Vietnam is a small country in Southeast Asia. It is a country that was established thousands of years ago and was once known as part of the French Indo-Chine Colonies from 1887-1954. Throughout this period, the French introduced foods that influenced Vietnamese cooking and created some major changes in Vietnamese cuisine.
The country has three various regions: the North, the Central and the South and they differ in climate, terrain and natural resources. These differences determine the kinds of food available and the cooking style of each region. The specialty of South Vietnam (Saigon, present day Ho Chi Minh City) is HU TIEU that is a rice noodle soup cooked with pork, chicken or seafood served with fresh herbs and bean sprouts. In Central Vietnam (Hue), there is BUN BO HUE that is a peppery beef soup with thick rice noodles served with thin sliced cabbages, bean sprouts and fresh herbs. In North Vietnam (Ha Noi), the specialty is PHO, which is considered a national dish of Vietnam – it is a rice noodle soup in a savory beef broth served with thin cuts of beef. Pho is said to be a Vietnamese adaptation of the French soup “pot au feu” (pot on the fire), which the French brought to Vietnam when they came to rule the country. History has it that the word “feu” became “Pho.”