bep Truong A Au)|
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