vietnam travel covid 19 updates

Stay updated with the latest news of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam and information for traveling to Vietnam. Read more here.

Vietnam Travel Information

i Tour Vietnam | Top-rated private Ho Chi Minh City tours and Vietnam travel guides.

Vietnamese Family Meals - North, Central, South


Family meals are the soul of Vietnamese culture, and they are regarded as something spiritual and so sacred to a country with over 4,000 years of history. Whatever kind of food, the family members always feel a cozy and respectful atmosphere when joining a meal. Meals help to connect people and show the best values.

Wherever we get homesick, we always remember the family meals and the image of the mother busy preparing meals with all kinds of delicious dishes. At mealtime, we forget all the hustles of daily life, let all the fatigue go and totally get immersed in sharing, laughter, and mutual encouragement. So if you are cordially invited to a family meal in Vietnam, it means you are much loved as a part of the family.

The Manners in Vietnamese Family Meals

It might be familiar to you that the Vietnamese use chopsticks to pick up food and everyone has their own bowl of rice. This could be different from the way Westerners have meals, and therefore, learning the table manners of an Eastern country like Vietnam could be a new experience.

In a Vietnamese family meal, the younger members have to respectfully invite the elders before eating. The youngest one will be the first one to invite, and the rest of the younger will do the same, in ascending order, from the youngest to the oldest. And when you have finished eating, you also need to kindly inform that you have done and tell others to keep on enjoying the rest of their meals.

Also, offering and sharing food with the elders and other members show how cultured, polite, and considerate you are. It is traditional that the elderly and the children are the most cared for and the best food should be reserved for them. One more important thing regarding the table manner is that the anger, the quarrel, the criticism must be completely avoided during the mealtime and everyone has to try to keep the atmosphere cozy and comfortable.

The Vietnamese often use round trays and roundtables to keep the members intimate and make the sharing easier. In that case, the elderly will sit in the spot where the best dishes are placed and where they can easily converse with everyone. In case guests join the meal, the guests are prepared a good seat to show the hospitality of the hosts. The Vietnamese also use rectangular dining tables. In this case, the oldest person will sit at the end with good food, and along the table sides, other seats are arranged in age order.

vietnamese family meal 1

The elderly and kids are the most cared for during the meals

Nowadays, not only the modern life makes people in the cities more occupied and absent from daily family meals, but some families in the countrysides have children studying far from home also find it hard to have every meal with all the members on a regular basis. However, we always try to have a warm gathering at the end of the day or at least at the weekend as family meals are indispensable in everyone’s life.

Even though the above dining manners are not as strict as before, following them shows your courtesy as well as cultural knowledge. This is why family meals are among the best ways to preserve the moral values and the tradition of Vietnam.

Vietnamese Family Meals in the North, Central, and South Vietnam

A typical Vietnamese meal consists of rice, dishes with meat, fish, and cooked vegetables soup. In addition, some sauces and raw vegetables accompany the main dishes. There is a range of traditional food with different kind of flavor in Vietnam, varying among the regions.

Family Meals in Northern Vietnam

The Northerners often cook protein dishes with popular ingredients like fish and pork. They could be fried or cooked in a sauce to go with rice and soup. Some of the common dishes are sweet and sour pork ribs, claypot caramelized fish or pork and eggs, crab soup, and the sweet and sour fish soup (canh chua). The dipping sauce like fish sauce and the side dishes like garden eggs pickle are also served to enhance the flavor of the meat and vegetable.

Read more on What to Eat on Food Tours in Northern Vietnam.

vietnamese family meal 2

A typical meal of the Northerners

Family Meals in Central Vietnam

Besides featured foods like Bun Bo Hue and Mi Quang, traditional dishes in Central Vietnam meals reflect the soul of hard-working and simple people here. When it comes to flavor, people here tend to put spicy and salty ingredients in dishes to create an appealing look. In general, spice is indispensable in everything, and those who are not used to eat spicy food can find it a little hard to taste. Because most of the provinces in Central Vietnam locate near the coastline, some of the popular dishes are made from a different kind of seafood like crab, shrimp, snails, and fish. These ingredients could be steamed or made into salads. Moreover, the shrimp paste, which enhances the taste of dishes, is really popular, especially in Hue.

Read more on What to Eat on Food Tours in Central Vietnam like Bun bo Hue.

vietnamese family meal 3

A typical meal of the people living in the center of Vietnam

Family Meals in Southern Vietnam

Southern dishes are the sweetest of all 3 regions. As a whole, dishes are made with lots of ingredient and people tend to prefer frying and cooking with the sauce. There are quite many traditional ones found in every family meal like stir-fried beef with celery, stir-fried water spinach with garlic, snakehead fish sour soup, and sour soup with tomatoes and beaten egg. The Southerners also like to eat fish and shrimp caught in rivers.

Read more on Vietnam Food Tour: Signature Dishes in Southern Vietnam to Discover the Southern Cuisine.

vietnamese family meal 4

A typical meal of the Southerners

Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
for fun and insightful trips in Ho Chi Minh City!

family outing in ho chi minh city motorcycle

Conclusion on the Vietnamese Family Meals - North, Central, South

Home-cooked food is irreplaceable to Vietnamese, and family meals reflect perfectly the soul and the Vietnamese traditional culture. Regard to the dishes, you would expect to eat saltier foods in the North, spicier foods in the Central and sweeter ones in the South.

But the kind of meal you will enjoy is not the only thing you should know. Besides chopstick skills, there are many table manners to master like where to sit and how to invite the elderly when you are invited to a Vietnamese family meal.

To find out more about Vietnamese culture, subscribe and check out our other guides to Vietnam travel and information.



Guest - Jayda Orchids on Monday, 06 January 2020 15:43

It was so pleasant being invited to a Vietnamese meal, everyone was so nice and welcoming despite the language barrier. Huge perk of having a local friend in Vietnam

It was so pleasant being invited to a Vietnamese meal, everyone was so nice and welcoming despite the language barrier. Huge perk of having a local friend in Vietnam
Guest - Marion Cain on Saturday, 26 October 2019 13:57

Thanks for the article, can recommend some places to try the family meals?

Thanks for the article, can recommend some places to try the family meals?
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 18 October 2021

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to



This Vietnam travel information page is written by a team of professional tour guides in Vietnam. More about us or visit home page

Private Ho Chi Minh Tours

private ho chi minh tours

All tours are private, customizable, and led by professional English-speaking guides. For more reference, read our customer reviews or see below for the tour package in Ho Chi Minh that works for you.

Half-day City Tour

Night Tour

Food Tour

Saigon's Other Side

Shore Excursions

Vietnam Travel Information

Check out the necessary information for traveling to Vietnam

First Time in Vietnam

To Pack List for Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Adaptors

Major Cities in Vietnam

Family & Elderly Travel

LGBT Travel

Vietnam Festivals and Holidays

Best Vietnamese Dishes

UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam

Responsible Travel in Vietnam

Vietnamese Culture

Religions in Vietnam

Ethnicities in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam

Vietnamese Currency Guide

Best Dishes to Try in Vietnam

20 Must-try Vietnamese Dishes

Unusual Foods to Try in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

Vietnamese Grilled Dishes

Rice Dishes in Vietnam

Pho Dishes in Vietnam

Holiday Dishes to Try during Tet Holiday

Chinese Dishes in Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Northern Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Central Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Southern Vietnam

What to Eat in Ho Chi Minh City

What to Eat in Hanoi

What to Eat in Hue

What to Eat in Hoi An

What to Eat in Da Lat

What to Eat in the Mekong Delta

Traveling to and within Vietnam

Airport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh)

Airport Arrival Tips at Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)

Major Airports in Vietnam

Taking Trains in Vietnam

Bringing your Motorbikes on Trains in Vietnam

Bringing Your Own Vehicles to Vietnam

Bringing Your Pets to Vietnam

How to Take Motorbike Taxis

Taking a Ferry in Vietnam

Renting a Car in Vietnam

How to Travel from Hanoi to Da Nang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Hue

How to Travel from Hanoi to Sa Pa

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mai Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Moc Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

How to Travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc Island

How to Travel from Da Nang to Hoi An

How to Travel from Hue to Phong Nha

Vietnam Travel Itineraries

Vietnam One-month Itinerary

Vietnam One-week Itinerary

Taking a Gap Year in Vietnam

Backpacking in Vietnam

Expat Tours in Vietnam

Honeymoon in Vietnam

Vietnam Visa, SIM Cards, and WiFi

Visa Info & Where to Buy Sim Cards

Traveling with Wifi in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Safety Tips

Travel Insurance

Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water?

How to Avoid Mosquitoes

Food Safety in Vietnam

Getting Vaccinations

Common Diseases and How to Prevent

Wearing Face Masks in Vietnam

Can Tourists Drive in Vietnam

How to Avoid Scams

Travel Safety Tips

Best Places to Stay in Vietnam

Deluxe Hotels in Vietnam

Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh

Best Hotels in Hanoi

Where to Stay in Ha Long Bay

Where to Stay in Mai Chau

Where to Stay in Moc Chau

Where to Stay in Ha Giang

Where to Stay in Cao Bang

Where to Stay in Lang Son

Where to Stay in Sa Pa

Where to Stay in Mu Cang Chai

Where to Stay in Kon Tum

Where to Stay in Da Lat

Where to Stay in Mui Ne

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Homestays in Vietnam

Find more hotels to stay in Vietnam below:


Ho Chi Minh Travel Guides

First Time in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh Attractions & Activities

Places to Eat & Drink

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City Districts

Local Activities in Ho Chi Minh

Hanoi Travel Guides

First Time in Hanoi

Hanoi Attractions & Activities

Places to Eat & Drink in Hanoi

Shopping in Hanoi

Hanoi Districts

Local Activities in Hanoi

North Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in Ninh Binh

First Time in Ha Giang

First Time in Ha Long Bay

First Time in Sa Pa

First Time at Yen Tu Mountain

First Time in Moc Chau

First Time in Mai Chau

First Time in Hai Phong

First Time in Cao Bang

First Time in Lang Son

First Time at Bai Tu Long Bay

Central Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in Hue

First Time in Hoi An

First Time in Da Nang

First Time in Nha Trang

First Time in Da Lat

First Time in Mui Ne

First Time in Buon Ma Thuot

First Time in Kon Tum

First Time in Phu Yen

South Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in the Mekong Delta

First Time at Con Dao Island

First Time in Vung Tau

First Time at Phu Quoc Island

First Time in Ca Mau

First Time in Can Tho

Powered by 12Go Asia system