The French colonized this southeastern Asian country with a long coastline in the 16th century. They introduced many of their food preparation techniques, soups, and bread. Although the French were forced to leave Vietnam shortly after WWI, their gastronomic legacy is still palpable.
Besides French, Chinese influenced Vietnamese cooks because of proximity, and Indian chefs because of religion.
The foundation of Vietnamese meals is rice, as is the case in most southeastern Asian countries, flavoured with fish, lemongrass, shrimp, mint, coriander, fish sauce, star anise, garlic, basil rice vinegar and ginger.
Vietnamese curries are mild.
Pho Bo (noodle soup) and cha gio (spring rolls) are popular and featured prominently in many Vietnamese restaurants abroad.
Foods are stir fried or boiled. Freshness is crucial; in fact an absolute necessity given that refrigerators are still at a premium and expensive.