Saigoneer

A Food Folk Tale: How a Poor Farmer Traded Starfruit for Gold

In Vietnam, fruits, especially those of the oddly shaped variety, come with a story. From pineapple to watermelon, there’s not a snack in this country that doesn’t come with a lesson attached. The juicy, yellow-green starfruit is no different.

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A Food Folk Tale: The Savage Clapback That Turned a Girl Into a Pineapple

Growing up in Vietnam, it seems that everything – from common household objects to fruits – has an origin story. Some of these local folk tales have a decidedly romantic angle, but others – like the legend of the pineapple – serve as a cautionary tale for children who misbehave.

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Viet Nam Mien Ngon: A Journey in Watercolor Through Vietnam's Diverse Cuisine

Vietnam has long been an enthralling destination for foodies near and far – just ask Anthony Bourdain, the globetrotting New York chef who has repeatedly professed his love for the Southeast Asian country's eclectic food culture, or Linh Nguyen, the Fulbright scholar whose Vietnamese cookbook recently became an Amazon bestseller.

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Watch out for These 5 Vietnamese Food-Related Superstitions

Every culture has its own customs, superstitions and traditions, some of which are so time-honored that even their strictest followers aren’t really clear on where the etiquette comes from. Vietnam certainly has its fair share of food-related rules, borne out of good manners and, occasionally, superstition. While you could probably write a book on the full list of Vietnamese food superstitions, here are just a few taboos and the reasons behind them.

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Taiwan Struggles to Combat Locals' Addiction to Cancer-Causing Betel Nuts

The Taiwanese government continues to wage a war against betel nut addiction, but considering the cultural ties to the native plant, it is proving incredibly difficult.

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Bánh Cuốn, Chee Cheong Fun and Pork Intestine Rice Rolls: A Sprawling Family Tree

One of Vietnam’s most common breakfast foods, bánh cuốn, might not save a life – not in the way that a bowl of hearty phở can – but the silky rice rolls sure do make living easier.

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[Video] A Day in the Life of Vietnam's Bánh Tráng Artisans

Rice paper has been a mainstay of Vietnam cuisine, with consumers often preferring homemade versions over industrial made ones, which has created a thriving cottage industry in the Mekong Delta.

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A Food Folk Tale: Vietnam’s Unexpected Watermelon Tycoon

If you’ve been around a traditional Vietnamese household during Tet, you have probably noticed the presence of gargantuan, child-sized, dark green watermelons on the altar. These behemoths are both intimidating and delicious; that is, if one remembers to cut them up during the holiday and not leave them out for months like my mom did one year. However, not many know that the origin story behind this juicy berry – yes, watermelons are, indeed, berries – is rooted in a fascinating folk tale that takes place in ancient Vietnam during the days of the Hung Kings.

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Bò Bía: A Piece of Saigon's Hokkien Heritage in a Simple Street Food Roll

Historically Saigon has been a busy trading hub that attracts merchants from all over the region, and the city's culinary repertoire is a smorgasbord of eclectic cultural influences. In the latest installment of our Food History series, Saigoneer takes a closer look at the history of a refreshing street treat that’s both delicious and healthy: bò bía.

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Meet Linh Nguyen, the Fulbright Scholar Spreading Vietnamese Culture Through Food

Linh Nguyen is a Fulbright scholar, blogger and writer whose first book, Lemongrass, Ginger and Mint Vietnamese Cookbook: Classic Vietnamese Street Food Made at Home, became an Amazon bestseller after selling out on the first day of its release.

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Saigon’s Craft Beer Scene Strikes a Balance Between Foreign Brews and Vietnamese Tastes

“It’s bitter,” says De, a resident of Go Vap District, after taking a sip of a locally brewed India Pale Ale at Quan Ut Ut. “I’m not sure I’m ready for it,” he adds sincerely.

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