Other common ingredients in Vietnamese cooking include black pepper (mainly in the north), hot chili, coconut milk, limes, lemon grass, tamarind and cane sugar, supplemented by asparagus and potatoes, courtesy of the French influence.
Methods of cooking vary from simmering or boiling to frying or grilling.
Stir-frying using a wok and chopsticks is common.
Many European influences can be found in Vietnamese dishes, including sauces, meats, cold roast pork, patés and baguettes (French rolls).
At the other end of the scale, in some parts of the country there is still plenty of demand for exotic meats such as dog, turtle and snake.