I do miss all these cakes, dumplings and rice dishes. It reminds me of home. It is very funny though, I live in Germany, but at home we're having vietnamese food. I wish I could make them, when I'm back, my mum has to teach me how! Vietnamese dessert is soo sweet and sticky, love it! It's not everyone's taste but I grew up with it.
How to describe vietnamese cuisine? I would describe vietnamese cuisine as very light. It has a vegetarian touch because we're using a lot of vegetables, fruits and herbs. I love bamboo shoots and soybeans, a lot of tofu and of course rice. There are a lot of meat dishes as well, including pork, beef, chicken, seafood.
We have various soups (you might know Pho) and pudding as dessert with beans and lotus seeds. Although it is commonly known as lean and healthy, I have to say we stir-fry a lot and we also have fried desserts. You cannot really find 'good bread' in Vietnam, but we have baguettes filled with vietnamese sausage and salad, the french influence from the colonial time.
Here are some good recipes for my german readers: vietkochen
You should find the ingredients in asian supermarkets or stores. People told me that it is hard to find a good vietnamese restaurant in the city, I guess I have to try some recipes on my own or I just wait until I'm home. Have fun exploring the vietnamese cuisine! And never forget the hot and fish sauce!!!