When travelling to a new country, food tasting is a must for every tourist, and Vietnam fortunately is a heaven of street food. You already know that. But we have more customs than those...
1. Slurp Your Noodles
One of the most important ‘table manners’ in Vietnam is slurping. The Vietnamese call it "húp". Contrary to Western standards, there’s nothing rude, disgusting or inelegant about slurping. In fact, it’s joyful, respectful, and practical too. So the next time you sit down to enjoy a bowl of one of Vietnam’s famous noodle soups, remember these 6 Reasons to Slurp ‘n’ Suck:
- Everyone else does it.
- Eat it while it’s hot: slurping allows you to cool your noodles and eat them at the same time.
- Eating noodles is all about pleasure and indulgence: to slurp is to enjoy.
- The broth is everything: slurping is a way of making sure you don’t lose the juice.
- Give it some air: slurping exposes the noodles and broth to oxygen, thus releasing more flavour.
- Be nosy: taste is mostly smell; when you slurp, your nose is closer to the bowl.
2. Wait for all to enjoy dishes together
Do not come late in any occasion, especially you are invitied a meal when visiting a local house. People will wait until you come out. Then you and they start that meal. For family members, if one goes home late, others will give a seperate meal with full dishes but smaller portion for him/her. Then start a dinner first. We do not let the remaining food for the late.
3. Say an invitation before eating
This is so true for youngster when they have to say invitation to the eldests first, then their parents/uncles/aunts, followed by invitation for siblings and cousins. Everyone finish invitation, meal starts.
4. Stay at table until everyone finish meal.
Even you already ended your meal. We start together, we finish together. That creates the comfort for everyone and people are not distracted when you stand up and leave. What do you do when finishing meal? Watching? Waiting for leaving? No, you join with conversation or just listen. No mobile phone though lots of teenagers ignore others by surfing internet by your mobile phone. So impolite!
5. When enjoy fish, do not put fish upside down.
That is a signal of unlucky thing. Vietnamese fishmen believe that their boat will be upside down like that when they go fishing.
6. All dishes will be placed at a huge food plate.
We called that plate "mâm cơm". Based on thousand years of history, we establish sharing behaviors. When collect all dishes into a big plate, then understand that people will enjoy that plate together, we feel the belonging spirit of commons that create a strength in mental aspect.
7. Everyone will share one bowl of sauce.
There is no terrible thing here when we dip our food in the same bowl of sauce. We never dip the whole food, also our chopsticks into that bowl. We just dip in a quick way with half of food portion, to make sure that hygiene and not infected.