“Herb” vs. “Spice” vs. “Vegetable?” vs. “Rau Thơm”? Our consideration of the following plants may be deemed a non-herb by some. With broad definitions from numerous sources ranging from botanists, herbalists and horticulturists, comparing the similarities and differences between the three tend to overlap. Some may be categorized as a vegetable (greens), but because of their medicinal qualities and how they’re eaten, we consider them all to be worth discussing. One simple and cohesive English definition can be found at: www.wikipedia.com/wiki/herb.
For Vietnamese definitions, the term “Rau” is the commonly used term to describe almost all edible leafy vegetation(greens). By use of the word “thơm”, meaning aromatic or fragrant, “Rau thơm” interprets as “Fragrant greens”, meaning “Herbs” in general. For almost every herb, names can vary tremendously depending on the different regions of Việt-Nam. For sake of potential argument, the most common names are listed. More detailed information on any of these herbs can “Googled” with the scientific name and a plethora of scientific and culinary information can be found. Check it out and lets move on!