Vietnamese Food Glossary

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <clay@panix.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

Vietnamese Food Glossary

Last Update: Thu Jun 5 14:06:18 2008 EDT

Vietnamese WordMeaning
bánhCake, bread, pie, pastry
bánh phởRice noodles, rice sticks
bánh trángRice paper used as Chả Giò wrappers. Rice papers are thin wrappers made from rice flour (sometimes in combination with tapioca starch), salt and water and are sun-dried on bamboo trays, which give them their distinctive pattern. They're available in round, square and triangular shapes. Dried rice papers are reconstituted in warm water until pliable.
Cow, beef
bọcTo wrap, cover, pack as in Cáng Cua Bọc Tôm, crab covered with shrimp
búnSoft noodles made of rice flour, vermicelli. Sold as rice sticks, these dried small, wiry noodles are used extensively in Vietnamese cuisine to make noodle salads and soups. More fragile than pasta, they need less cooking time.
Fish
cá mắmSalted fish
Eggplant
cà chuaTomato
canhVietnamese soup or broth
cuaCrab
cua bểSea Crab
cháoRice gruel, congee
chanhLime or lemon
chiênTo fry
chuaTo be sour, acidic
cơmCooked rice, food
dònTo be crispy
dầu hàoOyster Sauce. A thick brown sauce made from oyster extract, salt, sugar and spices, this seasoning ingredient is used to add savoriness to Chinese-style dishes. It is used to coat meats and seafood, giving them a shiny, succulent look.
đậu phóngPeanut
đầuHead
đầu cáFish head
Chicken
gỏiA Special Vietnamese dish made of raw fish and vegetables
gỏi xoàiGreen mango salad
gừngGinger
hấpTo steam
heoPig
hànhScallion, spring onion
hành hươngShallot
khoTo boil with nước mắm or tương
khôTo be or become dry
khô mựcDried squid
khoai tâyPotato
lá chanhLime leaves
khoai chiênPotato chips or French fries
lá lốtชะพลู (cha plu) in Thai, is a wild pepper leaf, Piper sarmentosum. Sometimes wrongly identified as Piper betle, which doesn't have glossy and tender leaves. The leaves are heart-shaped, light green when young and shiny dark green when mature. The upper side of the leaf is smooth while the underside is somewhat rough. The leaf has a pleasant fragrance and a refreshing taste. I once had it served with laab muu as a wrapper for the minced pork.
mắm nêmAnchovy sauce. Don't confuse it with fish sauce!
mắm tômShrimp paste
măng tâyAsparagus
nấuTo cook, boil
nấmMushroom
nướcWater
nước mắmFish sauce
nước chấmSauce
nước dùngBroth
nước màuCaramel Sauce
nước tươngYellow bean sauce
nướngRoast, barbeque, broil, grill, toast
ngâmTo soak, marinade
ngòCilantro
ớtPepper, chile
ớt khôDried chiles
phiTo fry [onions], brown
phởNoodles served with beef, chicken, etc.
rauLeafy green vegetables
rau cảiMustard green
rau cải-xoongWatercress
rau cầnCelery
rau diếpLettuce
rau muốngSpinach
rau quếBasil. The Vietnamese grow a sharp-tasting basil often called Thai basil. Its leaves are long and narrow and tinged with bronze and its flowers are purple.
rau rămVietnamese cilantro (Persicaria odorata, syn. Polygonum odoratum, Polygonaceae) — Also called Vietnamese coriander, Vietnamese mint, Cambodian mint and hot mint. In Malaysia and Singapore it is called daun kesom or daun laksa (laksa leaf). In Thailand, it is called pak pai (ผักไผ่).
rau thơmMint leaves, fragrant greens, herbs — The Vietnamese eat an enormous amount of fresh herbs. A family meal often consists of a table salad, which includes lettuce and different varieties of mint and basil. To eat, diners just snip off the sprigs and add to their bowls or plates, creating little salads as they go. Fresh herbs are also used as garnishes and accompaniments to soups, salads, and noodle dishes. Herbs common to the Vietnamese table include: Thai basil, lemongrass, mint, saw-leaf, and Vietnamese coriander. Garlic, hot peppers, shallots, and scallions also play a key role in the cuisine.
sốt tươngHoisin sauce.
sườnRib
taiEar, as in Tai Heo Ngâm Chua (Pickled Pigs' Ears)
táiRare meat
thịtPork, meat
tộBig bowl
tômShrimp or prawn
tươngThick soy sauce, soybean jam
tương hotBean sauce made from whole or crushed fermented soybeans, this sharp-tasting sauce is used to season stir-fries and to make sauces. When used in a dipping sauce (such as one served with salad rolls), it's generally cooked with vinegar, puréed onions and sometimes sticky rice, then garnished with chilies and ground peanuts.
tương ớt tớiGround Chili Paste. An important condiment, this fiery sauce is made with coarsely ground red chilies, garlic and vinegar. It's used to garnish sauces and noodle and rice dishes.
viênTo roll into balls, as in Thịt Bò Viên (Beef Balls)
vớiWith, together with
xảLemongrass
xảTo wash, rinse
xàoTo stir-fry [sliced meats] with onions, vegetables and a small amount of sauce
xèoRice cake


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