You may have known, and even tasted some popular Vietnamese cuisines like Pho, Banh Xeo, Bun Cha, Hu tieu, etc. These food usually appear in the daily lives of every Vietnamese. But how about Vietnamese school snacks, are there any uniqueness compared with other countries? I bet there are. If you do not believe me, please explore with me the world of school snacks in Vietnam! You may be amazed by the diverse Vietnamese cuisines.
The difference in regional culture and climate will create different snacks for each region in Vietnam. However, the common points of these snacks are the convenience, deliciousness, and more importantly, low price. Below is the list of five most popular snacks among Vietnamese students for many years.
Mixture Rice Paper (Bánh Tráng Trộn)
This is one of the most popular snacks in Vietnam, especially in Southern region. Until recent years, this snack has found its way to Hanoi and quickly gain popularity among young Hanoians.
As the name implies, mixture rice paper includes rice paper as the main ingredient, mixed with mango threads, dried beef threads, dried small shrimps, dried onion, quail eggs, lemon/ kumquat juice, soy sauce, and chilly sauce. These ingredients make the snack have the mixture of different tastes like salty, spicy, sweet and sour.
Fruits with Chilly Salt (Hoa Quả Muối Ớt)
This food is far more popular among girl students and can completely be made by themselves with easy recipe. As a country with tropical humid climate, Vietnam has various types of fruits. But only sour fruits, crunchy and not too sweet, become a target of Vietnamese girl students. The most commonly chosen fruits are green mango, guava, etc. Green mangoes are hard but easily sliced to pieces, and then mixed together with the chilli salt (or ‘Muối Ớt’ in Vietnamese.) This cuisine is easy to prepare in just a few minutes, but its attractiveness is irresistible.
Fried Fish Balls/ Meatballs (Cá Bò Viên Chiên)
Sticks of fried fish balls and meatballs are popular snacks after school. After consumers order, the sellers will put fish balls/meatballs sticks into an oil pan and cook them for some minutes. After well cooked, added with chili sauce (tương ớt) and hoisin sauce (tương đen,) hot sticks of fish balls and meatballs are ready to be enjoyed. Imagine when the weather is cold, groups of students standing around the sellers, waiting for their orders, trembling when each cold breeze flies by while chatting joyfully with each other. It is Vietnam. Interesting, right?
Bean Curd with Coconut Milk
This cuisine is favored in both winter and summer. Made from soybeans, the taste of bean curd is cool and sweet, softer and smoother than normal tofu. An bowl of iced bean curd in summer and a hot one in winter, accompanied with coconut milk and bubbles would make your stomach satisfied.
Melon/Pumpkin Seeds (Hạt Dưa, Hạt Bí)
You may notice the appearance of these seeds in many Vietnamese households during Lunar New Year. Melon seeds and pumpkin seeds are usually placed on a plate and served during talk with guests. As its outer is a hard shell, ones must use their teeth flexibly to extract the inner part of the seed. Truthfully, the popping sound of cracked shells becomes the engine of New Year conversations. And when every Lunar New Year passes, melon and pumpkin seeds are indispensable snacks at class. The seeds then become the engine of the chitchat among students.
Hopefully this article brings you more interesting and useful information about an unique feature of food culture in Vietnam. How about you? How are school snacks in your country? Please share with Vietnam Track.
Writer: Linh Dang.
Translators: Diem Nguyen, Nhat Nguyen.