Food has always been an indispensable part of the wedding in Vietnam. From the menu choice to the banquet setups, it’s all about celebrating the couple’s nuptials while indulging in good food. In this article, let’s find out all you need to know about modern Vietnamese wedding food.
4 Common Modern Vietnamese Wedding Food Banquet Setups
In the old days, it was common to arrange 6 people per table, feasting from morning into night. Today’s weddings are more diverse. A table can accommodate up to 10 people. And couples have more choices of banquet setups than the traditional ‘one-stop-shop’ arrangement.
Option 1: Traditional Round Table
This is by far the most popular in Vietnam and still presents in most wedding restaurants today.
All dishes are presented at once, and everyone can choose what they want in no particular order. That means you will see everything from appetizers, to main dishes, and desserts. But diners often follow the common order other than diving into the desserts first!
Whether it is an arrangement of 6 or 10 people, there is one common rule: guests of the bride and groom don’t mix.
Option 2: Self-served Buffet
It is undoubtedly that western-style weddings introduced buffet banquets into Vietnamese weddings. In recent years, the buffet has gained enormous popularity among young couples. The buffet menu tends to be simpler, helping couples to optimize their wedding budget. Also, this kind of setup makes guests more satisfied when self-serving their favorite food.
In the traditional setup, guests sit down for most of the time. But the buffet option allows them to move around, meet and connect with other attendants.
Yet, a buffet isn’t ideal for very big weddings and elders. When it gets too crowded, guests will have a hard time navigating and getting enough food. Elders will also find it difficult to get up and move around too much.
In short, this type of party is only suitable for weddings with less than 150 guests and most are young people.
Option 3: Cocktail Party
Young Vietnamese couples are choosing this trendy atmosphere over traditional grand displays. A small space with a limited number of guests will be perfect for this banquet style. The menu choice is generous with either Vietnamese or fusion food, paired with well-crafted cocktails. All to create a cozy yet romantic setting for the couple to celebrate with their closest friends and families.
Option 4: Family-style Banquet
Another concept Vietnamese couples prefer these days is a family-style banquet. This is to stay close to Vietnamese culture, which values family quality time. Guests will join the bride and groom in a cozy dining experience, like a big family. What’s different is that this setup mixes up the buffet and traditional round banquet style. All dishes will be served at the same time and guests can choose their favorite. But, the hassle of moving around or waiting for the dish is eliminated.
If choosing this style, you need to consider large enough tables to set up many dishes at once. The space, on the other hand, needs to be small enough to connect everyone. For those who look for a warm, intimate celebration, this is it.
Select a Vietnamese Wedding Food Menu
No matter what style of menu, modern couples in Vietnam often consider their budget and guest list to choose suitable food.
A traditional wedding menu usually has 10 to 12 items, covering appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. When on a tight budget, one may reduce costs by offering a menu of 6 to 8 dishes.
The items are interchangeable, but the following four remain key in any traditional wedding food menu:
- Boiled chicken
- Gac sticky rice
- Fried spring rolls
- Bamboo soup or dried pig skin soup
Apart from these staples, the choice varies from one couple to another. Commonly, there will be set menus for the couple to choose from. Here are some of the most picked:
Soup (chicken-mushroom or seafood)
Fresh spring rolls
Roasted crispy skin pork
Beef with black pepper sauce
Lotus seed sweet soup
Vietnamese have become accustomed to enjoying a western menu at weddings over the years. Instead of having everything on the table, guests will savor each course in turn. Also, rare ingredients or new cooking styles have made their way to the wedding banquets. It is no longer strange to see cold cuts, cheese, lobster, steak, and even caviar at weddings.
Vegan-friendly food is healthy for using plant-based ingredients. As people are more aware of environmental issues, a vegan-friendly menu gets lots of applause from progressive couples. And having such a menu is a plus to elderly guests, too.
Besides, choosing a vegan-friendly menu helps both families to save budget yet ensures a fulfilling banquet.
Dos and Don’ts of Modern Vietnamese Wedding Food
Consider Your Budget
Always have your budget in mind! Seeking deals and promotions is a good way to have options without stretching the budget too much.
Taste Testing Menu
It is the worst scenario when the couple has no idea of the restaurant’s cooking style. But it is avoidable with a taste testing menu. Try all dishes to make sure what you choose is what your guests will enjoy.
Create a ‘Flow’ for the Courses
Each dish should complement each other and heighten the diners’ taste buds as they go. So, start with something light like soup or fresh spring rolls. Then, the main dish can be red meat, poultry, or seafood. Go big with spices and sauces as highlights. Finally, end the experience with a delightful dessert.
Choose What’s in Season and According to the Season
In-season ingredients are the most fresh and delicious. And they cost less! Plus, put together a menu that is according to the season. Summer wedding food should stay light while winter wedding food can play up with spices and heat.
Use the Same Ingredients and/or Cooking Style for All Dishes
For example, removing duck from the menu when there’s chicken already. Or, don’t stir-fry everything! The way to a good wedding menu lies in the harmony between hot and cold, dry and soup dishes.
Choose Something Too ‘Exotic’
Some may believe that choosing exotic, expensive dishes is to show off their class. But this is not always a good thing. Many unique dishes don’t suit Vietnamese people’s taste, and thus, won’t get a second look. Meanwhile, guests will appreciate the more common but deliciously prepared options.
So, when you do go for exotic options, limit this to just one or two dish. Remember, a wedding is also a way to honor the older generations. And they really want the traditional dishes!
Too Sour, Too Bitter, Stinky or Black-Colored
According to old beliefs, food with these characteristics might bring misfortune to the couple’s married life. Although modern couples may find it too superstitious, there is no harm to avoid them.