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Vietnamese food question

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I have a few questions about items that came with my Vietnamese food at a new restaurant in my area. When a main dish which has no sauce such as bbq beef comes with vermicelli noodles and plain rice are they to be eaten alone? Was I supposed to add something to it?

What is traditionally done with the large amount of bean sprouts and other vegetables that come with the food? Are they eaten plain? I understand that some items are wrapped with others items but some items don't wrap if you know what I mean?

When I eat pho, do I toss in the veggies that come with it?

Thanks. I am new to this type of cuisine.

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  1. I would think the restaurant staff would be glad to show you the proper way to enjoy their cuisine.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. when you order pho, you will usually be served a plate of bean sprouts, herbs, jalapeno and limes - you can add them to suit your taste. I like to tear up the basil and squeeze the lime in - my husband likes to throw them in whole for flavor but then leave it at the bottom of the bowl. Usually when you order bun (vermicelli) you will usually get mixed fish sauce (nuoc cham) to add to it. I also like to add some Sriracha.

        Ask your server for help, even if English isn't his first language he can probably help or will find someone who can. Most ethnic restaurants want you to feel comfortable and confident so that you will return!

        1. The vermicelli noodles and any kind of BBQ meat or egg rolls are called bun. The usually are served with nuoc cham which is flavored fish sauce. It usually has palm sugar, lime, lemon, chili. I put the sauce in with some siracha or chili paste. It should come with carrots and bean sprouts with cilantro or culantro on top but if it's on the side put it in. If anything comes with lettuce leaves like egg rolls or bahn xi it is to be wrapped. Pho is to be made to your taste. Put in whatever amount of what they give you to suit your taste. I put in a lot of basil and culantro, some bean sprouts, siracha, a small amount of hoisin, and whatever cities they give you. Vietnamese is the best, have fun experimenting with their cuisine.

          5 Replies
          1. re: CDollarsign

            Thanks all. (I wonder what happened to the original second very thorough post?)

            1. re: SIMIHOUND

              that is what is so cool (once I understood) about VN and other SE Asian is that you have the choice to doctor the flavor and the lettuce is not a garnish for the fried roll, but a utensil - made SO much sense. should institute that for US Buffalo wings, save a lot in napkins and cleaning.

              1. re: SIMIHOUND

                it was deleted it, because they thought i quoted too much from two cited websites on vietnamese food. i thought it was ok, compared with other posts i've seen. but, it ain't my sandbox.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I applaud your accepting attitude, alkapal. You were just trying to help, and might easily have gotten resentful. But I also respect Chowhound's efforts to supervise and keep to principles about copyright. Unsupervised sites can get nasty and unreliable.

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    if you had seen the cited sections, they were (quite) modest -- and i ALWAYS cite the source.

                    i've learned to go with the flow on chowhound. as i said, it ain't my sandbox.