The French influence on Vietnamese cooking
France and Vietnam go way, way back. Beginning with the Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes, the first French person to ever set foot in France in 1620, the relationship between the two countries has been anything but smooth. Soon after Rhodes made his way to Vietnam, other French Catholics followed suit and aimed to turn the Vietnamese into devout followers of Christianity. Before long, it became much more than a Christian mission – through force and brutality, the French conquered Vietnam over decades of war and violence, eventually establishing French Indochina which lasted from 1887 to 1954. The French brought more than religion and an entirely new way of governing, they also brought food. Today, the influences of French cooking on the local population is apparent in an array of dishes, from the aforementioned French-Vietnamese fusion banh mi to more modern interpretations at fusion restaurants. In the Vietnamese restaurants in Edinburgh, you’ll find an array of French-inspired dishes and even drinks (coffee, for example, was introduced to Vietnam by the French in the 1800s).