Vietnamese cooks use a wide variety of herbs—referred to collectively as rau thom (literally, fragrant vegetable)—sometimes adding them to dishes as they cook, sometimes serving them raw as a garnish; they also lend bright notes to your favorite mesclun mix.
1. Spearmint, which grows in abundance in Southeast Asia, sparks up salads, grilled foods, and noodle dishes with a sweet, aromatic flavor.
2. Thai basil lends its clovelike scent to the beef noodle soup called pho.
3. Spear-shaped Vietnamese coriander, which is often sold in Asian markets in the U.S. under its Vietnamese name, rau ram, contributes a peppery, cilantro-esque flavor to soups and salads.