There are more and more Asian eateries these days, and you’re probably wondering: Is Vietnamese food healthy compared to the usual American food? Of course, Vietnam is well known for its famous noodle bowls dishes such as Pho, Bun Bo Hue, and Banh Mi sandwiches. Yet these are just the tip of the iceberg of Vietnamese cuisine. So let’s look at Vietnamese food vs. American food regarding overall healthiness.
Main Course and Side Dishes
The American diet is known for its high levels of meat and fat, while Vietnamese cuisine is known for being lighter and healthier. American cuisine is based around protein, with a smaller side of vegetables, while Vietnamese dishes start with rice, the largest portion of the meal.
While American cuisine is known for its large portions, it starts with protein as the largest side, followed by a small portion of carbohydrates and vegetables. Protein can come in many forms: chicken, beef, seafood, pork, or tofu. The vegetable portion of an American plate is usually around half a plate; the protein is about a quarter, and the carb usually takes up another quarter.
In Vietnamese cuisine, it’s the opposite—rice is the largest portion, followed by protein and vegetables. This is because Vietnamese cuisine starts with rice as its base. Protein and vegetables are next in size, about a quarter of your plate (or even less). This eating style means Vietnamese meals are often served in bowls with broth-based soups like Pho or Bun Bo Hue, then paired with smaller dishes such as salads or meat-based sides. In American cuisine, soup is still considered a side dish rather than a main course. As a result, American cuisine has fewer soup options and is usually replaced with french fries, baked potatoes, and mashed potatoes.
Pho Vs. Clam Chowder
In American dishes, Pho is often compared to Clam Chowder, as both soups are served with noodles.
Pho is a noodle soup dish that contains rice noodles, chicken or beef broth, and herbs. The broth in Pho is typically made from beef bones that are boiled for hours to achieve a rich beefy flavor. Pho can also be made with different types of meat—beef, chicken, or a combination—and contain other ingredients such as onions, ginger, cilantro, and scallions.
Flat rice noodles are served in most types of Pho dishes. They are about the thickness of spaghetti and can be either round or square. You can use either rice noodles or wheat noodles for your Pho, but we recommend using rice noodles as they tend to be softer than wheat noodles, so they absorb more flavor from the broth and become softer as well.
This noodles and soup dish is often served with lime wedges, basil, hoisin sauce, chili or hot sauce, and bean sprouts.
Clam chowder is a traditional American soup. It typically consists of milk, cream, potatoes, onions, celery, and clams. The milk and cream are used to create a creamy base for the soup. The clams are steamed in a small amount of water until they open, then removed from their shells and chopped into small pieces. Chopped clams, diced potatoes, and other vegetables like carrots and celery are added to the soup. Clam chowder is often seasoned with tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper.
The noodles served with clam chowder vary depending on where and what type you eat. Clam chowder can be served with various noodles, including traditional egg noodles or Italian-style elbow macaroni. The choice of noodles will depend on personal preference and whether the soup is intended to be served hot or cold. For example, in New England, clam chowder is typically served with a potato-based dumpling, but in other regions, it can be served with rice or pasta.
In America, we tend to use ketchup, mustard, and tartar sauce as our go-to condiments. We put them on burgers and fries, sandwiches and salads—whenever we want to add extra flavor or moisture to our eating.
Condiments are an important part of the American diet but play a different role in Vietnamese cuisine. In Vietnam, however, it’s more common for people to use soy sauce or fish sauce as a condiment. These salty liquids are poured over noodles and rice dishes and added to soups. Sometimes they’re used as dipping sauces for spring rolls or grilled meats. Soy sauce is used as a marinade for meat and seafood.
Salad dressing is a staple of the American diet, with many options available to customers. However, while salad dressing can be found in many Vietnamese dishes, it is less common and widely available than in America.
Salad dressing is a condiment that is used to dress salads. It usually consists of an oil and vinegar base but can also be made with mayonnaise or sour cream. Salad dressing is typically used to add flavor and texture to a salad. It can also be a dipping sauce for breadsticks and croutons or drizzled over grilled meats or fish. The most popular salad dressing flavors include Italian, Ranch, Caesar, and Thousand Island.
Italian Dressing is made from oil, vinegar, garlic salt, and oregano. It’sIt’s often served on pasta salads or tossed with greens and veggies like cucumbers or tomatoes. On the other hand, Ranch Dressing is made with buttermilk, mayonnaise, and spices such as garlic powder and onion powder. It’s commonly used in salads that contain chicken but can also be used as a dip for vegetables or crackers if desired.
A typical Vietnamese salad consists of vegetables mixed with rice noodles or vermicelli pasta. The vegetables used for this dish include cucumbers, lettuce leaves, and carrots.
Salad dressing is a very important part of Vietnamese cuisine. The dressings are prepared with various ingredients, including Vietnamese herbs and spices, fish sauce, and other sauces. Most of the salads in Vietnam are served with a light dressing consisting of peanut oil, lime juice, garlic, shallots, and chili peppers. However, in some regions of Vietnam, it is common to see heavier dressings like soy sauce added to the salad. Here are some popular Vietnamese salad dressings:
Dipping Sauce: A dipping sauce is made from fish sauce, chilies, garlic, and lime juice. It can be used on a salad or as a dip for spring rolls or fried rice.
Shrimp Paste Dressing: Shrimp paste is one of the most common ingredients in Vietnamese cooking. You’ll find it in many different sauces and dressings. This dressing includes shrimp paste, garlic, sugar, salt, and other spices to make a tangy sauce that will complement any meat dish nicely.
Poppy Seed Dressing: Poppy seeds are another staple ingredient in Vietnamese cooking, and they’re often used as an ingredient in dressings like this one which pairs them with lime juice and sugar along with other spices like ginger root powder and coriander seed powder
If you are wondering is Vietnamese food healthy, we conclude that their cuisine is generally healthier than American food. It is more balanced, contains fewer processed foods, and has more vegetables than American cuisine. In addition, Vietnamese food uses fewer preservatives, sugar, sodium, and oil than its American counterpart.