Rice and fish sauce rank among the most popular food staples in Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese cooking also celebrates a wide variety of preparation styles, including fried dishes such as cha ca, spring rolls called nem ran, and broth-based applications, such as the world-famous pho.
Vietnamese cuisine depends on a number of vegetables indigenous to Asia, especially Southeast Asia. These include bamboo shoots, kohlrabi, chayote root, water spinach and bitter melon. Chinese broccoli, cucumber and Ceylon spinach are also popular. Additionally, Vietnamese cooks incorporate an enormous range of aromatics, herbs and spices to develop their flavors, including cilantro, lemongrass, basil, lime leaf and dill.
French colonial influence is particularly evident in Vietnamese cooking, especially in soup-like preparations such as pho. In this case, Vietnamese noodles are paired with a broth inspired by French meat broths, stocks or consommé. Additionally, the staple dish banh mi is a distinctly Vietnamese spin on the pairing of French baguette and pâté, with the Vietnamese often introducing pork or fish as the protein. Vietnamese people do not typically eat fresh dairy, preferring products such as sweetened and condensed milk instead. They often match this with indigenous dark-roast coffee. Dessert commonly consists of arrays of fresh fruits such as dragonfruit, papaya, mango, pineapple and lychees.