As you plan your wedding as a Vietnamese bride or as someone marrying a Vietnamese person, you may have considered ways to incorporate Vietnamese culture into your special day. Perhaps you’ve been reading up on Vietnamese wedding traditions, or maybe you’ve picked out the perfect áo dài to wear as you walk down the aisle. One great way you can honor your or your partner’s heritage during the wedding reception is through food.
A typical Vietnamese wedding banquet includes upwards of six courses and serves food family style, meaning large platters are placed in the center of the table and people fill their own plates with their desired portions. What should those plates be filled with? That’s what this article is all about: highlighting the yummiest and most popular Vietnamese wedding food you can serve to delight your guests and honor your culture on your big day.
Whether you’re planning a traditional banquet, hunting for some unique additions to a Western menu, or just in the mood for some delicious food pictures, read on — this article has got you covered.
Before guests take their seats for the reception, offer some finger food to whet their appetites. Fried spring rolls are a popular classic and can be customized to include your favorite fillings or to provide a vegan/vegetarian option to guests who need it.
Pâté chaud, also called bánh patê sô, is another great Vietnamese appetizer option. This flaky pastry with a savory meat filling can be made in many sizes, but a bite-sized version is perfect for guests to pop in their mouths and enjoy on their way into the banquet hall.
SOUPS AND SALADS
Vietnamese cuisine has tons of options for soups and salads, so you’ll have plenty to choose from when planning your wedding menu. Popular soup options include bamboo and duck noodle, dried pig skin, and crab meat, while lotus root, chicken, cabbage, and shrimp and other seafood are all popular picks for salad ingredients.
If you and your partner are trying to represent multiple cultures in your meal offerings or want to enjoy fusion food on your wedding day, these side dishes offer a lot of flexibility to blend different flavors and create something that honors both of your culinary traditions.
If your favorite kind of meat is every kind, or if you and your partner (and both of your parents) each have a different favorite, fear not — the multi-course structure of Vietnamese wedding banquets means you can showcase several main dishes in one meal. Duck, boiled chicken, beef, and lobster are all popular choices.
PS: Don’t forget your condiments! Fish sauce and soy sauce are Vietnamese food staples and add the umami flavor the cuisine is known for.
This wouldn’t be a “by Asians, for Asians” article without a dedicated rice section, would it? Although it has Chinese origins, Yangzhou fried rice is incredibly popular in Vietnam and a common sight on wedding menus. You can serve it on its own or alongside one of your meat dishes.
For a sweeter and more symbolic option, check out gac sticky rice, also called xôi gấc. This is a sticky rice dish colored with gac melon seeds, and it’s found in Vietnamese weddings and New Year celebrations alike. The red color symbolizes good luck and happiness, and the texture ensures the new couple “sticks” together. All in all, it’s a great way to start your marriage off on an auspicious and traditional foot.
DRINKS AND DESSERT
Beer and cognac are both popular drink choices for Vietnamese weddings. For dessert, opt for fresh seasonal fruit for some natural sweetness or get even more traditional by serving bánh phu thê. This dish, which literally translates to “husband and wife cake,” is the closest thing there is to a Vietnamese wedding cake. It’s made of rice with a mung bean filling and was traditionally given by the groom as a gift to the bride, but now it’s often on the banquet menu for guests to enjoy as well
If you’re planning on a Western wedding cake instead of or in addition to these Vietnamese options, one way to still let your heritage shine through is to decorate the cake with auspicious colors like red and gold. You might also consider getting a cake topper where the couple is wearing an áo dài and áo gấm. There are so many ways to honor your culture on your special day — which ones will you be trying?
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