Rice is the main grain for the Vietnamese people. It can be served plain, sweetened, stir fried with meat or vegetables, added to soups, made into rice cakes, or into flour to make rice noodles or thin rice paper. Rice paper is often seen wrapped around meat, vegetables, and noodles, and then fried to make Vietnamese egg rolls. Rice is eaten at almost every meal.
Beef and other meats are uncommon; they are too expensive and spoil easily without refrigeration. Instead, the people of Vietnam eat seafood, eels, frogs eggs, and the occasional duck, chicken, or pork. In the mountains, they hunt birds and other animals, and eat or sell the meat they obtain. Vegetables, grown on plots near the house when possible, include onions, soybeans, bamboo shoots, yams, and other roots. Common fruits include bananas, mangoes, coconuts, and other tropical fruits. Tea, soda, beer, and rice wine are the main beverages. A common sauce is nuoc mam, a fish sauce used to flavor many things, including rice.
Dishes of meat, vegetables, seafood, and rice are placed in the center of a table. People choose what they want, and mix them with their bowls of rice. Soups, also with mixtures of meats and vegetables, are also popular. The Vietnamese eat with chopsticks, and raise their up off the table to eat.
For breakfast, people often eat a soup called pho. This soup can contain whatever the cook wishes to put in, but usually includes rice noodles, beef broth, onions, seasonings such as ginger, and bits of meat. Street vendors sell snacks and meals at all times of the day. As people go to or from work or school, they can pick up a bowl of pho, rice cakes, tiny meatballs, noodles with sauces, candy, or any number of other treats.