Vietnamese cuisine features a brilliant combination of aromatics, heat, sweet and sourness. As with many other Asian foods, the delicate balance of sweet and savory, cooling and warming, fresh and fermented–is the key to making the perfect dish. Here are some of the pantry essentials you’ll need to get started making a flavorful Vietnamese supper.
Rice is a staple in most Asian dishes, and Vietnamese cuisine is no exception. Even dessert features a sticky (glutinous) kind of rice. When it comes to building a Vietnamese pantry, a bag of jasmine rice is a good place to start.
Vermicelli Rice Noodles – If it’s not rice you’ll be eating with your meal, then it’s definitely rice noodles. These thin, round noodles are perfect for spring rolls, hot noodle soups, hot pots, and salads.
Fish Sauce (ka nur-erk mahn) – Fish sauce can be potent, but used sparingly it becomes an essential to authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Fish sauce is very salty and imbues a meal with its savory flavor. It can be combined with a dish during the cooking process or used for dipping.
Coconut Milk – When it comes to the sweet delicacies like rice pudding, banana or sticky rice, coconut milk always does the trick. It provides an ideal creamy texture and a very distinct flavor.
Hoisin Sauce – A popular condiment for Vietnamese Pho, Hoisin sauce is a thick, sweet and savory sauce that adds a ton of flavor.
Dried Mushrooms – Dried mushrooms come in many varieties and can add a crispy delight to your salad or meal. Store them for up to a year and pop them out whenever you see fit.
Tamarind Sauce – You may not be familiar with Tamarind, but you probably already eat it. It’s commonly found in worchester sauce.This tart sauce is essential for marinades, dipping sauces and curries.
Rice Vinegar – You’d be hard pressed to find a Vietnamese kitchen without rice vinegar. It can be added to stir fry or used as a finisher for your dipping sauce combinations.
Spices – Whether it’s ginger, garlic or cinnamon, you won’t be able to cook Vietnamese style without a few spices. An all spice powder that includes a blend of options is also a great essential to have in the pantry.
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop shop for all of your Korean and asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to better serve our customers. Opened since 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, email us at LottePlaza.com.