Home Countries | Vietnam

Vietnam

The flag of Vietnam was designed in 1940 and used during an uprising against French rule. Red symbolizes revolution and blood. The star represents five main classes in Vietnamese society including intellectuals, farmers, workers, businessman and militaries. (from wiki)


History and Geography

According to statistics dated 2012, Vietnam’s habitable land area is approximately 331,698km2. If the Earth was an orange, Vietnam would be the size of a seed. The country has an S-shaped with 1,650 km in length and the narrowest width is about 50km.

The shape of the country begins in the north then gradually expands into the current S-shape, with relatively wide northern and southern portion, long and slim in Mien Trung (Middle Land.) Vietnam is bordered by China to the North, by Laos and Cambodia to the West, by the East Sea to the East and South, and is located in the South East Asian subcontinent..

During it's long history (2269 years), Vietnam has struggled against many powerful countries to protect its independence and sovereignty:

  • Chinese occupation: 1096 years
  • Civil war: 261 years
  • France occupation: 82 years
  • Japanese occupation: 5 years
  • War against France: 9 years
  • War against America: 21 years

In total, Vietnam has suffered 1474 years of war and violence while there have been only 795 years of peace and independence. So even though the most recent war has long been over, when people mention Vietnam, they relate her to a war-torn country.

For more detailed and interesting information of Vietnam, click here. Do not forget to turn on English subtitle.

Culture

Despite it's modest size, Vietnam has a variety of ethnics and experienced a long Chinese occupation and French colonial period which makes the country’s culture varied and different. In this post, I will show you some basic introduction and prominent features of Viet culture that would be useful for visiting, doing business or hosting in this nice country.

The language

culture-language.png

Due to a long period occupied by Chinese, Viet people used chu Nom (written similar to Chinese characters). Until the 17th century, the writing system is replaced by Quoc Ngu (the current official language) using Roman alphabets and accent marks to show tones. Vietnamese language is tonal. With each syllable, there are six different tones that can be used, which change the definition and it often makes it difficult for foreign learners to pick up the language. 

There are other languages spoken as well such as Chinese, Khmer, Cham and other languages spoken by tribes inhabiting the mountainous regions.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Before the Vietnamese revolution, women had a strong household role, which included cooking, cleaning, going to the market and caring for kids. However, in society, their status in business and government is less significant than men’s. In cities, women often work as accountants, secretaries, waitresses, etc. which are lower level service positions while men perform some major works such as political office, businessmen, and some occupations that require extended periods away from hone (taxi driver, long-distance truck driving). In agricultural production, both men and women are involved in the whole process, however, the more demanding physical activities of plowing and raking are performed by men.

Since 1950, after Vietnamese revolution, the government states the gender equality, but women status has not been completley realized in social life, especially in the countrysides. In some big cities, women getting high education have more opportunities to develop their careers.

Ao dai – Unique and Traditional Outfit of Vietnamese

Ao dai were created under the Lord Nguyen dynasty in 1744. At first, both men and women were demanded to wear ao dai. The first style included an ensemble of trousers and a gown that buttoned down the front. After 1930, the Ao dai was modified to look more similar to it's look today. Now, men rarely wear it, except on ceremonial occasions such as wedding or funerals.

Ao dai are common attires for girl students as well as female staff at offices and hotels. Catching many girl students in white ao dai sailing on the bicycles to school or back home is an absolutely unforgettably elegant moment.

 

Major Events

Food

In the northern part of the country, thanks to the influence of neighboring China, people tend to use more soy sauce than other parts, where fish sauce is more usual. Other common ingredients in Vietnamese cooking include black pepper (mainly in the north), hot chili, coconut milk, limes, lemon grass, tamarind and cane sugar, supplemented by asparagus and potatoes, courtesy of the French influence. Methods of cooking vary from simmering or boiling to frying or grilling.

Stir-frying using a wok and chopsticks is common. Many European influences can be found in Vietnamese dishes, including sauces, meats, cold roast pork, patés and baguettes (French rolls). At the other end of the scale, in some parts of the country there is still plenty of demand for exotic meats such as dog, turtle and snake. 

What to Order

 

 

Banh Mi Thit

Banh Mi Thit

The Vietnamese equivalent of a “submarine” – a Vietnamese baguette stuffed with any of a wide variety of fillings including ham, cheese, canned sardines, Vietnamese bologna and pickled carrot.

Bo Kho

Bo Kho

Beef-and-vegetable stew, usually accompanied by baguettes. 

Che

Che

For dessert, try Che, a pudding made from sticky rice and beans.

Buncha

Buncha

Vietnamese Pork Meatball and Noodle Salad.

Nem Nuong Xa  

Nem Nuong Xa

 

Grilled meat on lemongrass skewers.

Goi Cuon

Goi Cuon

The famous Vietnamese “summer rolls”: shrimp or pork (sometimes both) with herbs, rolled up in rice paper and served cold with a peanut dipping sauce.

Pho

Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (phở bò) or chicken (phở gà).The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with Vietnamese basil, mint leaves, lime, and bean sprouts that are added to the soup by the person who is dining.

No matter what time day or night, a steaming bowl of Pho noodle soup is never hard to find in Vietnam. Just as Pad Thai in Thailand, this dish in Vietnam is one of best delicious Vietnamese Food Pho in this country. And everyone around the world always wants eating Pho when they have a chance to go to Vietnam.

Eating Vietnamese Style

As in many countries in Asia, people tend to eat “family style”, sharing dishes. Each gets a plate or bowl with rice, then shares with everyone else the bowls of food set in the middle of table.

If you are eating with a Vietnamese family expect to see little in the way of meat unless the family is quite wealthy.

Noodles (of course) and vegetables are the standard diet in most households. A typical Vietnamese meal will include rice, a meat or seafood dish, a vegetable dish, soup and fish sauce for dipping.

Drinking Vietnamese Style

Green tea is the most common drink, and is offered as a courtesy to guests or visitors. The two most popular local beers are Saigon Export and Saigon Lager, but imported beers are available, at roughly double the price. Vietnam produces several varieties of rice wine - known as Ruou. However, bottles of Ruou commonly contain a pickled snake, the inclusion of which is thought to impart health-giving elements.

There are also numerous varieties of locally distilled spirits, which do not include the reptilian element - even if they may taste as if they do. Fruit wines, such as apricot, orange or lemon, are also common, and Soft drinks are processed from the many varieties of tropical fruits. Bottled drinking water should be checked to ensure that the cap or seal is original and intact. 

Useful Phrases

You can watch Vietnamese lessons by following this link: Learn Vietnamese Language With Annie. It is very interesting and helpful with most common phrases. The speaker speaks with Saigonese accent.

On the other hand, I share some common Vietnamese phrases here for your reference.

  • Hello! 
  • What’s your name? 
  • My name is … 
  • How are you? 
  • I’m fine, thank you. 
  • Nice to meet you. 
  • Thank you. 
  • You’re welcome: 
  • Sorry. 
  • No problem.
  • Yes.
  • No. 
  • Can you help me?
  • I’d like to eat. 
  • I’d like to drink. 
  • How much? 
  • So expensive. 
  • Where is the bank
  • Hotel
  • Coffee
  • Hot
  • Cold
  • Tea 
  • I like. 
  • I’m sad. 
  • I’m tired. 
  • I’m hungry. 
  • I’m thirsty. 
  • I’m happy.

 

Xin chao!
Ban ten gi?
Toi tên la ….
Bạn khoe khong?
Toi khoe. Cam on.
Rat vui duoc gap ban.
Cam on.
Khong co chi.
Xin loi.

Khong sao
Vang
Khong
Ban giup toi duoc khong?

Toi muon an.
Toi muon uong.
Bao nhieu?
Mac qua.
Ngan hang o dau?
khach san
ca phe
nong
lanh
tra
Toi thich
Toi dang buon
Toi met.
Toi doi.
Toi khat
Toi rat vui.