Traditional Vietnam Table Manner and Dining Tips

Vietnamese Foods

In spite of the modernization and industrialization process, traditional table manners are still preserved and passed down from generation to the next generation. Discover Vietnam, it is for sure that you also want to know more about Vietnam culture. Through the article, Ecohost will bring you an introduction to Vietnamese meals, table manners, and some tips during your Vietnam local tour when you share the meals with the host.

Vietnamese Meals

vietnamese meals

Vietnamese people usually have 3 meals including breakfast, lunch, and dinner without any tea or coffee break. Food for breakfast is very diverse and provides enough energy for a working day such as pho (traditional noodles), banh mi (Vietnamese baguette), xoi (sticky rice), banh cuon (steamed rice rolls), etc. They have lunch in some restaurants or bring their own lunch boxes to work or school due to a busy life. Hence, dinner is the main meal when family members gather and you can observe Vietnam table manners.

After meals, Vietnamese people normally enjoy green tea. The flavor is bitter, so it is easy to get trouble sleeping. When the host pours you more tea, you should finish your cup. When you pour the tea yourself, remember to pour the host first.

Distinctive features of a Vietnamese Meal

Rice Plays an irreplaceable Role

Rice Plays an irreplaceable Role

It comes as a surprise for Westerners that rice is added in every meal in Vietnam. The reason is that Vietnam relies on wet rice cultivation. Rice is also used to process into many dishes such as soup, rice noodles, etc. Along the street, you can see lots of eateries.

Vegetable and Meat are Included

vegetable and meat

Thanks to our tropical climate, Vietnam offers a variety of fresh vegetables all year round. As a result, one dish of boiled vegetables or stir-fried ones and one bowl of soup are displayed on the tray. In addition, meals also have one or two main dishes such as stewed pork, boiled chicken or fried fish.

Food Tastes Vary Among Different Regions

Food Tastes Vary Among Different Regions

Due to geographical and cultural differences, food tastes among different regions are so various. While Northern people prefer salty food, people in Center Vietnam tend to consume spicy flavor and Southern people like sweet one. Discover from the North to South to get the differences between their flavors.

Some Important Table Manner in Vietnam

If you consider a Vietnam eco tour, you will probably share some meals with our local host. Therefore, it is necessary to know more about Vietnam table manners, rules, and etiquette to show respect to the locals and enrich your knowledge.

Wait for the Table Arrangement before Sitting down

Traditionally, the Vietnamese always place all dishes at the center of the table so that everyone can reach them. The host will invite you to your seat. Remember to wait for the oldest people to sit and start first.

Wait for the Table Arrangement before Sitting down

Pass your Bowl with both Hands

During the meal, try to pass your bowl with both hands since it shows respects to the person taking it.

Never Put the Chopsticks Vertically on a bowl

Chopsticks are used to transfer dishes to your bowls and Vietnamese people usually put them on the top of the bowl. Putting the chopsticks vertically on a bowl of rice is regarded as an act of disrespect in Vietnam because it looks like incense sticks on an altar. You should not tap the chopsticks on the edge of the bowl since it brings bad luck and calls for ghosts’ appearance.
In case you cannot use the chopstick, you can ask the hosts for spoons and forks.

Never Flip the Fish on the Plate

If you discover a coastal area of Vietnam, remember the rule. This action looks like the image of fishermen’ flipping vessel. Hence, it is one of the taboos when eating fish to avoid bad things.

Do not Point the Chopsticks to Anyone

It is impolite to point your chopsticks to others during the meals. This action can make the host upset and shows your rudeness as well.

Do not Dig the Dish

In a collective culture, it is rude to dig into the dish to look for good parts. It is considered selfish and not thinking about others. There is no need to do that since the host will definitely spend your guests on good things on the dish.

Stay until Other people Finish

It is rude to leave the table when others still enjoy meals since they think that you do not want to talk to them. Therefore, stay and talk to them to learn more about Vietnamese culture.

Say Thanks to the Host after the Meals

It is highly recommended that you should express your sincere thanks and show your satisfaction to the hosts by praising their dedication and skillfulness. You can offer to help them clean although they won’t let you do that.

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