Nutrition Articles

Dining Out: Vietnamese Cuisine

Restaurant-Specific Strategies

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Dishes are a mixture of Far East and French flavors, with subtle flavors with fresh—but not overpowering—spiciness. These are not usually very heavy meals.
Common Ingredients:

Rice, seafood, lemongrass, pork, chicken, beef and lots of herbs and spices are accompanied by dipping sauces, bean sprouts, mint and garlic.
Hidden Dangers:
  • Clay-pot dishes are often high in fat and sodium, and the meat is often fried.
  • Both Ga Chien (crispy chicken and plum sauce) and Cuu Xao Lan (curried lamb and veggies in coconut milk) pack 900 calories and 40 grams of fat.
  • Prawn fritters
  • Deep-fried spring rolls
  • Creamy coconut curries

Healthy Finds:
  • Pho (beef or chicken soup with rice noodles) is flavorful and filling.
  • Add sauces and seasonings to Bun (grilled pork, shrimp or beef over rice noodles, topped with nuts).
  • Grilled Lemongrass Chicken includess rice papers, vegetables and herbs with a flavorful choice of dipping sauces.
  • Meat that is sautéed in broth instead of oil
  • Thit Heo Goi Baup Cai (spicy pork cabbage rolls): 200 calories and 7g fat
  • Canh Chay (veggie and tofu soup): 80 calories and 3g fat
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Member Comments

    I love Vietnamese food! Good to know that one cuisine on the list is actually healthier than I supposed (ie usu cooked in broth versus oil comment in the article). Foodlovermary- it sounds like the fruit you are describing might be a 'pomelo', which is sometimes called a Chinese grapefruit and sometimes goes by any number of other names. Does the peel burn your lips like fire? They are available in (at least the eastern) United States. - 1/25/2010 12:08:20 AM
  • I lived for 18 months in Vietnam and lost weight without thinking about it. Phu is great and it is soup. I have been home in US for 3 months and my weight is going up. Many finds in Vietnam are very healthy. Spring Rolls taste great but are fried and often greasy. The fresh spring roll is much healthier. All the food is full of fresh vegtables and their is lots of great fruit available all year long. My favorite is a grapefruit like fruit that is bigger and dryer and somewhat sweeter than here. But with Gert I must be careful what I eat. So come to Vietnam and loose weight!!! - 2/5/2008 10:50:16 PM

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