Traditional family meal is as vital to Vietnamese people as breathing. The two words “reunited” have great significance to any Vietnamese family when they are gathered around a round tray of many foods.
In addition to supplying the body with sustenance, eating is a way for family members to express their love for one another. Traditional family meal culture is an indispensable part of Vietnamese life. They focus on reunion and cohesion among family members, therefore, in a day, dinner is considered the most important and indispensable in every family. This is a time for people to show care, love, and commitment to each other.
What does a Vietnamese traditional family meal consist of?
Traditional family meals often consist of three courses, each prepared with a variety of flavors, enough quality, and yin and yang balance. The first dish consists of savory items that are braised or stir-fried and contain ingredients that are common to dishes like meat, seafood, veggies, etc. Boiling is the second dish, and a bowl of soup is the third.
With the structure of the dish like this, it is usually cut into small pieces, both salty like stew or bland like soup or stir-fry, convenient for group dining rather than individual portions, making it difficult to divide into separate rations. The dish is also low in meat, mainly consisting of vegetables and rice, so people often refer to Vietnamese meals as “rice and vegetables” or “rice and soup”. Especially, the soup dish is very unique, almost only the Vietnamese have the way of eating soup with rice.
Rice is of course the most important food for Vietnamese people, like bread for Europeans and Americans. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all simply called “ăn cơm” which means “enjoy the meal with rice is the main dish” because the most important and abundant ingredient in the meals is rice. Vegetables, meat, and fish are accompanying items or occasionally paired with sticky rice on special occasions, then called “eating for pleasure” or “changing up the meal”.
What are the differences among Asian traditional family meals?
The daily meals of Vietnamese people are quite similar to some countries in the Asian region, such as South Korea. Like Vietnamese people, South Koreans consider rice as the main food in their daily meals. Besides rice, there are also various dishes such as stewed dishes, stir-fried dishes, fried dishes, vegetable dishes, and soup. The special point is that besides the main dishes, there are always accompanying side dishes that cannot be missed such as kimchi, pickled radish, dried fish, etc. These dishes are like a way for them to increase the seasoning. Therefore, a Korean meal has quite a lot of dishes.
The Korean rice dish is different from other countries in that they not only cook rice but also mix barley, beans, bobo, or peas,… called japgokbap or ogokbap. You just need to soak all kinds of beans and grains and then cook them together with white rice. You can add a little salt to enhance the flavor.
Completely different from India, due to strong religious influences, beef and pork are not consumed in India. Animal-based foods mainly consist of lamb, goat, chicken, and various types of seafood. The way Indians cook rice is also very special. Before cooking, the rice will be sautéed with oil or butter and then water is added to cook it. When the rice is almost cooked, they will add spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper, mint leaves… and cook them with meat, fish, vegetables and fruits.
Indian dishes often have very bright and eye-catching colors due to being marinated with various spices. The way of decorating food is also very elaborate.
A traditional family meal at Gia
Somewhere in our minds, the simple and familiar flavors of a traditional family meal are the taste of love and family affection. And at Gia, intertwined with traditional values, are completely new, exotic flavor experiences that we always strive to discover for ourselves every day, through the exploration of rich local ingredients.
Diners coming to Gia restaurant will go on a culinary journey with a seasonal menu that will be changed every three months. We use seasonal local ingredients and spices as the foundation. Diners will be served more than 10 dishes with different stories implied by our chefs. By using modern cooking techniques as a fresh approach to Vietnamese cuisine, Gia welcomes diners to a delightful and creative culinary journey.
“The cuisine originates from its ingredients” – this is the core value of Gia Restaurant in the stages of developing the menu. Ms. Sam Tran, Gia’s head chef, has researched and used the traditional ingredients for all the dishes creating a unique experience and a harmonic blending of modern cooking techniques and heritage Vietnamese cuisines.
Impressions of a dish are always associated with emotions or memories with loved ones. In the cozy dining space at Gia, we infuse many flavors for guests to bring in sounds and images associated with memories with their families. So that, in the long strides of life, those peaceful memories will become a valuable anchor and the most precious memories of each person.