Southern cuisine exhibits a subtlety defined by the delicate selection and combination of flavors. In contrast to the light and balanced tones prevalent in Northern cuisine or the salty and spicy notes characteristic of the Central region’s humid climate, Southern culinary traditions distinctly lean towards a clear preference for sweetness. The Mekong Delta region is somewhat sweeter than the rest of the region, but the spicy and salty taste is moderate. It is the result of a process of discovering, creating and adapting to the environment, thereby clearly showing the culinary identity of each region.
Southern people’s typical sweet taste
The influence of the weather
Due to its proximity to the equator, the South of Vietnam experiences a humid tropical monsoon environment, which results in very hot temperatures. So they strongly believe that the sweetness will temper the sweltering heat.
The influence of many cultures
South Vietnam converges a lot of different ethnic groups, including those of foreign origin, especially the Khmer and the Chinese people. In addition, dishes from China, Cambodia or Thailand are also modified according to the way people eat here when coming to the South.
Typical sweetness in the dish of Southern cuisine
Despite the wide range of flavors, the excited sweetness of sugar and the fat of coconut milk still make Southern cuisine famous. People here enjoy sweet flavors, hence sugar is frequently used as a condiment when cooking. Because of that distinctive processed sweetness, the sweet and fatty foods of Vietnamese traditional sweet soup made from pomelo, corn, etc. are famous everywhere.
Typical salty taste in the dish of Southern cuisine
The salty taste in the dishes of the cuisine here comes from the richness of pure fish sauce, one thing is for sure that you will never forget is the hard salty of the Vietnamese caramelized pork dip for vegetables. Or spiciness must be throat-burning like chili or black pepper; bitterness must also be distinct like bitter melon and bitter vegetables.
The reason why Southerners had such a taste in the past was because in the time of reclaiming wasteland, they had to work hard, and life was extremely difficult and intense. Although the dishes are lighter and the flavor of the South has changed a little, some of the region’s traditional culinary elements are still there.
Southern cuisine is varied according to the season
The South is divided into two distinct seasons, the flood season and the main harvest season. Each season brings unique natural products that create an attractive thing for Southern dishes.
Every season when the water is floating, local people can enjoy rustic dishes from typical ingredients of the season such as hot pot of Linh fish sauce and sesbania sesban flower, vermicelli soup, water lily braised with fish sauce. Linh fish with its firm and sweet meat combined with the typical sweet and fresh of sesbania sesban flower makes for a delicious hot pot staple of Southern cuisine.
In the harvest season, Southern cuisine becomes more diverse with fatty and fresh fish or vegetables or flowers that are cooked in many different ways. The famous dishes of the South in the harvest season such as grilled snakehead fish, and grilled catfish.
Southern Vietnamese cuisine stands as a vibrant symphony of flavors, intricately shaped by the region’s tropical climate, cultural diversity, and historical resilience. The distinctive sweetness, accompanied by the interplay of salty, spicy, and bitter notes, contributes to a culinary complexity that sets Southern dishes apart.
For a genuine taste, Gia Restaurant invites you to savor the authentic and diverse flavors that define Southern Vietnamese cuisine. Visit us to experience the vibrant symphony of tastes that make this culinary tradition truly special!