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From France to Vietnam: 4 Vietnamese Dishes that were influenced by the French

From the country’s thriving coffee culture to the ubiquitous rice-flour baguette, the culinary culture of Vietnam reveals French influences at every turn, making this country’s cuisine ever so diverse. The Franco-Vietnamese relations began with the arrival of Catholic missionaries in Vietnam in the 17th century. France colonized Vietnam and Cambodia, forming the Indochinese Union in 1887, which set the French influence in Vietnam for the next 70 years. French colonialism influenced Vietnam in numerous ways – most noticeably in their cuisine. However, the locals took these influences and made these dishes their own. And while the two cuisines couldn’t be more different at first glance, they share far more than you would expect, regardless of history.

Coffee

The French started sipping this magical concoction in the 1600s. About 200 hundred years later it was brought over to Vietnam. And while the French usually serves it hot and black as espresso or with steamed milk as café au lait, Vietnamese coffee is customarily served cold and sweetened with rich condensed milk. Coffee drinking is now very common all around Vietnam since the quality of beans that are grown in the country’s backyard is outstanding. Today, Vietnam is the 2nd largest coffee producer in the world.

Vietnames Coffee

 

Creamy Desserts

Cooked cream desserts like bánh flan, whose name and appearance contradicts its origins as crème caramel, are typical in Vietnamese cooking. In France, these desserts are usually made with a milk and cream mixture, while in Vietnam they use coconut milk instead. Another twist that makes it extremely popular in Vietnam is the addition of coffee instead of caramel like the French do.

La Baguette

Bread is not widespread in East Asia, but when the French colonists arrived in Vietnam, they brought in their influence in the form of baguettes. However, while the French make their dough with wheat flour, Vietnamese use rice flour, giving it an entirely different flavor and texture. These baguettes are used as the base of one of the most famous Vietnamese dishes in the world called banh mi. This sandwich, which depending on where in the country you are, may contain either margarine and pâté, or a combination of cheese, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, sausage, fried egg, fresh cilantro, and chili sauce.

Vietnamese Style Sandwiches - Banh Mi

 

Pot Au Feu to Pho

Another French influence in Vietnamese cuisine is a traditional soup known as Pho, pronounced fuh. This staple consists of a salty broth, fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef, which some say may be a copy of the French pot au feu or stew. The noodles, of course, are part of a basic Asian dish while the beef certainly comes from the European influence, since meat is not very common in Eastern cuisines. .

Vietnamese Pho

From the lush countryside of farms and rice paddies outside of Saigon to the bustling shops and restaurants of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, enjoy the traditions and unique culture and cuisine of Vietnam with us on a voyage this winter.

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A Passion for Travel: Part II

As it is for many of you, our passion for travel at Oceania Cruises is endless, shaping so much of what we do each and every day. In a continuation of our recent post on our new video series, A Passion for Travel, we’re sharing what makes our team members, officers and staff so passionate about travel. Read on for more travel inspiration.

My passion for travel started when I was very young and I’m so happy to now being sharing this lifelong interest with my three young boys as they grow up and our family travels together. I feel so fortunate, both personally and professionally, to be able to do what I do each and every day – share that passion for travel with others.

James Rodriguez | Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing

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I have always believed that in life one should always have a story to tell. When you travel, you get that opportunity to tell a story and hopefully, through your story, you can inspire others to travel and see the beauty created in so many different cultures everywhere. I continue to travel as I simply feel that I have not collected enough moments and I am always yearning for more stories to tell.

Randall Abrahams | Executive Concierge

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Ultimately, we travel to experience the unseen and to create lifetime memories. Those that are passionate about travel also want to share this passion with others. Just as our guests are creating memories, so are our crew members. On the Insignia we are very fortunate to be on the Around the World journey and experiencing so many destinations. We’ve been able to organize more and more tours for the crew and they really love to explore new parts of the world. I just asked a crew member that was signing off the other day if he had enjoyed it. He told me it was just incredible, he said “I’ve never seen so much of the world – it’s been my best job ever.”

For me, Seville, Spain was incredible. I felt so much pride to be able to take our guests up the river into the heart of the destination. That was unforgettable.

Maroje Brajcic | Captain

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I travel for the excitement of the unknown and remote, exploring faraway places with cultures very different from my own. It’s exciting not knowing what’s in store and feeling outside of your comfort zone. It makes life more interesting.

Jen Lihos | Vice President, Creative & Brand Management

Thierry - Sail away from NY

My passion is learning about life through traveling and exploring new things. It excites me when I visit new places, learn different cultures, and see other people live a life that is different from mine. I love to travel because it makes me realize that the world is an amazing place and there is so much to admire and treasure. Traveling gives me the chance to learn more about myself and expand my horizons.

Thierry Tholon | General Manager

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Traveling is about people and people love food, so I enjoy immersing myself in each country and discovering how a culture is defined by their culinary customs. Naturally, I am passionate about new flavors – every single place I have traveled to has a special taste that inspires me and all that I bring to the kitchen.

Alban Gjoka | Senior Executive Chef

Share why you’re passionate about travel in our Facebook contest for the chance to win a $200 Shipboard Credit!

 

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Oceania Cruises Shares Their Passion for Travel

We each have a different, personal story for why we travel and what we’re seeking on our explorations – and at the heart of each is passion. From the allure of exotic lands to learning the secrets of centuries-old recipes, our exciting new documentary-style video series A Passion For Travel captures these compelling stories and all that distinguishes Oceania Cruises in three special installments: “Why I Travel,” “Heart of Service” and “A Chef’s Passion.”

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Sail & Sustain: Our Top 5 Green Initiatives

 

We recently released our first ever Environmental Report along with our new global environmental initiative, “Sail & Sustain.” This program reflects our mission of providing enriching and memorable vacation experiences for you while continually improving our sustainability culture and minimizing our impact on the environment.

Below are some highlights of the ways in which these initiatives will have a positive impact across our oceans and local communities worldwide: