Do you think Vietnam is a little China culturally?



Tran Phuong Hung, Masters Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics, The United Kingdom (2005)

Of course most Vietnamese and Chinese will answer no to this question but I don't think that's what the person who asked this question wanted to know. The question has been phrased slightly condescending to the Vietnamese however it should be interpreted as: in reality is Vietnam so similar to China culturally? 

Politics aside, in reality because both countries share Confucianism, filial piety including worshipping of ancestors, Mongloid genes, Cuisines, Buddhism, pagodas, architecture, looks (Northern Vietnamese especially and most Southern Vietnamese who are immigrants from the north look like southern or some even northern Chinese) communism, Chinese characters (for many centuries up to about 100 years a go), Chinese literatures, novels, currently Chinese Tv and dramas, Chinese New years, Lunar calendar, Full moon festival, and a number of other important Chinese festivals, loud (similar sounding) spoken language even the way people behave in certain social situations, and now trading partnership, Vietnam is similar to China and visa versa. 



Of course if one dug deeper into the fabric of both societies they would find some variations but then even within China or Vietnam itself variations in culture do exist at regional levels. There are of course some typical Vietnamese cultural aspects which are uniquely Vietnamese and cannot be found in China but I am not going into details here, but the major things listed above are definitely shared between the 2 countries. 

In my humble opinion there are no other countries in the world , not even Korea , Japan or Mongolia, which share so much culture with China like Vietnam.




Vu Dang, Grew up before the country opened up to Coca Cola

Vietnam is a little Chinese culturally but it is not Little China until hell freezes over. In fact there used to be a lot of similar nations to Vietnam in the region and over the course of some two millennia they all ended up being parts of China. That we haven’t turned out that way despite the best attempts of many powerful Chinese dynasties speaks volumes about our resistance to Sinification.

There is a joke that Vietnam is a congregation of people who don’t want to submit to the Chinese emperor, which has some truth to it. For example when the Qing dynasty took over China, a lot of Ming loyalists ended up settling in Vietnam. When the Chinese general Zhao Tuo was sent to occupy Vietnam, he ended up pretending to be native in front of the imperial emissary to keep ruling Vietnam independently.

That said Vietnam has certainly absorbed a lot of Chinese culture and it has certainly helped enrich our own





Tran Thuy Hang

Let me tell about some of China culture in Vietnam


2.Food: Vietnamese cuisine has a part of Chinese cuisine. But it is only a small part. 

The biggest difference is that Chinese cuisine often uses soy sauce while Vietnamese uses fish sauce.


Buddhism has been introduced taught by monks in Vietnam from two roads. One from the India to Chinese, Japanese,… then Vietnam, the other is from India to Sri Lanka, Burmese, Cambodia,…then Vietnam. Bodhidharma, who lived during the 5th or 6th Century in India and introduced Siddhartha Gautama's thought into China. He is Zen master and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. Many pagodas in Vietnam worship him as a Zen master.

4.Confucian thought…


  1. 语言
  2. 食物:越南菜是中国菜的一个分支。但只是一小部分。


  1. 佛教:


  1. 儒家思想……

We do not mention why there is an influence of Chinese culture in Vietnam because there are so many answers for this in Quora

We just emphasize that, not only China but also others (Japanese, American, French, Khmer,…). That make a unique culture of Vietnam

American use English, Japanese use Kanji, Korean people have Mid-Autumn Festival,…China is a big country with a large population with long history development. Vietnam is nearby China, so the cultural influence is normal. If someone says Vietnamese culture does not have a small part of China, that is not normal, not true, lying.

CHINESE food in Vietnam







Eddie Du, A native

Momentarily, when the Qing dynasty was still in the process of trying to capture all of China, the Vietnamese did feel a bit like the surviving little China.



William Hennigan, lived in China

No. They are a confucian culture, but not a Han culture. The history of Vietnem varies at many levels from China’s experience. Confucianism is 2500 years old and affected the ancient Yue kingdom that was conquered by the Han aggressors except for Vietnam. So despite China’s continuous attempt to conquer and occupy Vietnam they remain unique to themselves just as other Confucian cultures like Korea and Japan



Andrew Chang, Part-time Philosopher (flâneur)

That's not true. While many traditions are shared, just like with Korea, it makes neither culturally inferior to China.

One must always remember that Chinese traditions of the era gets exported and preserved while the motherland undergoes change. We see the Japanese interpretation of the Tang dynasty culture in their clothes, architecture, foods and writing. The same can be observed with the Korean interpretation of the Ming dynasty. For Vietnam, the traditions follow closely to the Qing dynasty I reckon. These are cultural observations from the people's living there and taking themon, absorbing them into their own traditions.

Another great example is the French in France compared to their former colony, Quebec. French traditions of that era got preserved in Quebec. The language followed pre-revolutionary French in their counting systems, dates and so on.

Other examples will be the Chinese diaspora in many parts of the world and in South East Asia. Many of the traditions observed were various interpretations of pre-revolutionary China, adapted to local conditions.






Patrick Koh, Knows Asia, China and USA

No. Both will say no.

1.Vietnam will not like to be called a little China, even though it is influenced culturally.

2.Chinese does not view Vietnam as a little China, but respect it as a separate old civilisation with which it has a long history.

3.So please don’t say Vietnam is a little China, Viets (and Chinese) will not appreciate such condescension. It’s like saying Canada is a little USA or NZ is a little Australia or Ireland is a little UK or Nepal is a little India.

4.Vietnamese has shared or adopted much of Chinese culture over 2000 years. A Chinese visiting Vietnam and their homes would be amazed how similar they are.


  1. 越南不喜欢被称为“小中国”,尽管它确实受到了中国文化的影响。
  2. 中国人并不认为越南是“小中国”,而是把它作为一个有着悠久历史、独立的古老文明来尊重。


  1. 2000多年来,越南人共享或接受了许多中国文化因素。中国人去到越南,去到越南人家中,将会为超高的相似度而惊叹。(图)

Have a look at some pictures below, all Vietnamese, but you can see the similarities with Chinese culture.


Vietnamese food - noodles (and many cuisine and sauces, style of cooking, kitchen ware and chopsticks).



Vietnamese girl. Many look so similar.



Beliefs. Similarities in beliefs, religions, ancestor worship and temples.




Architecture. A palace/ fort that looks Chinese in design (Nguyen Dynasty).



Imperial Practice and Governance. Imperial Dress in Nyugen Dynasty



Clothing - Viet dress in Le dynasty.



Below is a great chart showing similarities across East Asia. Line 1 is Viet, Line 3 as reference is China.



A closer look at how Viet clothes evolve, over the centuries.



To the very sweet iconic clothes Ao Dai, which is more suitable for the tropical weather of Vietnam.



The Vietnamese do enjoy French style coffee, an alien beverage Chinese has yet to appreciate.



译文来源:三泰虎   http://www.santaihu.com/49412.html 译者:Joyceliu


Richard Seeto, because of my interest in its history and the way it has been exploited & rubbis

Many of the lighter skin Vietnamese has Chinese racial features mixed with other ethnicities and whether or not they admit Chinese genealogy is a matter for private admission.

Too many of their words are a slightly altered sounding Cantonese though written in Roman characters differently.

Their food and cooking methods are similar to the Chinese.

Many of their traditional architecture has Chinese looks and roots.

Culturally, they celebrate the same feast days, have the same religion. Buddhism and Taoism amongst some of the lesser ones of course.

Vietnam resembled a little bit of China whether the die hard ones admit it or not. Even their mode of living and the streets of their cities and villages are not that much different from those of China.

Large numbers of Vietnamese growers, food sellers and labourers travel across the border to obtain their sustenance from the Chinese mainland.








The local Chinese people to a person speaks Vietnamese language in commerce and family conversation and they inter-marry with Vietnamese men and women and in looks, one cannot tell them apart whether they are Chinese or Vietnamese.

Businesses whether run by the local Chinese or Vietnamese look the same and one cannot tell them apart.

Because of past conflicts, there is residual resentment to China but these are mostly hidden and only those who are not gainfully employed, engaged in business or manufacturing who harbour these anti feelings.

Yes, in many respects Vietnam resembles a little China and it isn’t such a shameful thing to be.






Saigon Sally, Content Creator

Vietnam does have a bit of Chinese culture weaves into theirs. In fact, some pho dad or temples are made by the Chinese community dating back hundreds of years. Some Vietnamese do know how to speak Chinese and sometimes you won’t be able to tell the difference as they also physically look similar. It’s not exactly a “little China” but you will see similar traits, and practices.



Ngoc Diep Hoang, former Worked and Lived in Vietnam for More Than 20 Years

In the past, China itself is a combination of many smaller countries. Vietnam and Korea were two of these countries but resisted from uniting with “China". While they all have similar traits in looks, languages, foods, etc. and to the people from other continents at the outside they seem to be a little part of “China", but for people who have better observations and knowledges they would see the differences.

So, you are welcome to think Vietnam is a little China culturally if it suits your ignorance. :-)



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