Vietnamese food reflects the culture’s desire for balance and the yin and yang, with a focus on finding the perfect mix of spicy, sour, bitter, salty, and sweet. Likewise, they strive to incorporate five colors, appeal to the five senses with meals, and combine cooling elements with warming elements. Soy sauce, shrimp paste, a fermented sauce called nuoc mam, rice, fruit, vegetables, and meat are prevalent, while dairy and oil are rare. Known for their use of fresh herbs, Vietnamese cooks commonly add ginger, mint, lemongrass, coriander, cinnamon, chili, lime, and basil to dishes.
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