Vietnamese Food Vs. Japanese Food: Is Vietnamese Food Similar To Japanese Food?

We are sure you have heard of the popular Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines, but have you ever tried them? If not, this article will help you have a food tour in Vietnam and Japan right on these pages so that you know how these Asian cuisines differ from each other and what kind of food best suits your taste buds.

What is special about Japanese food?

Japanese food is a lot more than just sushi and ramen.

It is one of the most diverse cuisines in the world with regional specialties from all over Japan including Hokkaido, Kyushu, Okinawa, and Shikoku.

The use of soy sauce, fermented ingredients, and other spices, as well as rice, noodles, and seaweed, are not commonly found in other European or American cuisines.

Japanese cuisine makes use of fresh and high-quality ingredients, from meat, seafood, to vegetables which are prepared raw or lightly cooked to preserve their nutrients and flavors.

Japanese food is often packed with an umami taste, making it completely different from other regular American dishes.

Their food is often served in small portions and decorated in a very elegant way.

Regarding their desserts, green tea or matcha is the popular ingredient that is used to make different kinds of sweet dishes, such as mochi, cakes, latte, cookies, smoothie, or souffle.

What is special about Vietnamese food?

Vietnamese food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world.

The reasons why it is favored by a lot of people of all ages are it has a balanced flavor as well as being very healthy.

Vietnamese dishes are mainly made from fresh ingredients that are locally sourced.

Since they have favorable natural conditions, their cuisine is diverse with ingredients from all groups: grains, meat, seafood, freshwater fish, vegetables, fruits, fresh spices, and herbs.

Vietnamese cuisine varies from region to region, however, there are some signature dishes that can be found anywhere in this S-shaped country, including rice, noodle soup (pho), Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), spring rolls, or Banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake).

Vietnamese people typically use fish sauce, soy sauce, shrimp paste, or oyster sauce to season their dishes.

These condiments provide a special fragrant flavor that is hard to be found in Western cuisine.

One notable feature of Vietnamese cuisine is its use of fresh herbs in different recipes to enhance the flavor of the dishes.

What are the differences between Japanese food vs Vietnamese food?

Although Vietnamese food and Japanese food are parts of Asian cuisine, they have many separated features:

Japanese food has a mild and umami flavor, while Vietnamese food is more flavorful and balanced

Vietnamese food is flavored with condiments like fish sauce, sugar, shrimp paste, soy sauce, garlic, onion, ginger, and pepper to name a few.

Therefore, their dishes have a flavorful and balanced taste that includes sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and spiciness.

Meanwhile, Japanese food has a specialized umami flavor from high-protein ingredients, raw food, and seaweed.

Vietnamese cuisine makes use of simpler ingredients, while Japanese ingredients are of higher quality

Another difference between the two cuisines is that in general, Vietnamese cuisine makes use of simpler ingredients that are locally sourced.

Meanwhile, Japanese food is made from high-quality ingredients like Wagyu beef, salmon, tuna, or crab that are caught from the ocean.

There are many high-end restaurants in Japan that serve some of the most expensive dishes in the world.

Japanese cuisine includes seaweed, which is not featured in traditional Vietnamese cuisine

Seaweed is an integral part of Japanese cuisine.

This ingredient is also popular in the neighboring cuisine, Korean, but not in Vietnamese cuisine.

Seaweed comes in different forms, such as plain to make soups, sushi, or seasoned to eat directly with rice.

Vietnamese cuisine features boiling, stir-frying, braising, or frying as the main cooking methods, while Japanese cooking methods are simmering, steaming,  pickling, and deep-frying

The cooking methods between the two cuisines are also different from each other.

In Vietnam, foods are boiled, stir-fried, fried, or braised, while in Japanese cuisine, they often simmer, steam, salt, or bread and deep-fry their food. 

Vietnamese food is often served in large sizes whereas Japanese food is served in small portions with an elegant decoration

The last thing that sets Vietnamese cuisine apart from Japanese cuisine is how their food is served.

Vietnamese food is traditionally served in family sizes so that people can share everything on the table.

Meanwhile, Japanese food is served in small portions, that’s why their tables always look hearty and full of dishes.

What are the similarities between Japanese food vs Vietnamese food?

There are also many similarities between Vietnamese food and Japanese food, as listed below:

Vietnamese food and Japanese food are diverse and made from fresh ingredients

They both have diverse cuisines with countless dishes made from different ingredients, like red meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables.

All these ingredients are fresh and often bought from local markets.

Rice and noodles are staples in both cuisines

Another thing in common between Vietnamese cuisine and Japanese cuisine is that they share rice and noodles as two staples.

Rice and noodles can be served at any time of the day.

Normally, plain rice is steamed to enjoy with other savory dishes, while noodles are cooked in a broth with meat and vegetables.

They both use chopsticks to eat their food

The two cuisines also share the way they eat their food.

They mainly use chopsticks to pick up foods, while spoons are used to eat liquid dishes like soups or stews.

Which one is better?

It is hard to tell if Vietnamese food or Japanese food is better because the answer is very subjective.

However, by taking a closer look at the special characteristics of each cuisine and their differences as well as similarities, you might know if you want to try Vietnamese food or Japanese food first.