Herbs and greens (rau)

Rau literally translates to greens or vegetables. Unlike Chinese cuisine, Vietnamese relies heavily on fresh herbs or rau as a part of the diet. Not only does it serve as gorgeous decoration on a plate, it’s a key essential ingredient for all things delicious. Below is a list and some discussion about the most commonly used rau. Can also be read in our Basics section.

Basil (rau quế): also known as thai basil, found mostly in phở or pickled salads, a ubiquitous herb!
Lemon grass (cây xả): easily found in the markets and can be grown in your garden, used as a part of a rub for chicken or fried/grilled fish, flavors soups and stocks

Saw leaf herb (ngò gai): native to Latin cuisines, used widely in noddle soups, mostly found bunched in bags at the markets
saw leaf herb

Rice paddy herb (rau ngò ôm): used in sour soup bases, has a citrusy, slightly sour taste
rice paddy herb

Vietnamese Coriander (rau răm): uniquely spicy with a lemony taste, definitely used in noodle soups, eaten with balut or hột vịt lộn (fertilized duck eggs)
vietnamese coriander

Cilantro (rau ngò or ngò rí): used as a final addition to any good meat plate

Peppermint (húng cây or rau bạc hà)

Spearmint (húng lủi)

Houttuynia cordata/fishscale mint (giấp cá or diếp cá)

Perilla (tía tô): my ALL TIME FAVORITE rau, very strong flavor, known as shiso in Japnese cuisine, also known as beefsteak, can be dark green or purple, my mother would wrap these leaves around marinated beef and put them on the grill

Dill (thì là)

Sorrel (rau chua/rau thom)

More pictures coming soon…


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