Three Vietnamese Dishes with funny names: Eat and laugh
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    Mar 19, 2018

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Everybody knows that we Vietnamese are proud of our food. But there is one thing you should also know: we tend to name our dishes in a very funny way. Let's have a look at these three examples:

Bò né - Beef dish (English)

You might find it a bit similar to: 牛の皿 - Ushi no sara (Japanese)

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Very interesting name! "Bò" is beef. "Né" is the action of how people react to avoid oil, which literally means “dodging”. When this dish is served, the oil on the pan is still hot and boiling. When I ate this dish for the first time in my life, I wondered why people called this dish as "beef dodging”. My friend said that “When you eat, you must dodge away from oil”. I thought they were joking :) But seriously, it is true!

Khổ Qua (Mướp Đắng) nhồi thịt/cá - Bitter melon with stuffed pork/fish

The bitter melon has different names in different languages:

  • kǔguā - 苦瓜 (Chinese)
  • nigauri (Japanese)
  • cerasee (Carribbean)
  • marajin - มะระจีน (Thai Lan)

Kho_Qua_1_40 (2).png

In Mekong Delta - the South of Vietnam, people tend to cook Khổ Qua as one of the main dishes in Tet Holiday. Interestingly, the reason why "Khổ Qua" is chosen to cook lays on the meaning of its Vietnamese name.

  • "Khổ": difficulty, pain or suffer
  • "Qua": pass, finish, or go through "Khổ Qua" sounds like: all suffers and difficulties finally pass. By eating this veggy, Mekong people hope that a new year will start differently with new lucks, new opportunities.

Have a trouble today? Why don't try this Bitter Melon ? We Vietnamese are sure that your difficulty shall pass soon. :)

Cơm tấm – Broken Rice (English)

Com_Tam_40 (2).png

  • First question: Who won American Master Chef in 2012? Google it now!
  • Second question: what did she cook in the final round?
  • Here it is: Cơm Tấm - the Vietnamese most popular rice dish for breakfast.

Everyone eats rice (cơm) in Vietnam. So what makes “Cơm Tấm” become special? "Tấm" refers to the broken rice grains. But there is nothing wrong with broken rice! Instead, this broken rice dish is much loved by most Vietnamese! A dish of "Cơm tấm" with ribs, fried eggs and fish sauce will get you ready to start a new day. Today, Saigon people enjoy eating this dish so much that they make a joke: "cơm tấm is for breakfast, for lunch, and…surely, for dinner"

*Artist: Huynh Kim Lien – Kaa Ilustration

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