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Vietnamese Vs. Indian Food: Why You Should Eat More Vietnamese Food?

Many people would think that Vietnamese food and Indian food are completely unrelated, but they actually share numerous similarities.

In this article, we are going to compare Vietnamese cuisine and Indian cuisine so that you can know how they separate from each other and what type of food will best suit your taste buds.

What is special about Indian food?

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The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food [A Cookbook]
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Indian food is a cuisine with a long and rich history that can be found from the Indian subcontinent and other cuisines in the world that it has influences on like Bangladesh, Persian, or Arabic.

Indian food is reputed for being spicy due to its use of various spices like chili pepper, cumin, coriander, cardamom, garam masala, cinnamon, and turmeric.

Indians also use dairy products like butter, yogurt, and ghee to marinate and season their food.

Some signature dishes like chicken tikka masala, pulao rice, naan bread, and curries can be found in any part across India.

Chicken and lamb are the two most popular kinds of meat in India because according to Hindus and Muslims, eating pork and beef is prohibited.

They often cook their food in the tandoori oven and serve along with other side dishes, or stew the ingredients to make curries or stews.

What is special about Vietnamese food?

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Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
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Vietnam has always been a country of culture and food.

They are known for their delicious cuisine which is comprised of fresh ingredients and a lot of herbs.

There are many Vietnamese dishes that have been recognized in international markets, such as pho or banh mi, which is known as one of the best street foods in the world.

Vietnamese people make use of different kinds of meat, including pork, beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, goat, or buffalo, with many kinds of seafood in coastal areas.

There is almost no diet restriction in this country, except for people who are vegetarians so they don’t eat animal meat.

Vietnamese diets also include a lot of vegetable dishes that include both leafy greens and root vegetables.

Especially, they eat a lot of fresh herbs along with other dishes like noodle soup, steamed fish, or spring rolls.

Vietnamese tend to use less cooking fat (oil or lard) and dairy products in their cooking, therefore, their dishes are often light in texture and flavor, and are considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

There are some sharp differences between the regional cuisines in Vietnam.

For example, the food from the north of Vietnam has been heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine, so it features a lot of noodle dishes and dumplings, with a savory flavor.

In Southern Vietnamese cuisine, they use a lot more sugar so their dishes are sweeter.

In the Mekong River Delta region, people prefer freshwater fish, and “lẩu mắm” is one of the most popular dishes here.

What are the differences between Vietnamese food and Indian food?

When it comes to comparing Vietnamese food and Indian food, there is a lot to mention.

Below are the typical differences between these two cuisines:

Indian food is often spicier than Vietnamese food

Indian food is known as one of the spiciest foods in the world.

Vietnamese food can be spicy as well, but often less spicy than Indian dishes.

Indians tend to use various spices like chili pepper, cumin, coriander, cardamom, garam masala, turmeric, and cinnamon, making their food bolder in flavor and much spicier. 

Vietnamese eat pork and beef, which are forbidden in Indian cuisine

Another difference between Vietnamese food and Indian food is their consumption of pork and beef.

In Vietnam, pork is the most popular kind of meat, along with beef.

These ingredients appear in almost every meal of Vietnamese people.

On the other hand, Indians don’t eat or rarely eat pork and beef because these meat options are forbidden due to their religious diet restriction.

Vietnamese use a lot more fresh herbs than Indians

One more feature that makes Vietnamese cuisine unique is its use of fresh herbs.

They eat a lot of fresh herbs like coriander, culantro, Vietnamese coriander, fish mint, perilla, Thai basil, or peppermint as special accompaniments for many dishes such as noodle soups or steamed seafood.

Indians, on the other hand, use more dried spices rather than herbs.

Indians tend to eat more naan bread and curries, while Vietnamese eat noodle soups

Another thing that sets the two cuisines apart is that Indians eat naan bread and curries, while Vietnamese cuisine features more noodle dishes.

Curries are one of the national dishes of India.

This saucy dish is often served with naan bread to use as an edible utensil to scoop up the sauce.

Meanwhile, noodles are a staple in Vietnamese cuisine due to the influence of the neighboring cuisine, Chinese.

Vietnamese rarely use dairy products in their cooking, while Indians use ghee, butter, and yogurt

Indians use ghee as the main kind of fat/ cooking oil to cook their food.

They also use butter and yogurt to marinate or add texture and flavor to their dishes.

On the other hand, Vietnamese tend to use less oil and dairy products in their cooking.

They will use coconut milk or coconut water sometimes instead.

Vietnamese use chopsticks and spoons to eat, while Indians eat with their hands

The two cuisines also differ in the way indigenous people eat their food.

In Vietnam, chopsticks are mainly used to easily pick up different kinds of food.

However, Indians enjoy eating with their hands, but only the fingers from their right hands are used to hold the food.

What are the similarities between Vietnamese food and Indian food?

It seems that Vietnamese cuisine and Indian cuisine have no similar features.

In fact, there are several things in common between these two cuisines as well:

Both kinds of food are diverse with different regional cuisines

Vietnam and India are known as the two countries with their diverse cuisines.

Moreover, the way of cooking, flavors, and ingredients even vary from region to region in each country.

For example, you can find differences in the cuisines from the east to the west, north to south, and inland to coastal areas.

Rice is a staple in Indian and Vietnamese cuisines

Another similarity between these two cuisines is the importance of rice.

Rice is an integral part of both Indian and Vietnamese cuisines.

This main crop is affordable and versatile.

It can be cooked in different ways, but mainly steamed plain to enjoy with other savory dishes.

Both cuisines use fresh ingredients, making them healthy options

Vietnamese cuisine and Indian cuisine only make use of fresh ingredients.

You are not likely to find canned food and processed food, such as canned stock, canned fish or meat, ham, or bacon in their kitchens like in American cuisine.

All their ingredients are fresh and bought from local markets. 

Which one is better?

The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food [A Cookbook]Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food [A Cookbook]Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
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For some people, Vietnamese cuisine wins out.

However, others might think Indian food is the best choice.

Therefore, choosing which cuisine is better will all come down to personal preference.

We recommend trying both dishes from Vietnam and India so that you know what kind of food is best for your palate.

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