What is the first thing that comes into your mind when thinking about Thai and Vietnamese Cuisine? Is it the rich flavor or perhaps the level of spiciness?
For me, the first thing that comes to my mind is their crazy level of tolerance for spicy food. From a perspective of a typical Filipino, I consider their tolerance “crazy” because it would be crazy for me to handle it. I’d probably need the help of a local fire station to put out the fire in my mouth! Geeez!
Every time I go and take a bite of my favorite Goi Cuon or Pad Thai, I can’t help but wonder why the Thai and Vietnamese people prefer their cuisine to taste as such. We asked Chef Raki of Lemon Grass to to give us an insight about their way of cooking and he was more than happy to share some facts about it.
Chef Raki’s Take on Thai and Vietnamese Cuisine
- The most significant difference is that the Thais use significant amounts of ferociously spicy chili peppers in any given dish or in general, while the Vietnamese use hot chilies sparingly.
- In terms of spiciness, I would put Thai at the top and Vietnamese at a distant fourth. The Chinese, specifically from the Szechuan Region, cooking ranks second, the Koreans third, and the Japanese last.
- Both cuisines are fond of fresh herbs and vegetables. Herbs are often added after cooking or, the least, at the last minute of cooking. Some dishes are put raw for texture and flavor contrast, fondly done by the Vietnamese. They both love to use Cilantro.
- The Vietnamese have a wide use for mint. The Thai use lemongrass distinctively. They only use the white part for aromatics in cooking and on pastes.
- I find that Thai dishes are very particular about the balance of tastes, even in a single dish: a blend of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy.
- Both cuisines have made wise use of rice and not just as a starch dish. Rather, they are amazing in using it in other forms & applications like wraps & noodles.
- They may have similar ingredients but both Thai & Vietnamese execute their dipping sauce very much different in character. There are lots for different dishes that we can compare but for a simple comparison, I’ll tell you what Nuoc Cham and Nam Pla Prik is made of; Vietnamese staple dipping sauce is Nuoc Cham. It is made out of sugar, water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, and chili. The Thais on the other hand have Nam Pla Prik which is made of fish sauce, lime juice, and bird’s eye chili.
My Take Thai and Vietnamese Cuisine
I personally love this cuisine that I’d probably gain a lot of pounds if you’re going to leave me in Thailand or Vietnam. I really love the fact that they mix sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy in some dishes. The flavor is very rich and it leaves my palate wondering, “Why don’t I eat this every day?” Does it have that effect on you too?
By the way, one of my favorite restaurants that serve Thai and Vietnamese Cuisine is Lemon Grass. Follow them on social media and join the online conversation using the hashtags #LemonGrassPH and #FlavorsOfAsia for a dose of Thai and Vietnamese online goodness!
- Address: Ground Level Ayala Center Cebu (right beside Cafe Laguna rotunda area)
- Contact Number: (032) 233-8601
- Opening Hours: 10 AM to 10 PM
- Facebook Page
By the way, what fact about Thai and Vietnamese Cuisine did you find the most interesting and why?