Yesterday, I was at a Vietnamese restaurant - only the 2nd in my life - the 1st being back in the 70's and it was owned by a man that I worked with. The point is, I'm not familiar in any fashion with that genre of food - I know that many of you on this board are.
The story is, we had a dish of "condiments" placed on the table which contained bean sprouts, some peppers, a few other items and a small mound of greens - including stems - on top. Tasting the "greens", the flavor was vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place it. I asked and was told it was basil.
Hmmm...... I'm growing both sweet and spicy basil in my back yard and this basil resembled neither in taste or appearance. The leaf width was more narrow that sweet basil, but wider than the spicy. The stem was a purpleish-green color. The taste was that of mild licorice. It was not what I know to be anise and it assuredly was not fennel.
Is there a Vietnamese variety of basil? or do we Americans have it named by some other name?