Besides the raw herbs and dipping sauces that are so typical to Vietnamese cuisine, there are some spices and seasonings that are used much.

Dried spices and seasonings

Star anise Hoa hoi
For stews and noodle soups.

Black fungus Nam meo
Is used in stuffings and soups.

Dried shrimps Tom kho
To give soups a salty taste, for extra bite or to garnish.

Roasted peanuts Dau phong rang
Roasted peanuts are used a lot in Vietnamese kitchen as topping on many dishes and to make peanut dipping sauces.

Fresh seasonings

Garlic Toi
To stir fry, marinate and to make dipping sauces.

Lemon grass Xa
Lemon flavor and aroma. Delicious with different kinds of grilled meats, stews, noodle soups and goes very well with chicken.

Bird’s eye chili Ot
Spicy chili peppers, especially to make dipping sauces. The Vietnamese kitchen is mild, the spiciness in dishes is to taste.

Tamarind Me
Fruity and sour taste. Especially the tamarind in block form is used and not the one in a jar. To sour (noodle) soups or make tamarind juice, a good combination with fish and shellfish.

Ginger Gung
Used in noodle soups, chicken dishes and to add in ginger dipping sauce.

 

Ready-to-eat seasonings

Chilisaus Tuong ot
To give noodle soups and other dishes spiciness to taste, most often Sriracha chili sauce is used.

Hoisinsaus Tuong ngot
Sweet sauce to sweeten Pho noodle soup to taste, to make the hoisin dipping sauce, to marinate meat.

Oyster sauce Dau hao
Sweet taste of oyster extract to stir-fry with vegetables and meat dishes.

Sesame oil Dau me
Oil pressed from sesame seeds. Can dominate quickly, so use it subtly. You’ll only need a few drops in wok dishes, dressings and soups.